Explore Colorado - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Colorado Map

Went Aug 12-13th and stayed at campsite 17. Absolutely a beautiful trail from start to finish. Ran into 2 small groups of hikers on the trail which was amazing. Made you feel like you were the only people on the trail. Plenty of alone time. The hot springs itself was crowded at night...kind of annoying, but the people were nice....the morning however was very quiet and peaceful. We only stayed one night and I don’t think that was enough. I would have liked a full day of relaxing at the hot springs instead of feeling rushed to do the 9 mile hike back to the car. Campsite 17 is about a 20 min hike up to the springs FYI. I heard some negative reviews about the hot springs being dirty and It wasn’t at all. I think the new permit system has really helped cut down on the over crowding. Please be respectful of this beautiful gem! Pack in and pack out!

Over 7 miles to first camp site.
Springs not marked

Awesome! Incredible views. We camped in the Boulder fields. We booked months in advance, heads up! Morning hikers will wake you (we had some bozos playing music at 4AM hiking through camp, LNT is more than picking up garbage). Watch out for slick rocks if it rains. There were multiple water sources available. It is a popular trail. Be careful and follow the trail markers.

My entire body feels like I got hit by a truck. Type 3 fun for sure. Make sure you know what you’re getting into before beginning your trek, though it’s really not as sketchy as others say it is, just be aware.

The hike to the lake doesn’t have many views as it’s through the thick forest, but the views at the lake were beautiful and definitely worth it! We did see a moose, doggos got to tromp in a few inches of the lake and the area is very relaxing. We got there about 8:30am and only saw one other group until we began our descent.

This trail was amazing. I went two nights 8/6-7. I suggest going two nights. Spending a whole day just relaxing is worth it.

I went up solo. It took Me quite a while to make it up. Start early and take breaks as needed. It’s not a race. The altitude was pretty rough for me. The trail is pretty rocky so bring solid foot wear. Also many parts of the trail are through thick brush. Long sleeves will save some scratches. On the way back down by the ponds past the creek ford I encountered moose. But I came up on the with no coverage or protection. The bull was chill enough that I could back off slowly and not spook it, but easily could have been bad. Be mindful out there.

The people up there were all great. Just a group of strangers all there to relax and enjoy the hot springs. Everyone was there for a great time. Don’t be uptight cause there will be drinking, probably nudity and a few were smoking pot.

I would suggest bringing foot wear you can wear in the spring. It’s great but the bottom and edges are super rocky. It’s very painful getting in and out. Sunscreen and bug spray cause flys and mosquitoes were all over me. Also don’t skimp on cold weather stuff. The days were very nice, but even early August as soon as the sun sets behind the mountains it got VERY cold.

Amazing climb, I’m 61 years old, have been doing CrossFit for three years and still got my butt kicked by this hike. This was one of the most exhilarating and foolish things I’ve done in my life (but truly rewarding). The weather was perfect. Don’t forget when you get down, you still have a six mile hike back to the car! Acclimate for a week, we went up after just 48 hours in Estes. Call me crazy, but I would do it again!

8 days ago

Standard Keyhole Route

I did this Wednesday, 8/8/18, from the Longs Peak Trailhead. I arrived in the lot around 2:20am and started at 2:31. There were probably 8 parking spots left.

As others have said, it's a pretty straightforward hike on a well maintained trail to the Boulderfield. Once to the Boulderfield (about 5am) I stopped to use the privy (two there, looked like they were building two more). The Boulderfield is well marked with cairns - even in dawn lighting conditions I was able to see cairns. I joined a handful of others in the lighting shelter atop the Boulderfield to wait on a little more light (and eat, change layers from jacket to vest).

I went through the Keyhole around 6am. It's where the real work starts. But seriously. It's no joke beyond the Keyhole - the hard work and sketchy-ness is just beginning. And it's both hard and sketchy. About the sketch aspect of Longs...listen to yourself - if you're too scared, turn around! But I was able to summit because I mentally focused on the next immediate challenge rather than the 100x challenges beyond (some of which you can see). I think people pysch themselves out by getting overwhelmed by all the impending difficulties.

I summited around 8:15am, spent about 15 minutes at summit, and was back to my car at 12:40pm-ish.

