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hiking
27 days ago

Has some really neat rocks at the top and has great views. As far as I know, there's no trail from the saddle to the summit.

If you're looking for a challenging hike and some great exercise this is the hike for you! Unfortunately, when we reached the summit we had very limited visibility of the boulders - however, the hike as a whole was beautiful and there were a ton of yellow Aspens. The entire hike we only passed about 4 people total which also made this hike that much better.

Me and my two dogs hiked this today. We started at 8 AM and it took 2 1/2 hours to get up there. The hike was so beautiful I kept stopping to take pictures. This might have been the prettiest hike I’ve ever been on! I highly recommend this hike

Moderately difficult and strenuous trail with beautiful views. Upper Ice Lake was spectacularly blue and purple and well worth the hike. It took us 5.5 hours round trip with frequent photo op stops and about 40 minutes at Upper Ice Lake.

hiking
1 month ago

My two coworkers and I did this hike last Sunday (9/30), and it may have been one of the prettiest treks we have ever done!

It took us about 4 and 1/2 hours to complete this hike (including 30 minutes of leisure time at the Mill while having lunch/swimming) after driving up from Denver to Marble.

As everyone has stated in their previous reviews, the amount of Jeep/ATV traffic was a bit frustrating at times, but we didn't let that deter us from enjoying our perfect day!

The road up to the trailhead is unpaved, but if you have a vehicle with decently high clearance, you can eliminate about 0.6 miles of hiking (roundtrip) by parking in the area at the top of the hill.

This was a very moderate hike that runs along the Crystal River for the vast majority of the trek. The fall colors were in full bloom as well, which made this one of the most beautiful hikes to take in Colorado’s magnificent foliage.

Once you get the Mill, there is a $10 per person fee to go under the rope and view it from the water (which we did), but you can also view it from the roped off section on the road. I would highly suggest this option, as we had lunch on a rock next to the waterfall and I even jumped in to cool off!

All in all, this is one of the more rewarding hikes I have ever done in terms of scenery. The only reason I gave this trek 4 stars instead of 5 was the amount of traffic on the road. Would definitely return sometime during the week when the trail is a bit less congested. A must do for anyone in the area!

Recommend starting with island lake, then going to ice lake. Adds some mileage to the hike, but from island lake you're going mostly downhill to ice lake then to the trailhead, which was a relief after the tough climb. Couldn't get over the views!

Absolutely loved this hike. Beautiful views the whole way. Went in fall and the aspens were gorgeous beyond words! The hike itself isn’t super difficult but it is long and I recommend camping since it is about 8 miles in and 8 miles back. The hot springs at the end are one of the prettiest places I’ve ever been to, very serene and also super clean. We ended up hanging out there for over 4 hours because the water felt so nice and we also met some other cool people who had just done the hike. I will highly recommend this trail to anyone who is up for some camping!

Better than I thought. I went on a Monday so there were fewer ppl. I less than a day if you start around 6:30. You could drive to Quandary or something and get that one done too if you have a good pace. It is a rocky and the abandoned mines are pretty neat. Overall I enjoyed what it had to offer.

Truly an awesome experience. So glad to do it. And the dogs loved it too. Moderately full lot. Don’t go all the way to the top of the parking lot without high clearance. Keep an eye out for active mines on the road up and ruins of mines throughout the hike. Perfectly sunny day but it was entirely above 12,000 feet on the last day of September so I wore ski hat, ski mittens, ski pants and a fleece the whole way. Started up Democrat at 730a. Democrat is pretty steep. About 1 3/4 hours to that summit. Went back down to the saddle then up Cameron. It’s tough but not as tough as Democrat. Cameron has several false summits. Only about 900 vertical instead of 2,100-2,200. Another 1 1/4 for that leg. Cameron is a weird domed summit and then you feel like you’re taking a leisurely walk down to the Lincoln saddle. You don’t even feel like you’re descending but you do about 200 feet. Lincoln is by far the most interesting looking of the mountains and you can ram up the 250 feet or so on a very well worn trail in 20 minutes or so. Take the same trail down Lincoln and take an easy traverse around the side of Cameron to Bross. Another gentle trail brings you up Bross. We headed down the trail from Bross at noon (4 1/2 hours) and oh crap that’s when it gets hard. I forgot my poles at home and really regretted it. Don’t be that guy: bring your poles. I read other reviews on this site about the scree field going down Bross and thought people were exaggerating. They’re not. This was an hour and a half of making sure each step doesn’t send you sliding off the mountain. I loved it once I was done as that descent was one of the more challenging experiences of my life. But I could see where many people would only want to do Democrat and Cameron (once you go down Cameron to the Lincoln saddle, you either have to descend via Bross or summit Cameron again). A perfect day for me and the dog did fine, but this full loop is not for everyone.

