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This is an incredible trail -- but in the winter, it was TOUGH! We went today (12/18/18), and the entire trail was covered with snow. The first 2 miles, which we had parked at the entrance to Quandary Trail and had to walk to the Gulch trail, was fairly easy and very flat. Then, to the lower falls, was 1 mile, and it was extremely hard. We had hiking boots, but the snow was about 3-4 feet deep. Thankfully, it was pretty compacted down, but we kept sinking in every other step. The views were spectacular, which is why it's absolutely worth 5 stars. I would not otherwise recommend in the winter, unless you don't mind sinking in to the level of your knee!! Wish we could have gone to see the waterfalls, but sadly, the trail was so covered with snow that I wasn't able to continue.

Frozen waterfall was cool.. A couple slick spots but didn't need yakkies today. Would be interested to see this in spring. No big vistas.

Hiked 9.22. Great for a first 14er but a bit to many people on my way up, especially at the summit. Took the east side of the mountain down to the lake and hooked up to the abyss trail to make a loop out off this (makes for a 10+ mile hike). Much more secluded just watch your step as you are hopping boulder to boulder on the way down the side of the mountain. One wrong move you'd go down pretty hard but that was the most fun part for me. Also easy to lose yourself in 6' tall and dense shrubbery. Had to just power through some sections to find the trail again on the abyss portion.

long hike but well worth the veiw from the top did it in sept had nice weather

hiking
9 days ago

Beautiful day, perfect for a winter hike. Plenty of fresh snow, animal tracks, and evergreens. First mile and a half or so is well packed and I did just fine with microspikes, but snowshoes would be better for the rest.

snowshoeing
10 days ago

I did not finish the hike due to the last half-mile out being past your knees. It was beautiful but at times I was too hot or too cold with how I was dressed. I passed two dummies that were walking around in Boots and jeans and were covered in snow up to their hips essentially punching holes in the ground with their feet and ruining the blazed trail. Please do not do this. this ruins the trail for everyone who actually planned ahead and knew when it snowed you should bring snowshoes.

I went to hike this yesterday morning/early afternoon (12/7/2018) and the road we came in on was closed about 6 miles out. I did not try to loop around to the west nor did I head back east to go over and up and see if that pass was open. Beware.

Love this trail. A good steady incline up, beautiful buttery downhill to a nice creek flow off of the falls. Beautiful in winter, can’t wait to head back in the spring.

Pleanty of incline and finishes that with stairs that seem to go on, on. You are rewarded with views that go on forever & an old fire tower that is very cool to see. Very nice hike with many photo opts. Did this hike in July/18 and it was very busy but perfect weather.

hiking
25 days ago

11/18/18. Always a great trail! I read recent reviews so we packed our snowshoes and wore micro spikes. Trail was totally packed down up to mile 2.6 and then we needed the snowshoes. Gorgeous day!

snowshoeing
28 days ago

Awesome trail. Spikes worked fine for the first couple miles then you probably want snowshoes beyond that. The trail diverges at one point but youll get there one way or the other

Did this hike at the end of September. Loved the waterfalls! The views on both sides of the trail were stunning. On the North side we could see white mountain goats grazing along the ridge. So many views on this trail.

Gorgeous any time of year ! I have done this hike in the summer and winter . Petingell peak beyond Herman lake is a great hike also ! Not much trail past the lake . I snowshoed this hike today . Definitely a packed trail until the second clearing , beyond that we ditched the microspikes and put on snow shoes . There is a pretty good trench however, it gets off trail and actually takes you to the end of the gulch below Citadel peak rather than to the lake. Take a GPS if you want to get to the lake ! Lots of snow. Beautiful hike !

Wonderful hike to the top with my 8and 4 year old children 6/4/16. Great views of the water falls!!

Wonderful hike to the top with my 8and 4 year old children 6/4/16. Great views of the water falls!!

Wonderful hike to the top with my 8 and 4 year old children.

Loved it!!!

Be sure to go to the third lake lakes two and three are above tree line. Camp near lake one. Lake one to top of my snedfles is 8.5 mile and can take 8-10 hour if you go over the ridge and down.