A few extra notes/thoughts:
-Per my GAIA GPS app: 13.93 miles, 10:06 total time, 4,871' ascent
-This is NOT a hike! It's not a good first 14er or one to take lightly. I'm serious - a slight mistake after the Keyhole can seriously injure or kill you (or someone else).
-Water. I drink a lot of water and went through 3.5 liters on ascent. I filtered water in the Boulderfield on the descent.
-Helmet. I'd estimate 90% of people don't wear one. I didn't (because I don't own one) but I'm not gonna lie - I wish I would've had one. Falling rocks/boulders would've just been one less worry in the Trough.
-Do others around you in the Trough a solid. If you cause a rock/boulder to come loose yell "rock" so those below you can be aware.
-I was glad to have a pair of light jogger type gloves for after the Keyhole. It's a little chilly in the shade but the rocks are cold and you'll be using your hands a lot!

Lots of flowers on the hike and a cool lake at the end. In my opinion it was a 4 star hike because it was not the coolest lake and it was a long hike through the forest, with minimal views, to get there. We were also disappointed, as another reviewer pointed out, that there was no real discernable trail that actually went around the lake. To get down to the lake we had to walk down one of the rocky stream beds on the far side of the lake. First two miles of the trail are wide and very easy, the past 3 and a half are more uphill and rocky but not difficult. I carried a 3 year old and my 8 year old son had no problems either. The only real challenging part were a couple of stream crossings on some logs that were wet, from the rain that was falling, and very slippery. Carrying my daughter I actually elected to walk through the water instead of risk falling off of the first one.

Absolutely beautiful hike! Flowers/colors are amazing! We hiked in on 8/3 for 1 night.
Took us about 5 hours to get to the first camp site #19 and at least 30 minutes more to get to site #4 (our site). The hike from #19 to #4 may have been the most difficult part of the hike. We saw 3 moose, a few deer and a far off bear sunning itself in a rock near silver dollar lake! Rangers stopped us on our way and asked to see our permit, ID and bear canister. The springs were spectacular and surprisingly uncrowded. Took us 3.5 hours to hike out.

Long hike, challenging climb after the keyhole. The trail
was well-maintained, the weather was (almost) perfect!

One of the most beautiful trails in Colorado! The Wild flowers were in full bloom. We came across a huge bull moose at the lake. Please keep your dogs on leash if you take them. One not very thoughtful hiker let her dog run wild at the moose and ended the enjoyment for each the moose and people.

Did this hike a few years ago. Totally worth it!

great views :) good place to hike

12 days ago

Best and most exhausting trek of my life. Can’t wait to get back!

Just wow!!

17 days ago

If I were to do this hike again, I’d definitely backpack to the keyhole on night 1 and then summit the next day. Hiking 15 miles with 5100 ft gain was incredibly taxing physically and mentally; my hiking partner and I took 18.5 hours RT (including at least about 2ish hours of break and napping) due to lack of sleep and bouts of altitude sickness. The first 5.5 miles weren’t bad but once we got to the boulder field everything became significantly harder. My least favorite part of the hike was ascending/descending 600 ft up the trough, which was incredibly steep with loose rocks and very large boulders. We got through the narrows fairly quickly but it was definitely a bit sketchy at some parts, so do be careful here. The homestretch is steeper than the trough but much shorter and isn’t nearly as loose. The hike wasn’t enjoyable for my body in the slightest but the views of the mountains past the keyhole and at the summit were absolutely beautiful and spectacular. Very tough hike that I probably will not do again until next season (and will probably try backpacking next time).

18 days ago

Wow that rock gully is tough, but what a great summit to relax on when you finish. Started at 3am, finished 12:15pm, 20 minutes at the top.

Thanks to the reviews on this app we chose this trail for the one day we had available on a long road trip from Texas to Montana. We were not disappointed. I’m 57 and healthy but no hiking experience. My son-in-law is the opposite- a life full of hiking some epic places in the US. And his 3-1/2 year old son who is pretty tough and not pampered and loves to explore. The falls are long and low and stretch along the trail. No epic 100 ft tall water falls here. I was in heaven. This was strenuous for me - I had to stop to catch my breath every so often due to the altitude. We live on the coast and this gets up to almost 10,000 ft. I loved it. We made it to Mill Lake which sits at the base of towering mountain peaks - what an epic setting. We continued on animal trails (just to make it more adventurous for my grandson) to Jewel Lake just beyond Mill Lake. Beautiful. We climbed giant granite boulders, walked in the water across a narrow portion on Jewel Lake, had birds eating crumbs out of our hand, saw a marmot or weasel, and just enjoyed God’s amazing creation. We arrived at 5:25 a.m. to avoid the crowds and I strongly recommend this. It was so busy on the way back, it just wouldn’t have been the same journey if all those people had been with us. Amazing I took soooo many pictures.

