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The popularity of this trail has completely destroyed the area, there's poop everywhere along the trail & around the campsites. This place has transformed into a rocky mountain national park or emerald bay of tahoe lake situation. Aholes that don't respect anything go & pollute so the forest service now requires reservations to camp in the middle of the wilderness. Thanks people!! Crappy fake casual outdoors people ruined it for absolutely everyone, great job!!!!

Pretty cool aside from the jackass yelling "LINDA" for an hour strait. We saw a lot of people on this trail. Hot springs are more warm than hot.

What an adventure! This trail was 9.6 miles to and from the hot springs so 19.2 miles round trip according to my iPhone health app. It was very muddy and there was lots of snow especially the higher up you go so make sure to bring reliable warming and waterproof gear. The trail was really easy to follow and the bridges were fun to cross (3 bridges total) but the altitude is something to watch out for going up. It’s true what everyone say the hike down is a cake walk. It took us 6-7 hours to get up and 4 hours to get down.

its ok entrance is fun then more of a dirt road.

hiking
6 days ago

Holy crap this hike was awesome! The lottery system keeps crowds down to 20 people per day, which you really appreciate when you arrive.

hiking
14 days ago

Absolutely fabulous. Now that I have been there, the route is easy. Caution if terrain navigating. 2nd largest slot canyon on NA very close.

I hiked this trail CCW from 11-13 Sept 2018.

Flew into DEN and rented a car - beautiful drive, but budget 4 hours as an absolute minimum. Overnight parking is very limited at the TH, so unless you get there very early in the morning, you'll likely have to take a shuttle from town and pay for parking.

I left the TH at 1.28p on the 11th, and camped near mile 6.2 on this map. Plenty of h20 heading toward buckskin, but it got a little thin on the way down until you reach the meadows. Excellent view on buckskin, but it was quite windy, so I didnt hang out long.

After trail rider pass there is a little water at a pond, nothing else until ~ mile 11.7.

Beautiful waterfall near mile 13.5.

Camped near mile 15. Sites near water are nearly impossible to find. I just took what I could get & camped on a slight angle, then hiked several hundred yards to water.

Frigid Air pass was so beautiful in the early morning light. Hiked 3.5 hours without seeing another person.

Everywhere I read said no water between FA and Maroon passes - thats not true. I passed several great streams to get water. Beautiful basin.

Maroon pass took me about 6 minutes to climb. Literally. All of these passes with exception of Buckskin LOOK a lot taller than they actually are.

Lots of great campsites between MP and the TH. Water between MP and ~mile 21 is sparse.

One of my favorite trails. Have fun! :D

hiking
17 days ago

This is the most unique place on the planet. You don’t even believe it’s Earth. It’s like staring into a prehistoric era. Unbelievable!!!

Beautiful hike! The hike was actually 18.5 miles round trip from the parking lot to the springs. One of the most breathtaking hikes I’ve been on. People aren’t very considerate of others presence; we had a large group of 5 men and 1 woman all get completely naked and get in the springs while there were others in it. Do everyone a favor and pack a swimsuit and towel, because no one wants to see you naked in the springs while trying to relax. Only thing that put a damper on this otherwise beautiful hike!

Absolutely stunning and worth every step! Took us 4 hours to get up with our packs and 3 hours to get down. The springs were beautiful and the sunrise was amazing! Definitely possible to do it as a day hike but do yourself a favor and reserve a campsite!

Short off road ride to the mouth of the trail. Was a nice sneaky road to the trail. We took our stock Jeep Wrangler to the mouth of the trail with no problem.

The spring and scenery are worth the challenging climb. I was surprised that I finished it, coming from New Orleans at sea level. Make sure to bring extremely warm clothes, because we did freeze our butts off at night (late September)

hiking
27 days ago

People who are worried about getting to trailhead with a non 4x4 vehicle, don’t! I got there with my Toyota Sienna minivan and was fine if I drove slowly.

I lucked out and got a walk in permit the first time trying ON MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND!!! Got last # that was called out!

