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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!

Showed up at 10am on Friday to an insanely packed trailhead. The trail is beautiful itself and wooded most of the way, and the views at the lake and grassy areas made the destination worth hanging out for awhile. Saw at least 15 groups of backpackers headed in to camp/do the Missouri/Fancy Lake though. Great hike overall, only 4 stars because it was verrry crowded.

backpacking
3 days ago

Lot was full by 10am but we squeezed on the road. We read there wasn’t many backpacking spots - and I found maybe 3, but were too close to water or the trail. We found if you go past (between) the final lakes and keep going (careful, the trails spur and we got turned around), you follow a stream on your right after 1/2 mi to approx 3 sites spread by a few hundred feet. It was a good first backpacking trip for my 7yo. There was plenty of water, moderate temps, and while we saw a bunch of bugs, only really got one or two bites. We encountered a cow moose about 30 feet off the trail about half way up!

I think technically this is in the Indian Peaks Wilderness and you need a permit in summer, but, sorry, it is ridiculous to print a form and mail a $5 check or to go to the office. Let me do it online. https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/arp/recarea/?recid=80803

Overall it's not a trail I'd be super excited to get back to or take anyone to, but it was a nice short hike with shade most of the way. The final lakes/ponds are pretty with some views of the surrounding ridges. The lakes are small with quite a few people crowded around fishing or lounging. The first lake you pass is mosquito heaven and pretty yucky.

hiking
3 days ago

We were told by the bus driver that Crater Lake was a lot more dried up this year, and that was completely obvious once we saw the lake. I’m sure it would have been a lot more attractive if the water were higher. But pretty views throughout the hike! Saw a ton of families, so should be doable for most kiddos. And if you have a dog, they’ll probably enjoy cooling off in the lake at the top.

I’m physically active so I thought the trail itself was mostly easy, but we flew in from GA ~18 hours before the hike and I definitely felt some negative affects of the altitude adjustment. If you’re not used to high altitudes, bring plenty of water and remember to take deep breaths.

Over 7 miles to first camp site.
Springs not marked

Tough and beautiful - worth every step!

hiking
4 days ago

Hike and mountain scenery is pleasant however the 10 mile long forest road filed with Rental Vehicles driving like pricks and the Denver crowd flocking to the trail with Bluetooth Speakers and trash everywhere make for an overall unpleasant experience.

The hike is great, lake is underwhelming. Views along the hike are awesome.

For those of us not used to the altitude (we are from GA) this was a pretty difficult hike on the way to Crater Lake. Mostly uphill and very rocky. Took about an hour hike to get to Crater Lake but the view was gorgeous! Plan on packing a lunch or snacks and taking in the view—and a short rest! Definitely want to get there early as it gets very crowded on the narrow, rocky trail as the day progresses. We got to Highlands at about 8:15 to take the bus up to Maroon Bells. Go early—very popular destination! Bring lots of water too.

hiking
6 days ago

Easy climb up to a pretty lake with an island in the middle. Lots of fisherman. Saw multiple moose around the surrounding areas and roads. Can pick up American lakes from this trail too.

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.

off road driving
7 days ago

Drove as far up as allowed in stock 4runner TRD off road. No problem but the road is pretty beat up and has only gotten worse with time. Would definitely recommended a good 10+ inch clearance if you are gonna go past the last parking section. Once to end of the 4x4 road it was about a 30-45 minute hike up rocks and steep incline. Did this at the end of the day saturday and it wasn't too busy. Any earlier and the trail is generally mobbed with people.

on Crater Lake Trail

hiking
8 days ago

I found the low level of the lake and the dirty water to be a little underwhelming. The view of the surrounding mountains is very nice, as is the aspen forest on the way in.

hiking
8 days ago

As everyone has said- AMAZING hike! Although I will just add my 2 cents about the “rough road” that you can drive on to get you closer to the actual trail...I was in a Honda Pilot (4wd and good clearance)...and I managed to drive maybe a half mile up that “road” and decided to park it. Pretty intense off-roading conditions! I’m no off-road expert- but I live in Utah and drive on many dirt roads- and this one was pretty intense. However- definitely saw many other 4WD vehicles (some with less clearance than mine!) that made it up further- so maybe I’m a wimp:) Anyway- we did walk the 1.5 miles to the start of the actual trail and didn’t mind...I was with my 15 yo nephew and my little dog and we only made it to lower Mohawk lake and decided to turn around. Would have liked to have pressed on to the upper lake, but the rock scrambling sections were pretty intense for my dog so we turned back- but still an absolutely gorgeous day! (Bonus- as we were walking up the road around 8:30 am- there was a mama and baby moose grazing in the first meadow you see from the road- looking to the left.)