A bucket list climb that did not disappoint!

We loved this hike. from 54 to 12 years old we all enjoyed every step, every stream crossing and especially the wild flowers. Wow! The lake was well worth the trip. Bring bug spray for the first two miles. We were hoping to see wildlife but saw none. So glad we did this hike. It is on my top 5 list!

27 days ago

We had a great day on Longs today. Started 2am, summited at 7:10am, arrived back to the car at 11:40. I drank all 3 liters of water I packed, and was glad my partner had a water purifier. Note that in addition to the restrooms at the trailhead, there are two more chances to visit the privy on the trail (at Chasm Junction and the Boulder Field). Bring your own toilet paper, just in case.

One of the most beautiful and rewarding hikes I have done!! The only annoyances were the mosquitos/flies and the final 2 mile uphill (especially since we were in campsite 11). I found the whole area to be very clean and peaceful. Although all sites were booked on the website, we found that less than half were actually occupied on the Wednesday and Thursdays nights we stayed. I would consider this a MUST do hike if you can physically do the mileage with backpack.


1 month ago

One of my favorite 14ers to date. Summited July 1st on a blue sky day. Healthy winds brought down the temperature for the start of July, but no a cloud in sight. Trail was dry all the way up.

1 month ago

I hiked to Jim’s Grove on my first day and camped for the night. I then woke up sometime in the wee hours of the morning to get to the summit. The weather was perfect and the trail was actually minimally trafficked. This was my first solo hike and 14er. That being said, it was the most challenging hike I have done. Make sure to bring a water filter and all of your endurance. The scrambling portion is no joke and it lasts quite a long time. Kudos to those who do this peak all in one day.

Started at 11am and made it to Blue Lake in 2.5 hours. This trail is through a wooded forest which provided shade and a comfortable hike. The wild flowers were the stars of this trek and when we continued beyond Blue Lake we were treated to sweeping vistas of snow capped mountains! It never gets old! We continued to West Branch trail and felt amazing after our 13 mile hike! This did require 2 vehicles parked at each trailhead.

Completed this trail on 7/7

This was an amazing trail! The mileage here is a little off. My garmin watch calculated it around 9.25 miles each way(18.5 round trip). The trail takes you through several different landscapes which adds a lot of great visuals for the hike. It is about 7 miles to the ford crossing which you will need to either take off your boots totally or switch to other footwear to cross without significant water intake. The final 2 miles are very tough and up hill. A full pack certainly makes it more difficult. Once at the hot springs, it was a great relief. With the new permitting system, our stay had about half the sites occupied. Some of the grounds were on a slant which made sleeping not ideal but some of the spots were perfect and flat. We watched the sun set in the hot springs and called it a night.

Make sure to bring bug spray, your bear canister, and human waste bags! The rangers are on the lookout for folks not bringing the bear canister as their reports say the activity is high in the area.

Also, be mindful of when you stop and rest. A moose came out of the trees and there wasn't much for cover besides a rock and a very thin tree. Luckily it saw us and kept walking.

This trail was absolutely beautiful! The hot springs at the top are completely worth it.

The trail leads through several valleys, fields of wild flowers and refreshing river crossings! My boyfriend and I reached the hot springs at about 4 hours (moving time), by keeping a good pace with the bags on. The last stretch was a little bit of a false hope due to seeing signs for the campsites, then ended up trekking about another mile to our site. The last stretch is all up hill. We ended up doing 9.1 miles to the hot springs.

1 month ago

Amazing hike! You mostly hike through lush green forest. There are many varieties of wildflowers. The hike is mostly easy, but there are a few stream crossings and mud. I suggest you bring some form of mosquito repellent. The first part of the trail was loaded with mosquitos you just have to keep moving. The lake is so beautiful and worth every mile!

Load More