Explore Backpacking - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Backpacking Map

Hiked 3/14. Made it all the way up with boots and poles. Poles were a must or at least spikes as it's steep and slippery. The last mile I was sinking in the snow quite a bit so I actually put snowshoes on to get back down to the river bottom. Awesome winter hike!

About 7 of us and my dog did this entire trip just last weekend. March 16-19, 2018. It was incredible. We expected rain but ended up with perfect blue skies and warm weather.
Creeks were high but still passable. Always expect to get wet on this trip. If you pack and dress appropriately then its not even an issue.
The campsites are defined by the fire pits alone the bluffs. I would seriously not recommend camping on the beach. The sand is manageable but the sand fleas are a nightmare. They are active all night. It almost sounds like it’s raining out the tent.
The wildlife was amazing. We saw seals and elephant seals, sea otters, tons of cool shorebirds, and even blow holes from the whales passing in the distance.
Shuttle from the south end to the north end. The road is rough and it’s better to leave the driving to the experts.
And take notes from other blogs. This trail is hard. 10 miles on flat ground is easy but the loose rock and sand turns 2 full steps into about 1 1/2 steps. Even the fastest hiker is slowed down.
I would not recommend for any dog’s first backpacking trip. By the last day my dog was sore and tired. He’s only two. Booties are required for all dogs. I took my dogs booties off at campsites or short stretches of soft sand. His feet were still tender afterwards but far better than being cut up and beaten.

5 days ago

Awesome views, less traveled than Herman Gulch Trail which leaves from the same trailhead. Definitely need snowshoes though even with the meager snowfalls this year. Steady incline. Had to turn around about 2/3 of the way in due to deep snow and constant post-holing. Still saw some great mountain view’s but I bet they’re only more stunning the farther you ascend.

Hiked on 3/14. One of the most beautiful hikes I have ever done! The views are well worth the steepness battle after Loch Lake. Did it only using microspikes, and like someone before me I did not use the strap on the icy steep part, but instead crawled with my hands around the left side of the boulder that's there. Wind is pretty brutal at all of the lakes and the steepness after Loch is no joke, but well worth the efforts! Would highly recommend!

Hiked this yesterday with my daughter. It was awesome! Some tough climbs at the end with ice and snow pack but well worth it. Micro spikes are a must. A frozen Glass lake and ice fall made for some great pictures.

Wow! The description of this trail is on point, as well as everyone's reviews. We had hiked Emerald Lake the day before and wanted something more challenging... we got it! We wore microspikes and used trekking poles the whole way up. We were hit by a snow storm about halfway to Sky Pond and pushed through. The most difficult part is right before you hit the pond. The trail is barely hiked and therefore you sink pretty deep at such a steep incline. The part where the strap is is extremely icy and therefore I "Spidermaned" my way up the left side of the boulder instead of the right (not using the strap). The pond was gorgeous and frozen solid. *caution** heard a bear as we began our decent down the steep incline. You should bring : snow shoes, microspiked, snow pants, and trekking poles at the very least. *** Also, I dropped our little fox somewhere around Loch Lake, when the snow melts and if he is seen please feel free to contact me via Facebook, he's a precious part of our lives ;(***

Hiked 3/12. Only used microspikes for the entire hike. Someone has bolted a strap by the only sketchy part of the hike. Slid most of the way down on my coat. Definitely recommend if you are in shape for it. If you’re questioning it at the lock its best to not go up. It only gets steeper from there. If you take snowshoes make sure to also bring spikes for the sheet of ice you have to climb before glass lake

Hiked in the middle of winter on a nice sunny day. Views followed by aspen groves and a few creek crossings made for a scenic hike with lots of packed snow closer to the falls. My 5 and 11 year enjoyed the hike but think about taking lunch or food in general if you have kids. It took my 5 year old about 4.5 hours.

Lots of snow. Need microspikes and snowshoes. It is a great workout as it is steep.

Hiked on 3/3 and it was spectacular! Minimal wind and plentiful sunshine. Not much need for snowshoes until you continue up in elevation. The ice on the falls made it difficult, so ditch your snowshoes and go with microspikes at that point. Make sure you download the map and have adequate GPS as the snow can often lead you astray from the main trail. I also misplaced my cell phone at the bottom of Glass Lake (Lake of Glass?) if anyone finds it in the snowmelt. :)

Hiked this a few months ago and was just as amazing as everyone says. Definitely a difficult hike and not for everyone. Getting above Timberline Falls was very sketchy and difficult with the ice and wind but is necessary to make it all the way. I can't wait to come back up here in Summer

Took a pack of flatlanders up for a morning hike and had an amazing time. Wind was brutal so make sure to bring a face mask and lots of layers. No snowshoes are needed but I would advise using boots this time of year at the bare minimum. Download the map to use offline as the trail splits in a few places that can be confusing. Amazing views, and a challenging but rewarding hike.

