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Fun hike with my teenagers. Packed down good but should have some fresh snow here real soon.

12 hours ago

Easy, snow packed trail. We did this with some friends and they did not use traction on the way up. (We had microspikes). We got here at 8am and had parking, but when we returned at 10am everything was full. The elevation gain was spread out pretty evenly, with the most steep sections at the last half mile.

Snow shoe or ski in. Otherwise you post hole. Busier than I wanted it yesterday morning. Trail condition is great. Mostly established main trails.. Packed snow on trails until you start climbing the last steep 1000 feet then it’s deep snow country and would be difficult without a reliable flotation devise (snowshoe or ski) The first lake we run into was frozen. To ski or snow shoe? If you ski here you glide. You snowshoe? Hard work = great toned legs! :) either way this place is relatively close to DENVER and offers amazing views and tons of photo ops with other like minded humans. And its as cliche as the saying “it‘s worth it”! Happy trails!

Completed this trail on 1/20/19 and the views did NOT disappoint. We used snowshoes the whole way which was great, def recommend them or at least spikes. The beginning was crowded, congested, and narrow. You are very close to the edge that plummets. Once we got past that section we separated from the crowds and it was really peaceful. Views were amazing. Pup had a great time too! Beautiful day! Took us about 3 hours with multiple stops along the way.

Great snow, great trail! Snowshoed up to the lower lake this morning. Started at about 9:30, done by 1:30. Definitely need snowshoes as we were breaking trail in tons of powder up by the lake. Also, snow is great all the way from the trailhead, so best to wear your snowshoes or skins/skis to keep the snow pack as smooth as possible for others.

Did this one today and this is the second time I’ve done this trail, but first time with snow shoes. It’s one of my favorite trails, but it was sketchy using the snow shoes on the part where the trail is narrow with a little bit of exposure. I fell on my face getting my shoes caught up with one another and thought I was going to fly over the edge and roll away but I managed to save myself lol. Be careful near the beginning and then coming back with that! But it was awesome today. Super windy out by echo lake and then by the reservoir, but other than that, the trees kept the wind from freezing us the majority of the time.

Also both times I’ve done this in the summer and today, we got out to the trailhead by 7/730 am and that’s the best time to go to avoid the crowds.

did this yesterday (1/20) it was beautiful but so windy and cold at the top. I used my snowshoes up and spikes on the way down. the trail is packed enough that spikes and poles would be fine the whole way. great trail with nice views!

2 days ago

Nice, easy snowshoeing hike. We took our time and it was about 2 hours. If you're in a rush and in shape, 1 hour is definitely possible.

There were a few people out there, but most were in Meetups and condensed to a few large groups that easily separated and allowed for some private hiking. There is a slight elevation change but doable for people of almost any fitness level and skill.

60% of the hike did not need snowshoes, about 2 days after 6" fell. Trail was pretty condensed. 40% of it, though, I was glad to have shoes. You can get away with spikes for the whole thing.

Lots of dogs on leash.

Note: The parking fills up early. We arrived at 8:45 and it was half full. When we finished by 11:00 there were cars circling waiting for spots to open up.

Garmin: https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/3317309643

Did this today, 1/20! Entire trail is snow packed, barely any ice. Really great Sunday hike, about 2 hours to the reservoir and back (does not really loop). When you start there is a bit of the hike with a sharp drop off but that will end, turn into a regular trail through the trees and then a 1 mi climb packed down snowy path to the reservoir which is beautiful. You can keep going around the reservoir, but I did not have snow shoes or spikes so after taking a million amazing pics turned and went back. Snowshoes/poles would be great but I did this with no problem with just hiking shoes and a 5 month puppy who loved it. It does not really loop, it's more out and back. Can't wait to try this again in the summer! I went around 8am and by the time I was coming back, lots more people were starting, so I'd recommend getting there early for less people.

If the parking lot is windy, don't worry. There is great tree cover all the way up to the lakes. The first mile is packed snow, but you can still wear your snowshoes. You will need them. The last mile is a steep climb up and traction is crucial. I continued to the upper lake and followed someone's else's tracks. Snow was knee deep - fun! Took me 3.25 hours RT.

3 days ago

Completed on 1/19 morning...snow is packed for the first mile then becomes a mix towards the top. We completed this just in our hiking boots but fell into the snow quite a bit at the top. Spikes, snowshoes, or poles would have been extremely helpful towards the top/summit. Extremely windy/cold at the top, if you can find cover behind a rock you will get great views of Mt Evans.

Did this hike in the beginning of fall. Aspens were starting to peak and it was absolutely gorgeous!! Would do this hike again in any season, it’s awesome. Very dog friendly and the trail is thin so if your dog isn’t quite friendly, be wary of passing dogs. The only thing that turned me off was the amount of dog poop bags along the trail. Pick up your dogs poop!! It’s stupid to just pick up your dogs poop and leave it in a bag as trash, id rather you not even pick it up. Lastly, it’s off roading to get to the trail head and parking fills up fast, so get there early. Awesome hike!

