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Loved this hike! Beautiful as the trail ascends through the forest. Two steep parts, one about1-2 miles in and the ascent to the lake. A small and bigger waterfall and a few stream crossings, love the water! I have two dogs and needed water in addition to my 3 liter camelback. The lake is beautiful and quiet. My dogs loved it too!

definitely worth making the extra miles!

hiking
2 days ago

A challenging but truly epic hike & summit. The dirt road up to the trailhead was barely passable at 5-7 mph in a Honda Civic – by comparison, it was much better than the Grays/Torreys road from hell – but you’d be tempting fate in anything less than a high-clearance 4WD. Parking spots were still available at the trailhead (North Cottonwood Creek) at 7 AM on a Monday in August. Only encountered four or five other hikers all day.

This trail has basically four parts: in the forest, in the valley, ascending to the shoulder, and the final ascent to the summit. Each section is shorter but steeper and more challenging than the last; the last two sections have probably 2000-2500 feet of elevation gain across <2 miles. Beware of the two unmarked forks along this trail – at the first, it’s left to Harvard and right to Columbia, and at the second, keep right for the Harvard trail and go left for Bear Lake. Lots of marmots and pikas towards the end, and we saw some mountain goats from the summit. Goats aside, the summit views were absolutely spectacular – with minimal wind and clear skies, we spent 40 minutes up there.

Bottom line: definitely harder than some other 14ers but, with proper planning and expectations, totally worth it.

hiking
3 days ago

Hiked it on a weekend and was not very crowded. We parked just past the point where the stream crossed the road and the hike was 7.5 miles round trip (from car to the lake and back). Very pretty hike, very challenging. Would recommend it.

Great hike with beautiful views! Worth it to go to the upper lake. Left at 7:30am on a Sunday morning and on the way up only ran into a few people. On the way back, once you get closer to Beaver Lake, lots more traffic. Took us about 6.5 hours starting from Beaver Creek / Five Senses Trail. Out and back was about 16 miles. Trail is easy to follow.

The entire elevation gain is the 3ish miles closest to the lake, where the incline hits you like a wall! We found ourselves scrambling quite a few times up and around rock walls. The lake is underwhelming, not sure if the final climb was really worth it. The weather was beautiful though, and friendly hikers and packers that we passed along the way.

Beautiful hike, but super busy (of course, for a Saturday). We went beyond the lake to the upper lake, which doesn't show an official trail on the map. Lots of scrambling and hard to breathe above treeline. The second lake is pretty, but the first one is better. Another group saw some mountain goats beyond the second lake, but they had run off so we didn't attempt to go further. One note on the trail - wear sturdy boots because there is a lot of traversing over rocks and lots of tree roots. And on a hot day, bring lots of water.

Super nice hike! Only went to the first lake and the waterfalls. Overall, well marked trail, few stretches over boulders that were a bit harder to negotiate, well shaded for lots of the way, quite a few hikers. Parking is a challenge (only 3 spots at trailhead) but road parking farther down. Scenery is beautiful. Good for intermediate hikers.

camping
6 days ago

Great climb. Camped in the basin. Summited the next morning with my 12 and 9 year old.

Great option to Mohawk Lakes, which we do every year. Was very similar, but everyone in our group actually liked this one better! Beautiful falls and lake at the top!

backpacking
7 days ago

Backpacked in to Helms lake 8/6 - 8/7. A bit marshy getting around helms lake but the trail was in good condition and relatively easy to follow otherwise. Lost a blue nalgene somewhere in the helms lake area.

backpacking
7 days ago

Awesome trail with dispersed camping spots easy to find. Light elevation gain for first 2.5 miles and then it increases significantly thereafter. Excellent camping right after the first creek crossing at 2 miles in. There are flattened logs to walk across so no getting wet during the creek crossings. We went further and camped just short of Helms Lake (5.25 miles in) in the tree-covered area. Wonderful views and a few dispersed campsites easy to find.

I and a coworker hiked up on a day off.

As previous reviews have stated, the most technically demanding portion of the hike is getting to beaver lake. The beaver lake portion is heavily trafficked, and while nice, it in no way compares to the second portion of the hike.

Once you pass Beaver lake the tourist traffic dies down immensely. It’s very serene, much less physically taxing and overall a much more enjoyable hike.
It’s another 4-5 miles to get to turquoise lakes but you cover ground much quicker and believe me, the payoff is SOOOOO worth it.
I highly recommend continuing on to the second lake as it’s very close and it sits directly under the mountain.

