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Loved it!!!

better go before more snow comes, only me and 2 other hikers were on the trail, and they luckily marked the way with their feet. Awesome views all around. Bring snow chains if in a small vehicle, I passed a sedan that slid into a ditch in my Nissan Sentra, i had no issue with chains on my tires. snow is about 6 inches at TH, more at the top, very quiet and a nice getaway

snowshoeing
4 days ago

Well kept easy trail to hike or snowshoe

This trail was an awesome, snowy workout. I could potentially rate it a 5 after another visit, but with the sky dumping buckets of snow there was just no view, so I couldn’t get the whole picture. The snow sure made for its own beautiful spectacle, though, 6-8+ inches on the ground and snowing during the whole hike. We worked counterclockwise, and parts of the ascent were a bit slippery and tricky in the snow. The decent was very gradual and easy breezy, quite picturesque. We saw maybe 15 people during the 2 hours, 45 minutes it took us, which is unusual for this normally very popular spot. All in all, the views may have been nonexistent in the snowstorm, but it’s definitely worth it for a great workout and general good time.

Really pleasant lake. Only thing is you can park right next to hit so there's no hiking needed to arrive at the destinations. None the less, super beautiful!

Well marked and great views at the top!

trail running
9 days ago

First time on this trail this afternoon. Nice trail, a few mildly interesting spots and a bit of a view right before the falls. Even without any mind blowing highlights, there is pretty complete immersion in nature. Was a bit icy in spots... I didn’t have any traction devices and my dog and I were just fine, but bring some kind of spikes if you aren’t comfortable on ice. There are still plenty of decent foot placements that aren’t solid ice if your eyes are open, but I’m sure many would appreciate spikes. I’m wondering how this’ll be in late winter/spring though... yikes!

Some mention they recorded the trail as longer than 6.3 miles, but my gps recorded it at 6.2 miles, 1440 ft of ascent, and it didn’t feel any longer than that to me.

3 couples hiked it together in November 1st , there were several inches of snow on the ground and it was snowing the most big lovely flakes . The sun was peaking through and shinning off the water . How could I not give it a 5 star review ? Easy access , nice beautiful easy hike . We loved it !

Very challenging hike, especially with 6+ inches of snow on the ground. With all the snow, trails aren’t marked that well, just follow everyone else’s footprints and hope they go in the right direction. Great views on top of Horsethief and Pancake. Overall for me was 8 mile round trip.

hiking
13 days ago

East trailhead Castle Trail up long switchbacks to Walker Ruins & Summer White Hse (great views west!) return Down Turkey Trot Trail north facing sections icey slush. 8am start, not too crowded mid week.Windy, layer up, gloves & ears. CMCDan,Nov 2 ,2018.

Beautiful trail, especially in the snow!

Beautiful roundtrip of Bear Lake. It was a snowy day so not many people on the trail, but it looks like it could be very crowded.

Hiked 10/29/2018 Castle Trail up to the Presidents Summer House. Beautiful views. Not too busy. Perfect weather and views. Easy to moderate. Great trail while acclimating to the altitude.

This trail was definitely hard! It is uphill the whole way up and continues to get steeper as you reach the top. The views are absolutely amazing. It got extremely cold and windy towards the last stretch of the trail so wear warm clothes! I would also recommend hiking boots and poles. There are some parts with gravel that were slippery. There was some snow up there but not a lot. Would definitely do it again!

Steep uphill climb for the first half if you're coming form Morrison, but lots of switchbacks makes it easy. Once you're at the top, you'll get an awesome view of Denver and Red Rocks. We also saw tons of wildlife. Lots of options for castle and trail exploring, too. Really good place to take someone new to hiking or visiting the area because you can stay up there for hours or come down if they're not feelin' it. Get ice cream in Morrison after!

Beautiful but definitely a challenge. If you are visiting, bring water and be prepared for climbing up on rocks. Waterfall was lovely even though it’s not a lot of water. But considering it hasn’t rained, it was such a treat to hear any water. Loved it.

hiking
22 days ago

Pretty easy loop around a beautiful lake. We found parking pretty easily. Part of the trail was packed snow/ice and very slippery. Enjoyed this loop on a beautiful day.

