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

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hiking
1 hour ago

Enjoyable hike! Little rocky and challenging at parts, but nothing too crazy. Dog friendly so expect to see a few 4-legged friends out there. Cool views!

hiking
2 hours ago

Very pretty trail. A bit crowded, but not as crowded as I was expecting. I'd call this trail moderate rather than hard, and I'm of average shape. There were parts that were tough, but it's really short so that's why I'd say it's closer to the moderate side. I got to the parking lot by 8 am and it was full. However, there was plenty of parking along the street. It cost 2.50 per hour.

Left at 7am from Halfmoon trailhead aiming at ascent via SE ridge as described in Roach book. Did not find the side trail at 10,600’ mentioned in other posts but ascent through the sparse pine forest was straightforward. Reached tree line at 11,800’, great views from there, ridge line easy to follow. Did not meet a single hiker until rejoining the main trail below the summit.

SE ridge is an awesome alternative for those who like hiking off the beaten path. The ascent requires more effort due to the lack of trail and some up and down along the ridge (about 1000’ extra vertical in all). There is no water along this route so bring plenty.

I would rate this trail as difficult. Vail is already at 8150ft with this trail giving you a steady incline of +1000ft which was pretty rough on us coming from California coast only the night before. We went as far as the falls for this hike and took a lot of rest. I would say the very beginning is the steepest stretch, so don’t get discouraged when you start. There were a handful of flat areas a few meters long, with the valley opening being the longest. This area was a very beautiful view of the vegetation. For the falls you do need to cross two creeks but there are rock stepping stones, so your feet will not be submerged. A good portion of the path is rocky, so I’m glad we wore our hiking boots for this one.

hiking
1 day ago

I really enjoyed this hike. my niece, 6 year old dog, and I hiked this in about an hour and a half. The hike was alittle strenuous on your calves going up, but once you got to the hotel it was worth it, from there the watchtower and overlook cliff is only .30 :).

Great view from the fire tower. Quick and easy hike but enjoyable.

Nice hike path is clear and safe all the way up as far as hiking through rocks and such. Great views had a great time.

Great hike awesome view from the arch. steep in places and rocky. worth the trip.

Great trail, hard climb, worth every step

hiking
3 days ago

Very nice trail along the creek and waterfalls. Not too difficult or crowded on a Thursday. Went around 5 miles round trip in 2+ hours.

camping
3 days ago

First off, if you plan on driving the road...it is rough. I'd really recommend high clearance. We did it in a Tacoma with added suspension 4X4 and it was still pretty slow going as the road is very rocky, very narrow and steep in places.

That being said, the lake is gorgeous and you can hike the road if you don't want to drive it. This is probably what we'd do next time. We hauled our stuff in and camped at the lake. Most of the other groups camped by their cars at the top of the road, so you can do that as well.

There was a lot of broken glass where groups had camped by the lake, which was a bummer, especially having so many dogs around. We tried to clean up what we saw, but it some places it looked like people were actually shooting glass bottles, so be careful when walking around!

All-in-all a nice lake...very pretty, but for those seeking a bit more solitude, I'd go elsewhere--since you are able to drive to the top there were a lot of big groups, ton of off-leash dogs, etc. But if you want somewhere to bring a paddle board, pack raft, with the family that isn't an off-the-highway kind of place, this lake is the place!

hiking
4 days ago

Continue down the other side of the pass toward Notch and scale for an amazing View of Mt. of the Holy Cross!

