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A lot of moose. both lakes were very crowded, for a reason. it is beautiful.

Many of these reviews suggest going a clockwise route and I would whole-heartedly agree. Look up King Lake Trail to Devil's Thumb Trail Loop reviews to read why.

We arrived at the Bear Lake trail head about 12 to 1 pm and started the hike shortly after. We were in three groups with different experience levels. I was the least experienced and least fit on the three groups. Thankfully I had a buddy that stayed with me through day one of the hike.

The first evening we hiked the first part of the bear lake trail until it intersected with the Flattop Mountain Trail and made a sharp left onto the Flattop Mountain trail. We followed the trail until it intersected with the Fern Lake Trail. We then followed that past lake Odessa and on to Fern Lake.

We arrived at Fern lake and made camp on the far side of the lake in one of the camp sites. Reservations needed.

The next day we broke camp and followed Fern lake trail to The Pool and broke for lunch at The Pool.

As we broke for lunch I found The Pool a great place to remove my boots and socks and soak those tied dogs in the cold crisp icy water of the Thompson River. As you arrive at The Pool, if you cross the little log bridge, you will find a nice rock with a trail / elevation designator on it and that rock makes an awesome place to get to the rivers edge for a good foot soak.

We then followed Fern Lake trail past through the huge rocks, and on to the Fern Lake trail head.

It was a beautiful hike through the mountains.

I’m actually looking forward to another pass through this trail.

The highlights of this particular hike has to be as you turn the corner of the trail and start the decent into the valley toward Odessa Lake, the scenery is beautiful to say the least. Norman Rockwell would have loved this picturesque valley.

As you start the decent into the valley toward Lake Odessa I felt that the terrain changed and became more challenging. First your working a different set of muscles now as your hiking downhill and second the trail is now covered with many more large rocks to traverse on your descent. For those of us in a little less than great shape this is a bigger challenge than for those with the skills of a mountain goat.

My sons highlight of the trail was the little pesky chip monks who take up residence at The Pool. They will gladly accept any handouts and stuff their little cheeks full.

It was a wonderful nearly 17 miles and hopefully the first of many more such adventures.

This route is not dog friendly. It starts inside the national Park, there are signs everywhere Prohibiting you to take your dog past the gate. I’m sure it’s a nice hike, but I spent two hours getting here and now can’t take my dog and I don’t trust the app.

Staunton State Park is beautifully maintained and trails are well marked. Park fees are $7. It’s a great spot close to the city and there are a lot of trail options for every level of hiker (or biker, climber, horseback rider!).

We hiked Staunton Ranch trail to Elk Pond to Elk Falls Overlook (Lion’s Head Trail is currently closed). We did the trail on a Tuesday and saw only a handful of hikers and bikers (intermittent rain showers I think helped with the traffic as well). Overall time was about 4.5 hours and 10 miles - I think moderate is a fair rating for the trail with moderate inclines on Elk Pond trail and a tougher climb on the Elk Falls Overlook trail.

Keep an eye out for wildlife - we spotted marmots, deer, and other critters on the trails!

Loved the hike. Easy enough for most people. Some sunny spots but a lot of in/out of trees. Pretty scenery towards the end and before the falls. Lots of mountain bikers hit this trail because of its so maintained by Parks services.

Gorgeous hike and one of my all time new favorites. Highly recommend. However, realize it is 5 miles to the summit and not 4 as advertised. Not a problem and WELL worth it. Go early.

5 days ago

Amazing alpine hike with spectacular mountain views. Ended up seeing multiple elk along the trail and big horns near the summit! First time seeing big horn in the park. Do start early to avoid the crowds and the afternoon showers. Also you’re exposed for the majority of the trek so bring appropriate gear/sunscreen. Definitely would do again!

Lovely hike with many beautiful lakes along the way. We started at Bear Lake and hiked thru to the Fern Lake trailhead which clocked in at 11.4 miles on my Fitbit. From Fern Lake it is another .7 miles to the RMNP shuttle. It took us about 5 hours, with stops, to complete. The first 3-4 miles of the hike is a steady ascent and the rest is all downhill. We ran into one snow patch along the way that was easily traversed (early July). Stop at every lake along the way- they are spectacular. Keep an eye out for an unmarked trail on your left that leads to Lake Helene. It's about half a mile past the Sourdough Backcountry Campsite and is a great stop for views and lunch. Lake Odessa is about 4.5 miles in and you need to hike down to get to it. Incredible views. We also passed Spruce Lake, Fern Lake, and Fern Falls. We didn't see many people along the way and the views descending into Odessa Gorge are spectacular. Horses are allowed on the trail, and the droppings get pretty bad the last 3 miles near Fern Lake. Overall, this is a beautiful, long hike that offers gorgeous views of RMNP.

This is a great getaway from Denver, this loop is nice and one should connect to the waterfall trailhead. Bikers were more in numbers than hikers.

backpacking
5 days ago

Great trail, beautiful scenery with ample camping. We wanted to camp up at Helms lake but it was extremely buggy so made our way back down. It wasn't an overly crowded trail and finding camping was pretty easy.

Went July 5 and only saw three or four people all day. Early part of the trail through meadows and along the stream are beautiful and an easy hike. Second part up the mountain to Mirror Lake is fairly steep and harder, but shaded by dense forest. There is a lot of beetle-kill killed trees and deadfall, some over the trail. Be prepared for mosquitoes on the trail and at camp. Stayed the night at campsite one and it was gorgeous. Two moose right in camp, and I was visited by a couple of deer in the early morning.