hiking
1 month ago

I agree with other hikers. While I’m so happy I did this 10 mile hike, the atv’s, SUV’s and dirt bikes were super frustrating. Lots of dust and traffic, not foot traffic. I’d suggest going from the other side, via Crested Butte. That’ll be my plan for next fall. Crystal was so cute and I’m happy we got to see it. My black lab was in paradise the whole way! Lots of swimming opportunities

Was really windy. Got to the trail at 5 and climbed bross route first. It was a bit of scree and loose rocks. We made it for sunrise. It's nice to have the wind shelters on top. We left and got destroyed by wind on our way to Lincoln. Wasn't to hard to grab the second one, we were done with that and then Cameron at 8 or so. then came down to the base of Democrat ate some, and were up to the top at 10. Down to the car at 11. So about 6 hours total. bring Lots of layers because of the wind, heat, cold. Amazing views, most of the work is at the beginning and end.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful hike. Starting at the mailboxes is approximatly 10 miles roundtrip. Only four stars because of all the atv and 4x4 traffic. The dust and constantly moving out of the way gets very annoying. Amazing views and a beautiful mill. The little town of crystal is beautiful as well.

hiking
1 month ago

beautiful and great place to see the leaves change. it has some hills that are steep in places.

hiking
1 month ago

Very beautiful views and the end was great, but the constant car traffic added at least an hour to our hike. Each ATV or motorbike or Jeep that passed kicked up a bunch of dirt and dust too. Be prepared to pull over on narrow roads to make room for the vehicle traffic or go on a weekday where there is less traffic.

It's a pretty tough trail and if you are from the plains or lower evaluations, it will definitely test you. I am a big dude, no doubt, but it wasn't my fitness as much the amount of just scree and rock at points that made me want to turn back and once it goes up, it's just steep. We made it to Cameron before I tweaked my ankle and say it wasn't worth it hit Lincoln, which didn't make me happy, but safety before pride.

Road from Alma to the trailhead is alright, but the last mile or so is rough going if you don't drive dirt roads or have 4WD. I drove my Chevy Cruze as close as parking would allow.

Weather was awesome, I didn't even use my jacket. Wind pickup on the ridge, but it wasn't freezing, but we didn't hang out long.

Overall, it's completely doable, but as a fat guy who causally plays in the woods and canyons, I wouldn't exactly call it fun or easy. It was a change of pace, had good views, nice people, and got the heart going.

Democrat, Cameron, and Lincoln are great, amazing views, but descending Bross is an absolute nightmare. Is there even a trail? Descending Bross is doable if you are comfortable with tons of loose rock and scree. If I had to do it again I'd skip Bross and descend the same way I came up, or do Bross first.

This trail is not for the faint hearted if you want to do all four in the same day. Not going to sugar coat it, for the average joe person, this trail blows. It earns its difficulty rating. It’s really only a “good climb” if you’re the person who likes to brag about the number of 14’ers you climb.

I started around 6am and took Bross first. I AM SO GLAD I DID. It was by far the worst part of the hike and even in the dark I would rather climb that direction first. It’s a complete scramble and STEEP. There were several places where I was on my hands and knees. I can’t imagine trying to go down it after doing the other three summits.

If you plan on taking your dog I would HIGHLY recommend boots for their paws if they will tolerate it. There are no soft areas for them and it’s all jagged rock. This trail was pretty heavily traveled and skinny at many points so make sure your dog friend is friendly to both other dogs and people.

As far as getting to the trailhead, I was able to get my Ford Focus ST most of the way. I was about 100 yards from the main parking area due to the toughness of the road and they have huge bumps/ditches that low cars won’t get over unless you want to risk it. About 2 miles from the trail head the potholes get a little wild so you’ll have to go slow and work around them.

My pup and I bailed on mount Democrat due to her paws and still having to hike back to kite lake. It took us roughly 6 hours to summit Bross, Lincoln and Cameron and make it back to the parking area. Plan accordingly!

It’s VERY windy. And the summits are COLD. Take gloves.

Would I recommend this trail? Maybe. If I know you want to accumulate 14’ers. Will I go back and finish Democrat? Probably not. There’s not to look at besides a mass amount of loose rocks. Being that high is cool but there are WAY better hikes out there.

