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

Cow Creek Trail Loop Map

If you're willing to climb up some rocks along the waterfall, you'll be rewarded with a great view. The trail itself is very short, but it would be challenging for anyone who was not very sure-footed.

I've done this trial two years in a row now, and I legit think I’m doing it next year too. It’s such a peaceful and refreshing view, and it’s a moderate hike that is worth it. Through, in parts this year the trail was hard to follow/find, but still ridiculously fun.

3 days ago

Very peaceful and good place to have an impromptu lunch.

they don't allow dogs so if you plan on bringing your first baby don't go here

Great vistas and the trail meanders through meadows. We spied a young buck along the trail. There are steps to climb going and coming.

7 days ago

Thought this trail was just ok compared to others in the park. You have to walk uphill the entire time with no views except a waterfall early and then the big payoff at the end being the lake. Otherwise just trees and more trees! Glad I did it so I can cross it off the list but probably won't do this one again.

8 days ago

Great hike! We were on the trailhead at 7:00. We saw a big bull elk and 1 deer. The hike had a lot of elevation change but was so worth it. The lake is beautiful, and filled with cutthroat trout. My husband and son spend several hours fly fishing. Amazing day and hike!

on Ypsilon Lake Trail

9 days ago

Hiked Ypsilon today and my Fitbit said it was 10.03mi. Great Lake view, but make sure you don’t stop short at the little pond. I was quite shocked at the amount of people who were starting at 3pm in jeans with no water. Be smart, it’s not worth it.

10 days ago

Awesome hiking but not for the faint of heart. Be well acclimated before heading out on this beautiful hike.

10 days ago

Come on...Rocky Mountain we're talking about...every place is beautiful...some more than others....even a short little hike like this for some disabled 55+/- year olds has great rewards...waterfalls....love n peace 2 all...---...

12 days ago

My new most favorite place. Absolutely worth the hike. However it is 9 miles long, not 8 miles. I did the entire trail out and back in 3,5 hours time. (Including breaks.)
The lake is so beautiful! I did the hike in the afternoon and even though the parking lot was full, not many people went the entire way to the lake. I ended up having the lake all to myself. The beginning of the trail is pretty busy. Also beware of horses. There are horse tours going to the lake. There is enough shade as most of the hike is in the forest. Not a lot of views, except the first 1,5 miles. From then on it’s just forest until you reach the lake. The first little pond right before the lake is also very beautiful.

Great trail. I would emphasize that if you find yourself on a single track footpath, you’re off the trail, not that I know anything about that. Would be wonderful if the horse people would take a little responsibility for the poop all over the trail.

Nice views overlooking Estes Park and the Rockies. Could have been nicer but unfortunately was a hazy day.

Gorgeous trail!! It was lawn hike but 100% worth it!

16 days ago

8/5/18 - Lovely hike through the forest, up and down on the trail. Trail is well marked. Very nice babbling creek along about 1/2 of the trek; wild flowers are pretty much on/off along the entire trail. The waterfall is quiet nice. Great hike to do if you dont have a lot of time only 2.5 mile out/one way. Definitely will do this hike again.

16 days ago

Moderately difficult trail with rewarding views at the summit. Saw a rabbit and lots of chipmunks but no other wildlife to note. Watch out for those chipmunks, they'll try to get into your bag of you set it down. Wish there was a sign at the top.

17 days ago

I absolutely loved this trail. I got to the trailhead about 9:30 am and there was only a handful of cars so I got a pretty good parking spot. The first mile or so is pretty flat but it definitely gets harder as you keep going. Totally worth the hike because the views you see on the way up are fantastic. Once you get to the top, you have more than enough room to sit down, enjoy the view, and eat some lunch (I got there about 11:15). I came down and was back to my car about 12:45 (lots more people were on the trail at this point so I suggest going early.) Overall a great hike and highly recommend.

Definitely tough the first part because it is mostly uphill & about 2,600 feet of elevation but it is worth it. Lake is very nice.