I started early (I stayed at the Stateline campground the night before so would have a quick drive) since I can’t handle high heat very well. It was nice and cool. Trail isn’t very well marked so follow the pictures in your booklet that the ranger gives you when you get your permit! I found a couple who got lost not doing that.

Most of hike is just exposed rock and sand. Saw some random wildflowers when I went through. The Wave portion itself (and if you go just a tad further will see similar formations some call the 2nd wave) is incredible.

I got out before noon since, by then, the heat was getting to me. Worth the hike!

backpacking
30 days ago

WARNING - DO NOT DEPEND ON WAG BAGS AT TRAILHEAD - BRING A SHOVEL!! We were expecting to find the advertised free WAG bags at the trailhead, but the box was empty. From the number of day trip permits piled up in the box, it had been a while since a ranger had been up. Luckily we always carry a shovel anyway, but it would have sucked to be digging an 8-inch hole with a stick up there in the rocky soil.

This was an amazing trail. My daughter and I have been backpacking together since she was 9, and 12 years later this trip was definitely the most incredible one so far. Our campsite was clean, our fellow campers/soakers were sweet and considerate (no late loud parties in the pool), and the views were mind blowingly beautiful. We spent 2 nights, which gave us a nice lazy day of hot springs time before heading back down.

It took us 6 hours to hike up, but the second half of that hike was in steady cold rain (the trail gets slippery). On a clear day it would have easily been 5 hours. We took a leisurely 4 hours to hike down, could’ve done it in 3 if we’d been motivated.

If you’re thinking about it, just get the permit and do it. You won’t be disappointed!

Great Hike went in at 1:30pm was hot the 1st 2 miles in with no shade, then once you get past the 2 mile marker it gets better. Stayed overnight at the springs and hiked out in the AM. No snakes but did see fresh cougar tracks.

on King Lake Trail

hiking
1 month ago

This was my favorite hike ALL summer. Not heavily trafficed, closer to Denver, and stunning views the whole way up! I highly recommend. Make sure you arrive early so that you don't have to hike up to the trailhead. I believe there is public transportation that brings you directly there as well - maybe look into that.

Go figure .... flight from Denver is delayed by almost 2 hours to go home! Damn the luck
Happy birthday to me

We backpacked this loop counter clockwise for Labor day weekend in 2018, camping at the Twin Crater Lakes on the first night and Camp Lake on the second night.

Beautiful area -- lots of water, with many stream crossings that used logs or stones to get across w/o getting wet.

Because we went in September we saw almost no flies and zero mosquitos. There was plenty of water to filter to drink (creeks, lakes, ponds) but it wasn't marshy with a ton of mosquitos. We saw 5 moose, stunning views of meadows and mountain lakes, amazing stars at night.

The Twin Crater lakes were too high (about 11000 feet) and shallow for fish. We didn't see any fish at Camp Lake, but other backpackers said they caught many fish in the Raway Lakes.

The parking lot at the West Branch Trailhead was full Saturday at noon on Labor day weekend, but people can park along the wide dirt road next to the parking lot, so that was not an issue.

Did this as a day hike (Sunday 9/17). A moderate trail, mostly gradual with a majority of the elevation gain during the last 2.5 miles. We showed up at the trailhead around 7:30 AM with 3-4 spots still available. Started hiking around 7:40 AM, arrived at the hot spring around 11:15 AM (about 3 hr 35 min with some food and photo breaks). Spent ~2 hours at the hot springs. Then took 3 hours to return to the trailhead. Would have probably taken up longer had been staying overnight and had more gear. We each carried about 2.5 L of water with us (probably drank about 2 L), and plenty of snacks. Wore long sleeve and pants for the morning, but changed to tank top and shorts returning to the car.

The views on the way in are fabulous, a lot of walking through aspen/pine forests and open meadows. The leaves have started changing with about 1/3 bright yellow and another 1/3 light green. The views while sitting in the hot spring itself (about 90-95 F when we were there) were even more incredible. We even had the spring to ourselves for a little while. We saw a lot of people coming down while we were going up though, so I’m sure Saturday was more crowded.