hiking
8 days ago

Great trail for intermediate-experienced hikers with incredible views near the top! Trail was well maintained with various signs along the way. From the main parking lot, you have the option to go on the Spruce Creek trail (walking) or continuing on to the right with an off-road vehicle (accurately displayed with a dashed blue line). It does save some time to use the off-road trail if you are not looking to go the full distance from the main parking lot. But I definitely recommend the Spruce Creek Trail route for nice views through the trees. If you do choose the off-road trail there are multiple spots where low-clearance and 2-wheel-drive vehicles could run into issues, especially after a storm. There were multiple cars parked off to the side at various spots on the gravel road but there are two big dirt lots for parking before eventually joining up with Spruce Creek trail and then leading onto Mayflower Lake (the first lake). We stopped just beyond Mayflower Lake after keeping to the right of some cabins at the base of the incredible waterfalls. It is a bit of a scramble around the waterfalls but I highly recommend seeing them! We also passed hikers on the way down that said the higher lakes were unbelievable! We will definitely be stopping again! Cheers!

Great little hike with rewarding views!

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.

hiking
10 days ago

OMG do not stop at the first parking lot where the AllTrails map program says to stop ! It adds 1.5 to 2 hrs to your hike of not so pretty walking !!! If you have 4wd or Awd or decent clearance on your vehicle keep driving for another 1-2 miles to get to another trailhead . I saw Yukon’s , Subaru’s, big SUV’s further up the road at parking lot 2,3 and 4 . To get much past parking lot 4 on the road you need off-road 4wd. The first 1/4 mike is the worst and the road improves after that first part and goes for over 2 miles further. . It makes so much better sense to start at end of road and save 2 hrs of walking in and out on the road or through forest on roots!! Also enables you to have time to go to Lake 3,4 ,5 or even 6 for the adventurous!!
Spend your time checking out gorgeous lakes and not walking on road you could have driven on...
the lakes are amazing and all different which is cool. Basically, the higher you climb the prettier it gets !!!!

Probably the most beautiful hike in Colorado. Waterfalls, wildflowers, about 10 lakes, fabulous views and incredible rock formations. By the times you hike around the lakes you’ll probably hike around 12 to 13 miles. I recommend taking trekking sticks as there are some steeper rocks to climb over.

well maintained trail. not too hard but not too easy. I did the whole thing and was definitely tired by the time I got back to the trailhead. minor elevation changes.

Beautiful lake, the trail is in great condition! It was wonderful to see all the families on the trail.

hiking
11 days ago

Go early to beat the crowds and dress in layers.

hiking
11 days ago

Can’t say a lot about the trail. I loved what I saw , but after a mile in , in the drizzling rain it started lightning!! So , this will have to wait until a better day!

It was an awesome hike along the river. Some awesome campsites off to the sides. It is a bit busy along those but once you are about half a mile in, it’s beautiful and pretty much empty. We would definitely hike here again.

Love these lakes

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

Fantastic hike with beautiful lakes to reward you at end. Steep incline and technical rock scrambling to get to the lakes at the end is well worth the effort. I’m a frequent hiker yet only arrived in the mountains the day before (from sea level). The return hike after all that climbing and scrambling kicked my butt. I was thoroughly beat after this 6 hour half hike.

This hike is worth the climb! I did it with 2 other twenty something females, both of whom live and hike in Colorado. I am from Minnesota and love to hike and consider myself fairly fit, but don't get to hike at elevation frequently. This was a moderately difficult hike for me, though we were able to cut a big chunk of the uphill section of the hike off (more on that below). It seems like most people stop after Lower or Upper Mohawk, but most of the hard elevation gain comes getting to those two, so in my opinion, it is so worth it to keep going. All 7 lakes and the views you get are beautiful!

We were able to cut several miles of boring, uphill hiking off based on our parking. All trails map will say you're there when you get to the trailhead that most people park at. However, if you have 4-wheel drive, I would highly recommend keeping going on the dirt road (it is very bumpy, so don't keep going if you don't have the car for it). We kept going for about 3 miles and cut a lot of boring off our hike to save our energy for continuing on to see all the lakes. We passed at least one other spot where a trail led off. Keep an eye on your AllTrails GPS, it will help you tell where you are and how much farther to keep going. Keep to the left at the fork. We came to another spot where more cars were parked (though there were some dotted along the road the whole way along) and when we spoke to some people on the road, they said we were almost there, but probably wouldn't make it any farther. We got out, hiked on the road for about 15 minutes until we got to the end of the road and got on the trail. From there, it was only about .5 mile to Mayflower Lake.

hiking
13 days ago

Start early - we hit the trail at 7 on a weekday and it was quiet, with two other cars in car park. Gets really busy by about 10. Beautiful throughout, especially the upper lake, but a highlight is the meadow and small lake that’s on the right just after you pass the crossing with the Wheeler Trail, about a third of the way in. Most people seem to walk straight past it. Spent about half an hour just soaking up the view and watching the many varieties of birds.

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