I gave this 5 stars not because of the lake (it was fine but a little disappointing since the trees block a lot of the view of Ypeilon mountain. I gave it 5 because of the offshoot trail to Specktacle lake about a half hour (straight up!) around the left side of Ypsilon mountain. Follow the waterfalls just west of where the Ypsilon lake trail ends. The combination of beautiful meadows, flowers everywhere, super fun rock scrambling, mountain streams, and awesome views made it one of the best hikes I've done in RMNP, and I've been hiking around here for decades. I'll give you a heads up that there's a big intimidating granite slab very near the top that is not for the faint of heart. Some of us stopped at that point. The hike is still worth it even if you stop there.

19 days ago

The hike is great! I started from Lawn Lake trailhead on Wednesday (8/1) at 740am and returned around 320pm. Wish I woulda started earlier so I could've bagged a couple of the 13ers at saddle but it was noon and clouds were rolling in (and I hadn't planned on doing any of them).

A few things:

-Per GAIA GPS: 17.19 miles, 7:36 hours, 3,884' ascent.
-Water. It's everywhere along trail - the river and then lots of creeks/streams up high. I filled up 2x.
-Clothing. Catherine is 100% right - long sleeves and pants are essential up high as you hike through pretty thick trees, bushes, plants.
-Once atop the saddle the cairns end so I just kinda wandered and walked around - wonderful views.
-I skipped the trail to the Crystal Lakes but scrambled up a little ridge on descent from Saddle to overlook the lakes - gorgeous!
-Once past Lawn Lake I only saw four total people! Ascent from TH to Lawn Lake I saw ~9, descent from Lawn Lake to TH ~20 people (and 7 horses).

20 days ago

Did this one with the family. Good short hike and the kiddo fell in the water (lol). Enjoyed all the rocks and climbed almost to the top. The waterfall is definitely cool.

I really enjoyed this hike. I got to the trailhead for sunrise which was beautiful! Lots of wildlife, saw Elk, deer, wild turkeys. the view is spectacular! would recommend to do this hike first as it gives great perspective of the whole area. first 2 miles we're up, next half was flat or down, followed by the last half mile a steep stair climb. very much worth it.

22 days ago

Hiked with my family! The first portion was "challenging", a lot of uphill (~3miles) but with some good views along the way. Don't be fooled with the initial pond you come to at around 3.5 miles, keep going and you'll get to the lake! Recorded 9.5 miles round trip.

23 days ago

Beautiful trail, a little trafficked but very scenic along the way and at the overlook at the top of the trail. Watch out for piles of horse poop every 200 ft. or so. A lot of wind as well, witch is great on a warm day but prob. miserable on a cold day. Other than the poop and people, great hike!

Hike was amazing! Views at the early part and a few lookout points were really cool. My only gripe about the trail is the amount of horse poop on the trail. It’s everywhere, so be on the lookout.

25 days ago

We did this hike spur of the moment. everywhere else rates this hike 12.5 to 13 miles round trip. it's a pretty easy grade the whole way. once you get there you are glad you did. its stunningly beautiful. I wish now I would of scheduled camping and stayed a day or two. definitely reccomend, just make sure you are prepared for a good 4-6 hours round trip. That's if you are moving at a good rate without breaks.

Beautiful summit trail with nice wildflowers and mild switchbacks. We started around 6:50 on a weekday and didn't see too many people until maybe the last 20 minutes as we finished the hike. Took almost exactly 3 hours round trip.

Hiked 7/24/18. Beautiful hike! Definitely a challenge. Recorded about 9.4 miles from the trailhead with walking around the lake a bit at the end.

Nothing but the facts: 58 and 50 yr old husband and wife. Missed first switchback but got back on trail, 14 switchbacks and 220 stair master stairs at the end. Two hours up and 1 1/2 coming down. Great views and good hike.

28 days ago

Gorgeous hike, with a summit hard to match. Great views, and a nice place to enjoy the moment and any company you may have. Got there early, so found parking right at the trailhead. This would be a great trail run, too.

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