Did this hike on 9/22/18. The mill is beautiful, especially with the foliage this time of year. The trail is actually a 4x4 road, with loose gravel that can be a little tough on the feet if not wearing proper hiking footwear. After the initial access road the hike isn’t too challenging with a mixture of inclines and declines.
The only reason for not giving 5 stars is the amount of vehicle traffic and in particular amateur 4x4 drivers. Non stop jeeps/4x4s, atvs, and dirt bikes and the majority were very inexperienced, making it really dangerous at times for hikers. I was told it’s WAY better to go during the week with much less vehicle traffic

off road driving
1 month ago

Beautiful in the fall. Follow the directions to the town of Crystal. We were in a 4runner and made the mistake of following someone else's directions. It took us on the extreme off road part. After several hours and extremely rough terrain (with kids in the car), we made it to the mill. At this time of year, paying $10 to go down to the water isn't worth it. You aren't allowed to fish and it's too cold to swim. The drive down was much easier. The gentle rocking put our kids to sleep. We will definitely do the drive again.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful, fairly easy trail.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful area and easy to access the lower start. If you have any SUV don’t be scared to drive up a bit further to the fork (about 1 mile). We made the mistake of not doing that and walked a while longer. Very exposed so not recommended for children unless you are driving to the mill. Gorgeous valley and highly recommend.

hiking
1 month ago

Things to know:
1. Many people talk about parking at the mailboxes, if you do this it adds at least 2 miles to the hike (one mile up steep road). There is parking at the top of this "4x4" road next to sign. READ Blog link for more info.
2. As an avid hiker, I hate to say this hike is better suited for driving an SUV or ATV as mill is a bit anti-climatic after 10 miles
3. GO early (7am) to have the road to yourself for the first few hours. You will also likely arrive at the mill before the bookstore folks have their table set up and you can walk to water at your own risk rather than pay $10
4. Don't miss the BBQ place in Marble for an amazing lunch
Here is link to blog: https://etbtravelphotography.com/2018/09/20/road-trip-to-the-rockies-a-weekend-in-aspen/

1 month ago

Beautiful but 4 wheelers were a distraction.

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike but closer to 10-12 miles round trip depending where you start. We started near the mailboxes and it was about 11 miles round trip. Fall is the best time to go! There is a lot of atv traffic but easy enough for people to pass each other. Town of Crystal is adorable. It does cost $10/person to go down to the waterfall near the mill but the Family that owns the land restores the mill out of their own pocket so I'd suggest donating or paying that $10 because its only a matter of time until this is off limits to the public.

I read the reviews here and they seemed pretty much 50/50 as to start with Bross or Democrat. We started with Democrat (a nice summit, tough climb mostly because of elevation but some scrambling, too) then went to Cameron. Cameron’s summit was a snooze. Very anti-climactic, nobody else at the top with us, really bland, and unbearably windy. I was having sort of an off day so my friend and I parted ways there; she continued on to summit Lincoln and Bross while I cut Lincoln off entirely and took the shortcut that skips the “closed” summit of Bross but takes you down that side. Since I read the reviews, I knew it would be almost entirely scree but totally underestimated just how terrible it would be. Slid on my butt and/or basically skied with my boots for most of it, and then when that’s all done you still have about another mile of tricky trail until you reach the parking lot. Thanks so much to the friendly dad who chatted with me the rest of the way down—you were a huge help when I was about ready to say f this and barrel roll down and hope for the best. So if I were to try it again, I don’t think I’d descend Bross, but I’m not sure I’d want to ascend it, either. It would be super frustrating to try to go up and lose so much distance with every step. But perhaps it would be easier when you’re starting fresh... I’m really not sure. So, yeah, it was nice to be able to check off multiple 14ers in one go, but the views (at least from Democrat and Cameron) were just slightly better than nice (not stunning) and that Bross descent wasn’t exactly a cherry on top. Overall a 3-star day for me.

backpacking
2 months ago

Unique trip! My fiancé, dog, and I backpacked to the open space near the summit and camped there. We hiked through the night and arrived around 12 AM. Finished the remaining mile in the morning before heading back down. Definitely worth spending a few hours up top exploring all of the boulders. Bring water, the stream is only available for the first 2 miles or so.

hiking
2 months ago

We hiked Saturday September 15th. The colors are at or near Peak. Beautiful! The Aspens run just over 1 mile. Lots and lots of color... I've posted a few pictures.

When you reach your destination, enjoy the very old Bristlecone Pines.

hiking
2 months ago

went yesterday and the leaves are just about done falling off the aspens. Today will likely be the last day the hike will be good to see the aspens. low bush foliage is very pretty at the end in the bowl.

2 months ago

Seriously way too many cars jeeps and it is 10 bucks to walk down to the water in front of the mill.

Amazing hike. Beautiful views from every summit and throughout the hike. Went clockwise starting with Democrat, Cameron, Lincoln then Bross. Clocked 8.5 miles in 8 hours. Took our time on summits as the weather was perfect! Trails in great shape. Coming down Bross a little technical and slow at times but very doable. 4 peaks in one day! A must do hike!

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