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Other reviews capture this quintiessential Colorado hike. Majestic views, turquoise lake, rewarding hike.

Please note, this is a review for doing this route counter-clockwise, so doing Little Brown's Creek trail on the north side first. I did this loop as a day hike.

If you're doing this as a day hike, I would definitely recommend approaching it counter-clockwise, as the uphill on Little Brown's Creek Trail was gradual and well maintained. By comparison, County Road 278 and Brown's Creek Trail were much rockier and, as difficult as they were to go down, I can't imagine walking up it. I would recommend hiking poles for this one.

On the way going uphill on Little Brown's Creek trail, the trail eventually appears to simply end (above treeline), which is presumably where this route, and where we, walked over to 278. Once near the top of Mount White, you will notice that this trail veers out to the Northwest, instead of hugging around the mountain and going southwest. Essentially, you're scooping a very wide loop, which feels unintuitive at first, but it is the only way to do it.

Please note, once we got back to the intersection of Brown's Creek Trail and the Colorado Trail section (toward the end of our hike), there was a sign that pointed to "Wagon Wheel Loop Trail." Do not follow this, as it leads to the Wagon Wheel Trailhead, NOT the Brown's Creek trailhead. Instead, follow the Colorado Trail north for the short jaunt, as this trail guide indicates, and exit onto the wagon loop trail at the second sign, which is the same sign you would have seen in the morning.

If you're looking for camping, there were good spots around the lake and especially a bit higher in elevation from the lake. Didn't see a lot of spots in general though, especially on little browns creek trail.

This is a really long hike, my legs hurt, but it's really pretty. I wouldn't attempt this unless you've at least done some solid 12+ mile hikes with some solid elevation gain. Bring a hat, gloves, thermal and something to protect your legs, as it is very windy at the top, and we caught some freezing rain. Definitely a nice hike, the lake is beautiful, and I didn't see a ton of traffic. Only giving it 4 starts because of the loose, rocky trail on Brown's Creek Trail and 278.

Had noooooo idea what I was getting myself into. Just decided that I was going to take the Lakes Of The Clouds trail and it was definitely challenging. But the view was beyond amazing.

hiking
1 day ago

fun hike! we only made it as far as lower blue lake due to some issues with the altitude, but it was gorgeous nonetheless! the trail opens up to some beautiful meadows along the way and once you hit a space suitable for camping you have arrived at lower blue lake. would love to go back and make this a two day trip. the road out there is easy to maneuver and it definitely gets crowded pretty early. highly suggest this hike!

I'm giving this a 4 because there is no way this trail is 8 miles long. at the very least, it's 6 miles one way. there are two points where you are losing all of the elevation you've gained, just to have to go and regain it again. bring more water than you think you need.

also, the map posted on all trails is not real. it's not a straight path

hiking
2 days ago

Beautiful views, but the trails needs work. Coming down after the summit is really difficult and would be easier with smaller steps. Avoid summitting and leaving same day - the trails will not be favourable conditions.

hiking
5 days ago

Beautiful scenery the entire walk and quite spectacular at the top. Considering the low mileage the solitude at the top was surprising.

Gorgeous views and well maintained trail. Super popular too and pretty easy for a fourteener. You need a high clearance 4wd vehicle to get to the trailhead unless you want to add about 6 miles to the hike.

hiking
6 days ago

Lovely trail that follows rushing water up a canyon with nice aspen stands. There were a few mountain bikers on the trail when we were hiking it, but it seems a little dicey to hike if there are dirt bikers riding it. The listing has since been updated, but it used to say it was under 4 miles out and back. The trail actually goes almost 8 miles until it hits the continental divide/monarch pass trail. Wrote All Trails support after bumping into a lady at the trail head who looked concerned and said her kids were hiking on it way longer than she had expected. All trails quickly updated it to the full 13.5mi total out and back that it should be if you take it all the way to the CDT. Thanks AllTrails support! :)

hiking
6 days ago

Very cool hike! We did the day hike to Lower, Middle, Upper Blue Lakes and to the Sneffels pass. I recommend camping at the trailhead for an early start. The lower lake is beautiful (it's better than the other two) but pretty full of campers. The best view is from near the middle lake looking down on the lower lake. The path can be hard to find going from lower to middle. The trail from upper lake to the pass was narrow and steep and did get boring, so you could definitely skip this and you wouldn't be missing out. The hike is quite steep in beginning sections, so it gets real old on the way back down (we saw two people who appeared to have twisted ankles from sliding or falling in these sections... both of whom were hiking in tevas, so do with that what you will).