Started early in the morning to make sure I got a parking spot. Wore spikes and carried snowshoes. The trail was well traveled with hard pack/ice at times. No need for the snowshoes. The weather was absolutely perfect! Sun, blue skies and not much wind (relatively) at all. The Loch, Glass Lake and Sky Pond all ice with no/little snow cover. The climb up Timberline Falls not bad at all and someone placed a strap at the point where it there is ice. At the lakes, a lot of exposed rock, ground so easy to get around. On the way back, the snow was softer after the sun on it all day long. Hiked it in the summer and first in winter and both beautiful in their own ways.

Such a stunning hike! You can’t go wrong with hikes in Rocky Mountain but on this hike you pass so many other falls and lakes there is so much along the way. We had our trekking poles and spikes on. I don’t think we could have competed this hike without them. Very slushy in some areas and ice in others.

Spikes were sufficient until about a mile before the lakes

Backside has kneedeep snow the entire way, definitely need snowshoes right now! Go towards Gem Lake if you are doing the entire loop, or you'll have a bad time.

Parked at Iron Springs melodrama for $5. Hiked up to the trail head off of Hydro Loop. I brought my micro spikes and trekking poles but didn’t need either of them. Due to time restraints I only did 4 mile out and 4miles back. On the part that I hiked, there was snow and some icy patches but really it was a beautiful hike especially past 2.5 Miles up once your out of the path of Incline hikers. This was a good first journey on the Barr Trail as I plan on a weekend backpacking trip to camp then summit pikes Peak this year.

1 month ago

10/10. Loved every step of this trail. I suggest counter clockwise. The climb up trail raider from clockwise direction looked miserable. Glad I was going down!

This was an amazing hike/snowshoe, the trail is fully covered in snow and snow shoes definitely advised. We didn’t make it to the sky pond sines the last climb near the frozen waterfall is ALL ice, we felt it was to dangerous to climb.

Snowed all morning, but no wind. It was awesome. Most of the trail is good enough to walk on with hiking boots, snowshoes would have been extremely helpful, skis would have also been nice. I have neither snowshoes or skis so I didnt make it to the lakes, started post holing every step about 3/4 mile to the lakes so I turned back. Hey it was worth a shot.

bit cold this morning. here to video sunrise. awesome!

Easily one of the most epic backpacking trips in NorCal. A rugged, oceanside trail, like no other. I wrote about it more extensively in my blog post here: https://slugpace.com/lost-coast-trail/

Wow! My favorite in Rocky!

For 2/2 we turned around at the lake of glass with winds literally blowing us over. Broke trail most of the way past Loch vale second to wind blown snow- will definitely be back!

Very windy day, which wasn't too bad in the forest. The snow was pretty firmly packed on the trail. I used hiking boots most of the way without a problem, then switched to spikes about a mile - mile and half from the lakes, and then snowshoes for the last stretch. Unfortunately, the wind made hanging out by the lakes pretty miserable, so the trip was cut pretty short. Still gorgeous, though. Lots of skiers!

1 month ago

Great trail - starts out in the burn scar but after about 1/2 mile goes into beautiful, lush forest. Light snow on the majority of the trail on 1/28/18 but easy to follow due to previous hikers footprints (might be more difficult after a fresh snowfall). If you go all the way to the historic buildings the RT mileage is actually 9.7 miles not 7.7.

Completed 1/14, made it all the way up to the first lake with yaktrax/hiking boots. Last mile was definitely slow-going. Beautiful day, no wind. The trail was pretty obvious to follow.

Early morning hike. Surprisingly, the trail was well traveled and easily followed unlike other times. Once making the turn from Rollins Pass, snowshoes are a must. Always a great hike and take the time on some of the steep climbs.

***Get there early as the parking lot was 1/3 full at 8:30 and was full at 11:30. About 75% of people were skiers.

we went in August and there was plenty of water sources. there wasn't that much poison oak. when there was it was avoidable.tons of wildlife. amazing trip.

Wife picked this trail on the way up, without telling me it was rated hard/difficult haha. Got there, and only after the first mile or so I asked what the rating was, since the inclines were no joke, especially using snowshoes with 2-4ft snow the entire way. Finally got to the lakes, much too windy to actually see them, but still an accomplishment to get there. The trek down was fast and a ton of fun though.

Note: The snowshoes were a must to make it all the way to the lakes; the trail was not very packed down for the last mile and you would post hole the whole way if just wearing boots!

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