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked up to the lower lake this past weekend. Microspikes were helpful. I wore gaiters, but my partner was fine with just waterproof pants. We continued on to the second lake with the goal of making it up the pass and encountered pretty deep snow. The trail was snowed over completely and there was a good amount of post-holing and route-navigation. A snowstorm began mid-way through our hike and continued for hours so I'd expect a lot more of the trail might be covered by now. Didn't see any other parties though.

I think the "Hard" rating is a bit generous unless you don't normally hike at this altitude and grade.

hiking
1 month ago

Yak tracks were required to make to the falls. This was my first time doing this trail in the winter. The change in the season threw me off and the waterfall snuck up on me. I may have missed it had I not been there in the summer. Waterfall is totally frozen over, but you know its there from the huge slot canyon. If you are hiking passed the falls to the lake you will need snow shoes.

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked this trail on 11/10. Like the other two posts mentioned the trail is significantly covered in ice and snow with a decent amount of foot traffic. Be prepared to slide and have a few good wipeouts. The views along the trail are spectacular and I’m looking forward to going back again in the spring, summer and/or fall when the aspen leaves are changing. And yes the 30min drive on the dirt road is pretty rough, but if my Sentra can do it then all other vehicles can also.

Hiked this trail 11/10/18. The 9 mile road, like others mentioned, is pretty rough but it was well worth the hike! There’s plenty of great viewing spots on the way to the lookout station. The only thing I’d note is that it was pretty icy when I went. Many people (myself included) were sliding and took some bad falls. However, if you’re prepared for the icy conditions it’s well worth the drive for the 360 views of mountains.

Some of the best views from any trail in Colorado. Before I got to the trail head I had a bear run across Rampart Range Road in front of me, he was a light brown color. Hiked on 9 Nov 18, started about 0900, temp was 27 degrees at the trail head. Trail is almost totally covered in snow and ice, wear crampons or micro spikes so you don't fall. The stairs to the top are mostly snow/ice covered, best hang on tightly on the way up and down.

snowshoeing
1 month ago

Beautiful views and great hike. Was debating whether it’d be a hike or a snowshoe. I brought my snowshoes and am glad I did. Starts hard pack and hikable but turns to postholing after a mile or so. Trail disappeared so I broke the last half mile using my GPS for guidance. Poles came in handy. So easy to get to from Denver.

snowshoeing
1 month ago

Plenty of snow already! The first mile or so of trail is pretty packed and easily hiked without spikes. But you’ll need snowshoes after that (unless you enjoy battling knee high snow). The trail was barely visible after two miles, but managed to sleuth it to the junction. Be safe out there!

trail running
1 month ago

First time on this trail this afternoon. Nice trail, a few mildly interesting spots and a bit of a view right before the falls. Even without any mind blowing highlights, there is pretty complete immersion in nature. Was a bit icy in spots... I didn’t have any traction devices and my dog and I were just fine, but bring some kind of spikes if you aren’t comfortable on ice. There are still plenty of decent foot placements that aren’t solid ice if your eyes are open, but I’m sure many would appreciate spikes. I’m wondering how this’ll be in late winter/spring though... yikes!

Some mention they recorded the trail as longer than 6.3 miles, but my gps recorded it at 6.2 miles, 1440 ft of ascent, and it didn’t feel any longer than that to me.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful but busy, go early

snowshoeing
1 month ago

Simply beautiful, and plenty of fresh powder!! There were folks doing this hike with microspikes but snowshoes really came in handy as the powder was knee deep halfway into the hike and above treeline.

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike, but a ton of snow now. Yaktrax from the TH are recommended. Skis/snowshoes are probably a good choice, too. I was falling in to snow about knee-height around 2 miles in, and turned back. What a beautiful hike though.

hiking
1 month ago

One of the best hikes you can do located within an hour of Denver. Heart pumping hike with a beautiful mix of mountain vistas, wooded trails and open valleys. Plenty of snow on the ground now so YakTrax are highly recommended. Plentiful parking at the trailhead as well. A must do for serious hikers.

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