For beauty, challenge, trail head access I give it 5 stars. For speeding, inconsiderate and sometimes dangerous mountain bikers I give it a zero. Especially if you bring your dogs please watch for bikers.

Easy trail around a beautiful lake. Steep in some sections but only for short distances. In late October the trail on the north side of the lake was clear to wet. The trail on the south side (no sun) was snow packed and icy. Slippery. Even in late October the parking lot was half full.

Well marked, well maintained trails. Some nice views and interesting ruins. A lot of side trails near the top, so you can make it a bit longer. Not too much elevation gain; kind of a mild trail. Not crowded this morning (Tuesday).

hiking
26 days ago

great little hike. the snow was so packed it was pretty treacherous! I slid down the ice more than a few times. still completely worth it! too bad there's no fishing in the lake :P. the trail was pretty packed with other hikers but that made it easier to take our time.

hiking
27 days ago

If you're looking for an easy hike, this isn't it. Almost the entire way to the falls is uphill & there are several parts of the trail that are narrow (1 person wide). It is doable for beginners, but it will be pretty difficult. Tread carefully & watch your step. Wear good hiking shoes if you plan on going to the top. Bring some snacks like Clif bars & plenty of water/Gatorade.

Beautiful views of nature throughout the hike (especially when you get higher up), and it wasn't overpopulated like a lot of touristy places are. You will be immersed in nature. We noticed a bunch of small Brook Trout swimming in the stream that leads up to the falls, which was the only sign of wildlife we saw on our trek. Once you get to St. Mary's Falls, there will be a waterfall on a steep slab rock. I wouldn't say it is "magnificent", but it's still quite pretty. There are some rock stairs that lead you up to a sitting area of log benches and a better position to look at the falls. Our group went in mid-October, so it was significantly colder when we reached the top. The temperature when we got to the parking lot was high 60's, but when we reached St. Mary's Falls there was snow on the ground! If you go later in the year, bring a sweatshirt or jacket. When the sun went down behind the mountains, it also got significantly cooler.

One thing we did notice is the trail is longer than 6.3 miles, which was mentioned by some other reviewers. There's a part on the trail with a sign that states the falls are 1.7 miles away, but it's actually closer to 2.4 miles away. We clocked the total hike (there & back) as over 7.5 miles. There might be some discrepancies between our mileage and other hikers' mileages, but regardless it's definitely longer than 6.3 miles.

Despite being in pain for a large portion of the hike, I enjoyed this hike overall & would do it again. (Next time I will bring better hiking shoes!)

In my opinion, this trail is a lot harder than moderate for a relatively “in shape” adult. It is a steady incline the entire way to D.P. with some very steep portions that are rock/gravel. Trail is relatively easy to follow.

Of course, the views along the way are priceless and 100% worth the journey. Approximately 8-9 miles round trip, depending how much wandering you do once at the top. We averaged around 1 hour per mile. We are from Illinois and the altitude had our lungs working pretty hard!

Overall 4/5. Would try again with better preparation.

This was a very nice trail with beautiful views at the top. We clocked it as closer to 6.7 to 6.9 miles. The last part is fairly steep. The water flow was low, but there was a bit of ice around the falls which made it very pretty. We did not encounter too many people on the actual trail up to the falls. Most turned off and went the Seven Bridges route.

Amazing hike! Very up hill, lots of stoping points.

Other reviews mention the trail isn’t well-marked, but it’s not terrible. I got a little lost, but I didn’t go far before realizing I needed to retrace my steps. Trail is fairly well-trodden.
Views at the top are absolutely amazing.
From car to car took me four hours, but I am still acclimating and it definitely slowed my pace. Will definitely be doing this one again!

Nice short stroll worth doing after you wear yourself out on the more challenging hikes in the area. Beautiful lake. The kids enjoyed running from marker to marker along the trail.

hiking
29 days ago

Nice warmup for the other trails at this trailhead. Easy walk around the lake, quite busy.

Simple, Easy, trail for anyone to do!
Peaceful views on the lake.

Loved the winter wonderland walk today, everything was snow covered. I'd recommend Microspikes for the boots, but you can easily do it without.

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