We recorded about 8.5 miles each way. You may add more mileage if there’s no parking at the conundrum trailhead (you cannot park on conundrum creek road!) or if you have to pit stop at a campsite (some are before and some are after the hot spring). Creek crossings were pretty dry when we went. The large ones have flattened logs going across. There’s one crossing that has a fallen wood sign before it that says “FORD”. Here, we actually found it easier to go to a path on the right instead and walk across some fallen trees/logs.

Definitely a long hike to do in a day (by the end you’re mentally willing the parking lot to be around the next bend), but doable and worth it. I haven’t tried camping overnight (the permits were all reserved), but I would assume we went a lot faster not having 2 days/1 night’s worth of stuff with us.

Also, for anyone with dogs - there’s a point at which dogs are no longer allowed past, which includes where the permitted campsites are and the hot spring itself. Not sure if anyone’s checking, but would be a bummer to get up there and not know ahead of time! We didn’t see any rangers (nor were we camping), but I’ve heard of rangers being there to check for permits and bear canisters so just be aware.

This was my husband and my 1st backpacking trip. It is not for the faint of heart and will challenge you physically and mentally if you are packing in gear. We came from 1700ft in elevation where we live, so the altitude definitely got to my husband. The views were tremendous and the trail was well marked. It is hard at the end, definitely felt like a "money pit" reference to people coming down, "1-2 miles" always. It took us 8 hours to climb up, and 4 1/2 to get down, many people passed us up. Everyone was super friendly and encouraging, loved hearing all of the different accents. We saw lots of squirrels and a few deer. Probably not the best for a 1st time backpacking trip but the aspens were turning and the scernary was stunning and the hot springs were not crowded and averaged around 100F.

Did shorter 20.1 mile loop - in a 3 day/2 night trip.
- Day/Night 1: Parking -> West Branch -> Rawah -> Twin Crater Lakes (hiked up to but camped below lakes) ~6.6 miles
- Day/Night 2: Twin Crater Lakes -> Rawah -> Sandbar Lakes -> Camp Lake Trail (skip Upper Camp Lake Trail, sleep @ 2nd intersect of Camp Lake x Camp Lake Ditch Loop trails ~6.9 miles
- Day 3: Camp Lake -> West Branch -> Parking ~6.6 miles

Highlights!: Excellent clean (spring fed?) creeks at each camp site, even in Sept. West Branch -> Rawah Trail very pretty w/ aspen trees, everything from Twin Crater Lakes, Grassy Pass, to Rawah Lake 3 was superb eye candy, love the sweeping ridge views & alpine lakes. Heard wolves (?) and elk on Night 1 and saw a BIG moose on Night 2!!

Meh: Camp Lake Trail was very muddy & brushy near the lake, even in Sept - best to wear pants and waterproof shoes! Lots more standing dead pine on the Camp Lake side of the trail.

Crowds: Saw under a dozen people per day - day hikers, backpackers, some fishing and hunting. 2 other groups camping at Twin Crater Lakes, 1 at our 2nd camp.

Map Note: National Geographic's map for this area is missing Camp Lake Ditch Loop trail, I don't think those intersections are marked, and while it shows more creeks than All Trails, not all creeks on that map were running mid-Sept, so we were confused about where we were by the end of Day 2.

watch out for rattlesnakes, they are out there, be careful.....my fourth time out here, and its the first time we saw one , happy trails

Round trip 19 miles! If you’re very fit, this isn’t hard. The springs are amazing!! 9.4 miles ONE WAY!

1st water crossing: 2.5/3 miles
2nd water crossing: 6 miles
3rd water crossing: 6.5/7 miles.

No wading! Tevas were nice for the springs. Watched the sunrise. Started hiking at 330, made it to springs at 730 (4 hours), chilled for an hour or so. Made it back to trailhead in 3 hours. Not for faint of heart, but not impossible!

