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Beautiful XC Ski!

We started late (1300) and did finish about 1915 in the dark, however we were able to hit gem lake at sunset and it was gorgeous. It does feel like a full 13 Miles and for the falls I would try and go after a heavy rain, the falls were gorgeous but small on our trip.

Today, 10252018, there was extensive snow on the trail just past the switch backs after the junction with the Rosalie trail.

Went yesterday & today. I camped at Lost Lake last night. About 2 miles in from where you park. Woke up this morning to about 22 degrees. And it had rained just a bit last night. Ran into a bunch of people on the trail as I was heading to set up camp who saw moose.

So I went clockwise. This was the right choice for me as the climb is more gradual (and I just got off a plane from Florida yesterday :)

Was gonna camp one more night (tonight) at Jasper Lake but....it was gonna be 20. And was only 5.3 miles to the car at that point. So I humped all 15 today w my 25lb pack.

And - I’m sitting at the noodle restaurant now haha. Yes, delicious.

If you are planning to complete the loop in a day , I would recommend start early. If you are not acclimated to the high altitude then it is a lot harder then it seems. Take plenty of breaks and drink a lot of water.

1 month ago

Beautiful hike the Aspens were great on the way up Rich Creek and on the way down Tumble Creek. As always the meadow is a stunning view.

Such a nice, smooth trail up, over and along the Divide. Always love this one!

Beautiful wander through the fall woods.

Beautiful hike through the forest, 9/21 the trees are just about done changing, unfortunately we missed the golden aspen covered mountain most of the leaves were gone, but there was still a few left to enjoy! (Pictures posted) You hike 2 miles in to view the scenic mountain side, still worth the trek though because who doesn’t love walking through the forest. Parking lot and street parking were full, trail traffic was moderate.

1 month ago

Walked this yesterday and it was spectacular. We walked trail past the lake for about 1 mile. The views are out of this world. Hike is a steady up, but very nice trail with switchbacks. Only met 1 person the whole day. Recommended!!!

1 month ago

Beautiful fall hike! Like others said, you have to hike maybe 2-3 miles in before you start to get views of the really spectacular solid sheets of aspens covering the hills. After Helms Lake you don't see aspen, and the trail is a little hard to follow through the bushes (willows?), but they add some nice yellow color to the beautiful mountain views. My phone and FitBit both measured 18.9 miles round trip to Abyss Lake, quite a bit longer than the 15 miles All Trails lists.

1 month ago

This is a beautiful hike. It is a steady ascent all the way up, but there are 360 views up high. We walked for about 1 mile above the lake and then views of hunter-frying pan wilderness come into view. Truly spectacular

Went clockwise at sun up. First 1/2 was in the shade. Second 1/2 headed to gem lake from bridal veil falls was pretty warm @ 80 degs today. Still a great hike with lots of fall colors. Saw elk, turkeys and a bobcat. We think the bobcat was sneaking in on the turkeys.

Absolutely stunning in the fall! The aspens are perfect shades of yellow right now, 9/17, and in order to see them blanket the mountainside, you need to hike about 3 miles in. Totally worth it. And it's nice and shaded all the way until it opens up...you walk through a few aspens in the trail, but holy moly, that mountainside. There's a beautiful stream, too. I've shared some pictures :)

We only hiked about 4.5 miles of this trail since we got on the road a little later than expected. Still a beautiful hike, is mostly a steep incline for the first couple miles so I would recommend being prepared for that. There’s a really pretty waterfall around mile 2(ish) off to the side. Would definitely like to go back and go backpacking!

Finally did this hike last weekend as a solo day-hike. Started the hike around 11 a.m. and and passed maybe 20 people on their way down. Had the lake all to myself once I got to the top! Abyss Lake itself is nothing overly special, but it was pretty cool to see the backside of the Sawtooth between Bierstadt and Evans. Very steady elevation gain. This is an amazing hike to do in the fall to see the foliage! The leaves were just about at peak last weekend, so I imagine this week to go if you want to see them in their prime!

Amazing fall colors today!!! Love this hike!

1 month ago

A real treat. First part uphill through trees is not too tough. The views and panoramas above tree line are spectacular. The lake is end of this trail but the views do encourage you to go on. A lot of bear scat at beginning of the trail. Makes you wonder with an entire wilderness to choose from why bears choose do their business on trails. No thought for others. Shameful! Recommend this trail without hesitation despite my reservations on wildlife toiletry habits.