This next portion I highly discourage without previous experience with scrambling loose terrain, but I still want to tell about it.

I (being the adrenaline junkie I am) decided to climb straight up to the ridge-line of the mountain and the payoff was a magnificent view of the next mountain range over as well as access to the summit of Mount Jackson.
But once again, I highly discourage this unless you have experience ascending steep loose terrain as the route up needs to be carefully picked.

The views are beautiful, but I didn't enjoy this hike that much. As an older (but not that old) and generally uncoordinated hiker, I felt like this hike was a sprained ankle waiting to happen. Luckily it didn't happen, but I spend a lot of time watching my feet and watching my dog's paws as we hiked over rocks and roots. What was interesting about this trail was the variety! It was like four trails in one: it started with a walk on a road, then through shady forest trails, after the lake and waterfalls the trail was narrow, steep and challenging, and then a relatively level trail through tundra under the shadow of Quandary.

Amazing Hike! Day 2 in Breck and we all felt well enough to take on a hike. This one was worth it! Take your time and make it to the lake at the end of the trail. Venture just a bit further up some of the smaller hills around the lake and you will have made it 12k+ in elevation. Best thing is it sits under Quandry one of the well know 14ers. On the list of hikes of conquer. Great place to rest, soak in some sun and enjoy the beautiful views. Only took the teenagers 20 mins to get down! Didn't think it was crowded, parking was easy when we arrived at 11am. Worth the trip!

Today was a great hike. We went to the waterfall just before the second lake and took a lovely catnap on the rocks for 10 minutes. The cabin and streams in the way up were a great surprise.

Great hike! All kinds of terrain. Beautiful views!Made it up to the waterfall and to the first lake. Took off my shoes to feel the water! Wow was it cold but it felt great! Love hiking with my wonderful family!

Great backpacking trip for those looking for a challenge and adventure!

Beautiful Trail with challenging terrain. Will definitely like to do again and visit the upper lakes when I have more time.

bring bug spray!!!

Beautiful, challenging trail. Best to start early. Heavy traffic late morning.

One of my all time favorites! Loved the wildflowers today.

Good hike, parking on side of road. Beautiful waterfall and lake.

Beautiful. 14 miles RT to lake #1. Last 2.2 miles are the only really steep section. Maybe add .8 to 1 mile to total if going to lake #2.

Dense forest most of the way up but the tree line appears pretty abruptly as you approach the lakes. Beautiful streams most of the way up as well. The views hiking up to Roger's pass were incredible! One of my favorite stretches of trail so far. If you have some extra time and are feeling adventurous try hiking up James's Peak to the south (Elv. ~13,300'). I'm writing this review over a month past the fact but I think it took me an additional 2.5 to 3 hours or so round trip from the pass. Trail was easy to follow with a brief scramble near the top (I think that's the term). So if you want to do James's peak I would suggest starting your hike before 7am. I think I left around 6:30AM and got back to the parking lot around 3:00 w/James peak. One of the best things about this location is the ample parking near the trailhead. You'll never really have to worry about that.

One of my favorite hikes from our vacation. Great waterfall views. You can climb on the rocks toward the top of the waterfall. Amazingly pretty lake above the waterfall too. Much of the hike is forested. Wished we had brought bug spray. Uphill much of the way to the lake. Great hike.

Incredible views after the hike breaks the tree line. The hike is easy-to-moderate as far as the first lake, which is spectacular enough to make the hike worthwhile. Persevere for the third lake if you’re feeling energetic - it’s stunning, as is the flatland that leads up to it. Marmots galore. We started early - about 7.30am - and had the place pretty much to ourselves. By the time we were headed down, there was some pretty heavy traffic going up. Took us 4 hours at a fairly leisurely pace.

Great nature walk. Moderate climbing, easier than Mohawk. 10’ temp change at the first lake. Park well past Quandary’s trail head ( 1.5miles past).

Really enjoyed this hike, and would do it again. It was a challenge for my 6 year old, who didn’t consider it moderate. We made about 5 miles round trip— all the way to the first lake where we saw pockets of snow, but not to the second or third lake (didn’t know those existed!) An employee at Patagonia told us about this hike, and it was definitely popular— very crowded in the first mile or so.

hiking
16 days ago

Great hike! Got up super early to be the first one on the trail! Amazing views I took my time and still only saw 4 people on the way down. Not bad! Would totally do this one again! So beautiful!

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