Hiked Ida in June and there was a lot of snow under the treeline. Took the group I was with about 2 hours to get out of the treeline. Once we were out, the hike was beautiful. The wildlife is abundant and the views are awesome. Ida is a little more tough than moderate I would say because she has a lot of false summits and it's an uphill climb most of the way. You feel like you're close, then there is more. Well worth it though, just be ready for a good challenge.

hiking
7 days ago

This trail really wasn’t worth the drive. The lakes and falls are pretty and the trail is well marked, but the trail was fairly crowded, and there were very few wildflowers (even in mid-July) .

8 days ago

Beautiful trail through the forest. Easy with lots of shade. Nice and relaxing!

hiking
9 days ago

Nice meandering trail through the forest

hiking
10 days ago

Just hiked this trail today, July 11th, and the scenery is superb. You get above tree line fast so the views start within the first 30 minutes. Of course, this means that you are gaining elevation quickly so it is a bit challenging. It took us about six hours round trip moving at a good steady pace, including about 25 minutes at the summit. Some guidebooks say to plan for eight hours, while some reviewers say they did it in about four. I don’t think I could have gone much faster than we did as the trail can get a little slippery in spots due to loose gravel, and the boulder field up top takes time to navigate. I am bushed but it was totally worth it! We started at about 6:15 AM and shared the trail with just a handful of people at that time. We had a good 20 minutes at the summit all to ourselves. Even on the way down it wasn’t super busy, but the parking lot is small so you should get an early start. An early start also ensures you are down below tree line before afternoon storms pop up as you are VERY exposed on most of this trail. Once you hit the boulder field below the summit the trail disappears so just find a good line and head upwards. Beautiful 360 views! I really liked this trail and would do this one again! My gps clocked this at 10.1 miles but that may be because we kept trying to find the trail through the boulders.

backpacking
13 days ago

Just completed 2 day back packing trip. Great camping sites and lots of room to roam. Menacing weather kept us from making Abyss Lake day 2. Awesome wilderness area!

hiking
13 days ago

There are a lot of wild flowers that are pretty. However, due to water diversion, there is no longer a lake nor will there be one any time soon. Anyone thinking that they will take off their boots at the "lake" and have lunch is going to be disappointed. There are some camp sites with a bench along the way to take a break, which is nice - they have BBQ pits there as well if you want to grill.

This was a good hike for my friends from out of town.

Skip Bugling Elk! You are in a service road the majority of the time. Stick to Staunton Ranch and treat it is an out and back. It is in a state park, $7 for parking, so it is understandably crowded definitely should be listed is “moderately” trafficked. But once you get to the lake and take the switchbacks in to the wilderness you get some elevation and beautiful views of Lionshead (I think?) But what am I bitching about?? It’s a pretty sweet 10 mike hike within 45 minutes of the city. Get there early and you can have some alone time, enjoy!

backpacking
14 days ago

The lake is absolutely beautiful, make sure to wake up early enough to see the sunrise on the rock wall. I thought this was as a great trail too, well kept and easy to follow. I didn't really have to use my map the entire trail since it was very well marked and maintained. Through most of the hike there was enough of a breeze to keep bugs away but a little under 2 miles to the campsites there's a stretch of woods with some stagnant pools of water where the mosquitoes get really terrible. A little difficult for a beginner but you'll make it if you push.

hiking
14 days ago

Amazing and beautiful and predominantly quiet. The only people I came across were on the return trip and on the Bierstadt and Evans ridges. Plenty of wildlife. Evans and Bieratadt are accessible by climbing out of the cirque. That way you can avoid the ultra crowded standard routes. The views everywhere are amazing.

It gets rather hard to follow the trail on the east side of Helm's Lake. It isnt a very hard bushwack as its just waist high willows and only for fairly short lengths of time.

hiking
14 days ago

Amazing views around every corner. My 4 year old and 7 year old went with my wife and I and it took about 3 hours but worth it.

mountain biking
15 days ago

One of the most beautiful trails in CO.

Not too shabby. It was a beautiful trail great for trail running. Wasn’t insanely busy and it was 4th of July.

hiking
17 days ago

This was a difficult hike but TOTALLY worth the time and effort. We got off the trail so we could hike the top of the divide and the views were better than expected.

Pro: Not much snow.
Con: It all turned to mud and high creeks.

So I'm thinking maybe there's a week in August where there's no snow, and no mud, or high water, before it starts snowing again, but I digress. This is a beautiful and amazing route, with gradual inclines until you get near High Lonesome, at which point it gets a tad steep. Once you're up top, there's a shoe-sized narrow single track trail through the tundra, and it's hard to believe they have a guy up there mowing the lawn but it looks like a giant putting green. I saw two marmots and a dude who was hiking the CT from Mexico and smelled like a garbage can. Okay but here's your warning. There's some exposure and snow over some rocks once you get to the beginning of the Devil's Thumb trail (don't try to sled down it you fool!). I used my hands to arrest any potential fall but it was a bit steep and scary. At the rocks just scramble down and you'll see the trail again, it's kind of hidden. After that there's a lot of loose rock/tripping roots for the rest of the way, with several stream crossings. Unless you mastered the long jump, prepare to get your feet soaking wet. There's no way around it. Then there are a few sections where there is friction-less mud, so watch your footing. Also there are spots where plants have overgrown the trail and disguise hazards, but that's their way of playing a trick on you! Anyway, it took me around 4 hours with stops etc because I took a bunch of pictures. I'd post them but it would spoil the beauty for you, so take your own pictures. Also the wildflowers are awesome right now.

walking
17 days ago

Beautiful hike! A lot of loose rock along the trail so don’t let the moderate classification fool you!

7.1.2018 - Two day backpacking trip on the Devil's Thumb trail with a detour to Bob and Betty Lakes. Virtually no snow encountered but the winds were strong above treeline. Bonus: Fabulous flowers everywhere!

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