Pretty steady hike up. Great camping at both lakes

Great trail with scenic views! We hiked counterclockwise and camped one night at Devils Thumb Lake. You have to have a permit durning the summer months up until Sept 15th. We camped on 9/7 and the temperature at night got down to around 30 - 31 degrees so make sure you have the correct gear even in early September. The first part of the trail going counter clockwise with a 35lb - 40lb pack can be difficult on some of the climbs in elevation, take breaks and drink plenty of water and you’ll be fine. There are plenty of water opportunities on the trail, so accessing water isn’t an issue for the most part. The ascend up from Devils Thumb Lake to the High Lonesome Trail has some great views you climb about 1,000 feet over approx a 1/2 - 3/4 mile. The rest of the trail after you come down off the High Lonesome Trail by King Lake you’ll be going down in elevation the remainder of the time. The overall trail is marked “ok” but recommend having a map or gps as back up, I would not rely on the trail markers only when hiking this trail. Great 15 + mile trail with beautiful views......go get some!!

We started at 830am and got back to the trailhead at about 530pm on 9/4/18, but we stopped at Bridal Veil Falls as well as Gem Lake for a generous amount of time. Did the loop counterclockwise. We are experienced but not advanced hikers, wore hiking shoes and brought a day pack for water/snacks/layers. Nothing fancy.

This is a really gorgeous hike that takes you through at least four different habitats around and on the mountains. The second half of the hike goes through a lot of open fields/meadows but is very close to shaded areas at the base of the mountain. This could be frustrating but luckily we had some thunderstorms that kept us cool. Bring LOTS of water!!!! There is no water to refill with on the trail unless you filter from Gem Lake or a stream. We had five water bottles and were still very thirsty by the end.

As other reviews state, the steepest part of the hike is the first chunk right before Gem Lake. After that it is pretty steady and a good mixture of up and down before Bridal Veil Falls, which were pretty steep. Some people said they were disappointed in the falls, but make sure you climb up the side to see the falls from above! The creek and the view from up there are well worth it, just be careful of slippery wet rocks.

We didn't get the chance to see any elk, but... we did see A BEAR! During those thunderstorms we managed to walk right up on one before we could hear each other... holy crap was that a rush! Like other reviews said, this probably only happened because we saw so few people. In all those hours hiking we probably passed 20 people total- and we didn't see anybody on the back half of the loop on Black canyon trail.

Passing through the private land on the back of the loop was interesting. At first we were nervous, but since it's part of the MacGregor Ranch it is technically still a part of the national park and the land is open and full of pines and boulders. Just stay on the trail and you're good.

Overall an amazing experience! Perfect all-day hike without the intensity of hiking 7 miles to a summit.

Ryan & Christie

Wonderful hike but LONG!!

Moderate, my ass. Hiked this today. And I hike the backcountry a lot. Went clockwise from Missouri lakes trailhead. Fine up to the lakes but then a butt buster on fancy pass over the ridge. Rocks and steep as hell. Snowed on me and you have to cross it twice. Coming down, signage is bad. Follow fancy pass lake trail. I goofed and went left and ended up on holy cross city 4x4 trail. Lots of fresh bear droppings. Still, stunning scenery.

We did this entire loop yesterday. We started on Fancy pass trail which worked well because it was steeper and descending down Missouri Lakes trail was a breeze. Be careful staying on trail at Missouri Lakes. We got sidetracked as there are many paths around the lakes.

2 months ago

Was a blast a few weeks ago for an overnight backpacking trip. We ended up going to the lakes and back down to find the best campsites. Water was plentiful, the nicest campsites were towards the beginning of the hike. Enough people on the trail to not feel completely isolated but no issues getting any campsite you want. Great spot for snowshoeing as well if the road is open in winter

I love love love this trail! 15+ miles of breathtaking views, minimal traffic (at least early on a weekday and compared to 14ers) and many runnable trails (except rocky bottom and steep top). I will definitely be back!

Beautiful hike! Definitely recommend doing it clockwise as the last 3 miles of Fancy Lakes Trail were down, down, down. Great hike for day hikers or those wanting to camp. Stunning views, with plenty of places to fill up for water. Wasn't too crowded on the trail, great for dogs. Water was very cold, but not cold enough to stop one lady from skinny dipping which was an added bonus! If you have the time I recommend checking out Holy Cross Trail. It only adds a couple of miles and is a very easy hike.

2 months ago

Incredible trail with beautiful views of high mountain cliffs, aspens, and an alpine lake (or two). My 11 year old cousin and I backpacked in a couple miles, set up camp, then hiked to Helms Lake and back. Excellent choice for a one or two nighter.

trail running
2 months ago

one of my favorite trail runs near FairPlay Colorado.

Can be hard to find parking near the trail head. We parked next to Old Monarch Pass and walked down to the trail. The scramble down to the lakes from the CDT is a bit hairy especially if it's rained recently, and crossing US50 can be painful as the traffic doesn't stop at all. The view of the lakes from the CDT is well worth it.

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