This hike was stunning. It was a pretty quick one, it took us two hours to get to the top. The trail itself was easy and well maintained, the hard rating is due to the near constant elevation gain.

backpacking
8 days ago

My SO and I planned to do this loop over 2 nights but were cut short due to weather. We hiked up to venable lake, it was 6.5-7 miles. The aspen groves were beautiful and the view before making the final climb amazing. The lake area was open and rocky, but good for setting up a tent. Unfortunately we got all settled in and the predicted light rain turned into a pretty bad storm and we had to throw everything in our packs and make a run for the trailhead. I’ll definitely be back to finish the loop another time.

Beautiful hike.

on Cathedral Lake Trail

hiking
11 days ago

The hardest part is the last stretch before you top out to reach the lake, so be prepared for that. The switchbacks are very steep and in the sun. There were a LOT of gnats around the lake but the views were beautiful.

We started at 8am and the trail was pretty unpopulated. We ran into a LOT of people making their way up as we came down, including people blasting music from their phones (please do not blast music on trails).

Gorgeous views.

backpacking
12 days ago

Went backpacking up the Venable part of the loop in a group of four of us over the weekend. We measured it as a 7 mile hike from the lot to the largest Venable Lake on a Fitbit and an Apple Watch, which is different that the map. I am new to utilizing the app so not sure what happened but it took us by surprise as the sign notes that the hike to Venable Lakes is 4.75 miles. The last section to the largest lake was very challenging with significant elevation gain. It is straight up the side of the hill/mountain to a small plateau. There is a great camp site near the first lakes. The hike itself is very beautiful, with wildflowers and groves of aspen. The views are incredible as you can see across the valley to the Wet Mountains in several spots. Most of the hike was in the forest until the last section. We camped just off the trail near the largest lake. The fishing was incredible. There are some big cutthroats in that lake and each of us caught at least one. The trail is very rocky and coming down was more of a challenge and it was hard on the feet. I didn't notice it as much on the hike up. Perhaps a recent washout with the storm that blew through. We were visited by a few deer bucks at our camp site each night. They were very tame and curious and were content to be 30 yards away and watch us cook dinner.

horseback riding
13 days ago

I love the Rainbow Trail; it doesn't get any better for me! Swift Trail up to the Lakes is steep and rocky but the beauty at the end is worth every step!

The shoreline of the lower lake alone is worth the effort.

backpacking
13 days ago

Great hike and beautiful views.

We did the hike late in the day (started around 17.30). It took us about 1.5 hours to go up and left us not enough time to make it all the way to the upper lake (going down last mile we had to use flashlights - its getting quite dark there in the trees in between two mountain ranges), but that feeling of being the last ones going up, resting in the quiet serenity of the lake and going down all alone was precious. The hike - smells, birds, wildberries. streams, gorgeous waterfall - everything is so good..

This hike was strenuous but definitely worth it. The views were amazing the entire hike!

One of the prettiest 14er climbs I’ve done. Really amazing views. One of the best maintained 14er trails I’ve seen too, bottom to top. As always, get started early. See too many folks starting too late in the day when afternoon lightning is a danger. Definitely need good clearance 4x4 to get to upper trailhead. Recommend camping in the plentiful dispersed campsites along the road to trail. Magnificent outdoors experiences.

hiking
15 days ago

Great Hike! Start early and go to the upper lakes! The view down to the lower lake is amazing!

Challenging, but totally worth it. It was a steady uphill with some switchbacks to start, followed by some serious rock navigation. The toughest part was the switchbacks up the mountainside around mile 2. Poles would be handy. the lake was gorgeous and peaceful.

My first 14er and it was tough but rewarding. Hiked it with my dad and we both loved it. Switch backs seemed never ending on the way down. Beautiful views all the way up and the summit is so rewarding!

steep hike for the first 30/45 minutes but overall not a difficult hike, lower lake is absolutely gorgeous!

Wonderful hike but it was tough for us two 50-something flatlanders with only one day acclimating. Loved lake.

My best friend and I did this hike yesterday around 1:45 pm. We aren’t the best hikers but made it to the lakes around 4. The first few miles were pretty tough due to lots of rough uphill hiking. That lasted a pretty good chunk of the hike there. My legs and body did not hurt it was the breathing that got to us. Bring an inhaler or something if you have trouble breathing especially if you’re not from around here!! Altitude is real y’all. Bring tons and tons of water. You can honestly never have too much. The waterfalls, nature, and paths were so beautiful. When we finally made it we had a picnic and enjoyed the few for a few hours. Don’t get discouraged about the hike down! It only took us an hour and a half and it was a breeze!!! Enjoy this hike. It meant a lot to me :)

Hard but really rewarding with beautiful vast views and the lake at as a nice reward at the end. Difficult and moderate parts with beautiful waterfalls and wildflowers. Looking forward to doing it again. A fun hike with friends.

Gorgeous. Unfortunately the fire nearby hazed our views! We’ll do this again. Didn’t think it was terribly difficult. We went to the 2nd lake and came back. Start early because the masses love this trail too!

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