As someone from Michigan, this hike was a little difficult for me. There were some flatter areas but overall it was an incline. Took me about 3 hours to get up to the lake and 2.5 to get back down. However, it is pretty rough on the knees going down. Make sure to bring plenty of water and snacks/lunch for the lake.

hiking
5 days ago

My wife and I did this yesterday. Nice trail with wildflowers and great scenery. It is a combination of open fields of wildflowers and areas with large shady aspens. There were also some wild raspberries and blueberries (or possibly huckleberries) along the trail of which I munched on here and there. I would recommend hiking shoes as the trail can be rocky in places although I did see many folks in tennis shoes along the trail. There were several steep places where a trekking pole came in handy. I'm 63 and about 220 lbs and I find a single trekking pole helps balance and knees on the steps. My wife and I made it to the falls in 1 and 1/2 hours. I'm from a southern low land area but we've been here about 5 days to get somewhat acclimated to the elevation. While getting a bit winded at times, it wasn't that bad. Would do this again.

hiking
5 days ago

Great trail. Lots of climbing on the way up, but it’s all worth it for the views at the top. Go early to avoid the crowds – it was already pretty busy at 7am and people were lined up inching along the narrow paths on on the way down. Free parking is available about 10 blocks away.

hiking
6 days ago

Great morning hike! Took me 2 hours with a 15 min stop at peak.

Certainly challenging, but nothing to lose sleep over. Expect to wait in line if you’re hoping to get decent pictures at the top.

Great hike yesterday. 4AM start. Two goats at the top. No clouds or wind. I think they should resurrect that pile of rocks on the top to make it higher than Elbert again!

hiking
7 days ago

Says Hard but I don't think its hard. Beautiful trial.

I am in Vail for a 9 week post-surgery checkup for my hip. I had a personal goal to do some hiking while in Vail. This trail was steep but had enough shade and flat surfaces that I was able to complete it! The hardest part, for me, is getting used to the elevation. Make sure to pack plenty of water and healthy snacks. I found a walking stick, which was very helpful. We took alot of breaks and completed the trail in and out in 5 1/2 hours. Great scenery and plenty of friendly, encouraging hikers along the way.

Maybe my new favorite 14er. Really gorgeous, especially for a 14er. Not as much traffic as a lot of popular peaks either. Highly recommend early start, if for no other reason so you can see the sun rise above the Mosquito Range to the East. Also recommend a camp at Elbert Creek Campground the night before. Top notch campsites and just around the corner. And folks, please: STOP starting 14er climbs too late in the morning. Lightning is a real threat with late starts so get on the trail early.

hiking
8 days ago

This is definitely a “hard” trail, bust super proud when I finished! Practically all up hill on the way there but that means down hill on the way back! The views at the top are beautiful! I would recommend starting it sooner rather than later so the traffic is low and the sun isn’t too high!

hiking
8 days ago

We enjoyed this hike! It was definitely a high incline and rocky but it was worth it. It was a bit harder then expected the the views are beautiful and the arch is pretty neat. Bring lots of water, take stops and enjoy the outdoors! There are trees on a lot of the hike which gives some much needed shade every now and then.

Thought we would start here on vacation to get used to the elevation before heading to RMNP but this was a tough hike for us. Arch bigger than expected and nice view of flatirons

hiking
8 days ago

This was a very nice short first day hike for our CO vacation to get acclimated to walking at this altitude/weather. I would put the overall difficulty more towards moderate, but it’s a tough call as parts are easy, parts are moderate, and there are some steeper stretches that are more difficult. We went relatively early on a July weekday and the number of people going up was not bad at all, but we passed a ton of people going the other way as we can back down. Yes, bring water, wear good hiking shoes, sunscreen, etc and otherwise use common sense. Although short, the trail has more of the feel of a “hike” than a walk in the park.

We hiked this se trail on our descent after hiking up the steeper sw trail.
This trail was a dream.

Awsome !

Good one

Amazing views along the way with lots of wildflowers. There are parts that are steep but manageable. There are plenty of places to rest on the way up that are shaded. Enjoy the gorgeous views of the falls at the top!

on Royal Arch Trail

hiking
10 days ago

Beautiful views from the Royal Arch and worth the effort it takes to hike up! Would not recommend this trail for small children, elderly, or dogs that are not experienced hiking companions in high altitudes. Very steep, rocky, and mostly vertical climb. Several areas require scrambling. You’ll want a good pair of hiking/approach shoes. Do not take this trail if you have bad knees, hips, or ankles. Otherwise, enjoy!

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