8 days ago

Beautiful trail, outside of RMNP gates. First visit 1/13/19 - snow on most of the trail, well packed and well traveled. Sunny skies and warm rocks to relax on. I left my snowshoes in the car - a few slippery spots where crampons would be helpful but not bad. Lake frozen solid. Well maintained trail allowed for trail running on the way down.

Made it to the lower crater lakes. Started at 9am and was back at the parking lot by 12:30pm. The last mile is a good upwards climb. Snowshoes only needed up top when you're exploring the lakes. I had crampons on otherwise.

8 days ago

Great views along the way.

Snowshoed 1/12/19. Tracks were easy to follow. Fairly gradual for the first couple of miles. The last mile is pretty steep so be prepared for a climb

8 days ago

Great hike with beautiful views along the way. Steady increase the entire way up. There were all ages and levels of experience doing this hike. As others have mentioned, a few slick spots but I was able to get up and down easily without microspikes.

8 days ago

We were there on 1/9. The trail had some slick spots but we were able to conquer it without microspikes and they probably aren’t needed since most of the trail was dry. The lake was frozen over and absolutely beautiful. Due to the government shut down, the garbage cans at the trailhead had a bag taped over them. The bathrooms were also closed. There is an outhouse near the top, be sure to bring some toilet paper with you!

Made it to the upper lake on snowshoes! Lots of people on skis up to the lower lakes, but I'm not sure it would be possible for most to make it to upper lake on skis - very steep! You'll need one or the other to make it to the first lakes, started postholing about half a mile from them.

Started around 8:30, got back to the car around 4, with lots of breaks and trail breaking and route finding slowing us down. Absolutely worth the effort! So beautiful.

9 days ago

Hiked at sunset on the 13th, used lights, spikes and pole for safety on the last third due to recent snow. Steady climb all the way with frequent 10-15" step ups, although the trail is well maintained and traversed. It was a cool down hike from a great week for some perfect overlooks on the way up as the Sun set over Estes Park. We went ahead and completed the hike after pictures heading up and the lake was frozen solid as usual. Did some handstands, and headed down. Great cardio hike any day.

Wow for sure the best snowshoe I've done so far in Colorado. This trail was magical in the snow! Even the drive there was delightful. It can be hard to tell which tracks to follow, but if you keep following the signs for the trail you'll get to the lake eventually! If you go up a little beyond the lake it is heckin steep but the views are stunning and majestic this trail was the best.

perfect quick hike, and the views were great! microspikes were very helpful, and it is pretty windy at the top so bundle up!

14 days ago

Completed this hike on 1/6/2018 and it was the perfect mid afternoon hike. Not too hard, not too easy in some parts but overall, one of the best day hikes close to the Denver area. The first mile or so will require spikes/yaktrax just to help with the slipping of the snow but the last half mile is not covered and does not require traction. It is always windy at the top so if you plan on spending time up there this time of year, go prepared with some layers. Had an excellent view of the sun setting above Mt. Evans and it probably got better as it continued to set. Parking was easy as there was a lot of it in the designated pull off.

nice hike, mostly dry on 1/6.

14 days ago

My first hike in Co. Easy trail and beautiful views! Fairly marked trail, not too much traffic too. Great place for pets too

snowshoed this trail 1/6/2019

beginning of trail needed just our micro spikes, transitioned to snowshoes a couple miles in. For a Sunday not busy at all..we arrived around 10am...plenty of parking. HIGHLY recommend some sort of GPS device...as you can follow 1 wrong set of snowshoe prints and add an extra mile (which made it waaaaay harder). we only went to the lower lakes as we were cold by that point. we plan on returning in the summer!

I'd recommend snowshoes. I had Yaktrax and they worked fine for the first mile, then snow got deeper. Trail signage is not the best - bear hard right for Chicago Lakes trail, the sign is easy to miss. Lots of REI snowshoe tours on the weekend with big groups of people since RMNP is closed. Nice wind break from the trees along the trail.

15 days ago

This is currently open but the parking lot bathrooms are closed due to the government shutdown. There is an outhouse 3/4's the way up. It's uphill the entire way to the lake, there were all ages and abilities making it to the top. Most of the trail was dry/dirt but there were sections that had snow and crampons/spikes were not needed up or the way down. Made it the top in an hour.

Nice hike, well marked trail for the most part, beautiful views at the top. doesn't take more than a couple hours to complete the full trip!

16 days ago

Hiked the trail 1/5/19 with spikes. All the way to the lake, the snow on the trail is packed down and snowshoes aren't really necessary unless you want to hike off trail or maybe you're hiking the day after a snowfall. We hiked a little of the Devils Thumb trail from the junction of the Kings Lake trail and snowshoes would be handy there.

Parking is along the side of the road up to and just below the junction of Hessie Road and the 4th of July Road (which are closed). On a weekend day, get there by 8 am or earlier to avoid crowds and parking. We were done around 10:30 am and from the beginning of signage for roadside parking to the junction it was lined with cars, with still more people coming up and trying to find a park spot.

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