My partner and I did this entire hike (round trip) in a day, and it was rough. I have a Suunto trail watch and I tracked the hike closer to 13 miles one way - I’m not sure who’s numbers are more accurate but my watch uses GPS and tends to be accurate on nearly all of the hikes I track.

That being said, this hike is beautiful. The elevation gain is gradual and the most intense at the end right before the hot spring.

You cross three man made LOG bridges before getting to the hot springs. There are multiple rock and downed tree crossings - these don’t count ;)

Wear sunscreen. Bring a first aid kit for blisters. But be prepared for a stunning visit at the top.

Do us all a favor and if you see people eating in the pool or leaving trash, speak up. There’s permits in place for a reason and we want to keep this place as beautiful as it has been for centuries. Some people just don’t get it.

This trail was absolutely stunning! The hike itself is long though. It is closer to 10 miles in each direction so be prepared for a long day if you aren’t planning on backpacking. Definitely worth the trip though!

Hiked this clockwise Sept 2018. Departed at 4 PM on day 1 and hiked in 5 miles (West Branch Trail to Rawah Trail) and camped near the intersection of Rawah Trail & Twin Crater Lakes Trail. Day 2 we hiked up to Twin Crater Lakes, then followed Rawah Trail to Sandbar Lakes Trail. My trail companion fished in Upper Sandbar Lake (she caught 3 fish) then we camped by Camp Lake. Our campsite was visited by a huge bull moose around dinner time. Day 3 we hiked out via the Camp Lake Trail / West Branch Trail.

Views on the Rawah Trail were terrific. Each day felt different and highly recommend.

We used the book and map by Raymond Ave entitled "Backcountry Adventure Guide to Colorado's Rawah Wilderness"

Early September 2018. Great hike! We started at 2pm and got to the Hot Springs around 5:45pm after taking a few of breaks. The hike starts out with a gradual uphill for about 1 hr, then 1hr downhill into a canyon until you reach the fork of Little Bear Canyon and Middle Fork. No water in the first twi hours. Though the hard copy map shows to not cross Middle Fork yet, it seems like that trail hasn’t been used in a while, cross it and just follow it, all the way around. It then took us almost 2 hours to reach the hot springs. The only hard thing was that we didn’t know how far we were going and even though it’s all flat, you are slowed down the river crossings. Once we got there all the good flat camp spots were taken, but we found a good one nested up in the river bank, so we camp here. Went into the hot springs in the morning (very nice in the beginning, then they were warm) and then took off. We got lucky, no storms while we were there, though you could see them creeping nearby. It seems as if these thunderstorms are unpredictable. We did get stuck in a hail storm the night before but this was 30-40min out from the Visitor’s Center on highway 15. The Middle Fork water was fine, we brought aquamira drops and used them a few times. The water was clear. Note that water is used upstream. No signs of bears, cougars, nor wolves. Only birds, squirrels, and lots of frogs. Would definitely come back to do more than one night. Have fun!

Just finished this solo. 4 day 3 night. Amazing trail. Well marked with minimal deadfall. I did counterclockwise up Beaty’s to Skyline then West to Jack’s creek South. Didn’t summit anything as the weather was schizophrenic. Rained and hailed 80% of the time, so, plenty of water. Woke to ice covered everything on day 3. Lots of thunder and lightning shows. Had a coyote play hide and seek for a couple of miles on day one.
Will return.

Absolutely stunning. Worth the river crossings and feels good after hiking for a bit. Pack hiking shoes and then sandals along with poles to help with the cross.

hiking
1 month ago

This was an amazing experience...We went on a cold, rainy, somewhat snowy day in March. We are so thankful that we hired a guide out of Kanab who had a vehicle that could get in and out. Rain on clay is almost worse than ice in Minnesota. The weather did not dampen the experience and the weather cleared just as we arrived at the Wave. We are glad that we dressed in weather appropriate layers. We received our lottery ticket in the online drawing 3 months ahead....and there were almost 300 in line the day before. So it really is the luck of the draw.

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