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Awesome hike with stunning mountain views, wildflowers, and a beautiful lake. Perfect for a single day hike. Get there early for parking when the weather is nice.

Attempted this over the weekend at the height of the snowfall. Did not complete the hike as the split in the trail to head to Crater Lakes was completely covered in snow. We followed some "fresh" prints but soon realized that even with GPS and a big ego/pride, it could not be completed with the current conditions. I do not think that this can be completed with confidence with new snowfall or even existing trail conditions. Beautiful otherwise with amazing views of the Moffat Tunnel and surrounding areas. Still giving it 5 stars as I know the end result is amazing but nature didnt allow for views this weekend.

*Use extra caution during snow storms when entering/leaving the road on the trail. The snow gets high enough to not visibility to the edges of the road. I lost control of my vehicle and luckily, it took some digging and persistence to get out. Just be extra careful during the winter months even if you have good tires and all wheel drive.

The hike was beautiful, especially with all the snow! I would recommend parking on Waterboard Rd as the short road to the trailhead itself (0.1 mi) has some pretty deep sections of snow that are very easy to get stuck in. We made it about 2 miles up the trail before there were no more footprints to follow, and we weren't confident in finding the trail on our own under the snow, so we had to turn back. There were some gorgeous views up until that point, but we definitely wish we'd been able to make it all the way to the top. The beginning of the trail has hard packed snow so is pretty easy to hike, but it gets less packed the farther you go, so snow shoes would probably be very helpful. Lots of animals tracks out, which is always fun to see!

Stunning views of the peaks all around. Pretty lakes below. Perfect distance for a great day hike.

As of October 28, the road up was perfectly clear, and the route has some snow and ice on it, but doable, especially if you have trax or poles. The wind on the pass was crazy, probably 70 mph-- enough to knock you off your feet if you're not bracing yourself. That and the snow on the other side kept us from going any further than the pass, but it was well worth just being on top. Great hike.

Gorgeous trail summer and winter. well traveled so snowshoes are not really necessary till the last mile or so. the winds are strong by the lake so they cover the tracks of others quickly. Veer NorthEast(right) as you climb and you'll get to the clearing. After that's it's just a few hundred feet to the lake.

Beautiful trail but as previous reviewer mentioned, at some point near the end, the foot path in the snow deviates from the actual trail. I had a GPS with me so was able to figure this out (coupled with clues based on the trail just not seeming right). We never actually made it to the lakes but the hike was still beautiful. I would say if you don’t have a GPS, be careful as just following the footprints in the snow isn’t actually the trail & gets a bit sketchy.

Trail is all snow, most packed by skiers. Final ~1/4 mile to the lower lake is unpacked snow (unless we took a wrong turn, we were definitely off trail on deep snow following footprints).Great hike but with the current conditions if you don’t have snowshoes or skis you won’t make it all the way up.

It was extremely snowy this time of year. Do not go without snow shoes. About 90% of the way there I had to turn around because the snow was up to my waist. Still beautiful until that point!

Went in early October on a cloudy day and got some snow near the top. The lakes were incredible though. Lost the trail on the way to the furthest lake, and ended up doing some rock scrambling that we weren’t prepared for. Saw a moose alongside the road on the way to the trailhead! Def want to go back on a clear day.

on Forest Lakes Trail

1 month ago

Hiked 10/28. It’s pretty snowy already but we managed without yaktraks. Beautiful hike for the short distance. Highly recommended esp, with dogs!

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike! We went last Friday and it was a beautiful day. The trail was icy and snow packed in some areas and even more so the closer we got to the lake.

Good hike. Nice steady climb after about a mile of flat. Went in late fall and definitely needed the yak tracks and some good water proof hiking boots. Layers was the name of the game. Bring a wind breaker cause it was pretty windy at Heart Lake.

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked yesterday 10/28, weather was great. Above 10,000ft, the trail is about 90% covered in snow, which is compacted so I would recommend micro spikes. I put mine on about half a mile from the lake and used them on the way back out for about a mile also. The lake is almost frozen over, some open water still visible.

This has quickly become one of our favorite hikes. The elevation gain is serious, but there are only a few spots that get challenging. The lake is peaceful, and we had it to ourselves today. It does get snowy and icy, so wear your spikes or bring your poles.

Hiked on 10/26. I had been there almost 20 years ago with my kids aged 1, 3, and 4 (a good fraction on my back as you can imagine). This was during the summer and we had a great time. This is why I wanted to take the opportunity of my visit in Boulder to return.
Some snow on the path, but not too much. The lowest part of the trail is somewhat icy, and some may want to use spikes (I did not). After the tree line, the snow is soft, so that the spikes are not useful. Today was very windy but clear. I left the winter parking lot at 7AM and was back at 1PM. There is no need for snow shoes, but good hiking shoes and protection (to avoid the snow to get in) are needed

Beautiful!!! Hiked October 20th. Definitely need spikes toward the top. The lakes had two feet of snow! Easy hike. Spikes good P.S there is miss in the trees!!! Yes looks like Spanish moss. !!! Incredible

Beautiful hike, the lower lakes are all but frozen to the edges. There was a fair amount of snow/ice on the trail so yaktrax/microspikes definitely recommended. Also worth noting, there were bear tracks in several areas along the trail and around the perimeter of the south lower lake!

This is still one of my favorite hikes. Great views, waterfalls, forest, lake meadows and sweeping views at the pass. At this time there is lots of snow and ice and it is likely the trail will not be passable in the next couple of weeks with any additional snow. Forth of July road was rough but still passable with 4WD drive and decent clearance. No snow on the road at this time. It was very challenging to get to Lake Dorothy. Most people had stopped at the pass and in addition to being sandblasted with snow and ice from hurricane force winds, there was no path to the lake. We tried and got caught in thigh high snow from the drifts. Views at the top were spectacular if you could handle the wind. Great hike. Definitely one to add to the list.

hiking
1 month ago

It was a gorgeous day to hike. I started early and there was no one on the trail all the way up to Diamond Lake. I did wear spikes the entire way due to ice and snow. I couldn't have hiked the last mile without them. My dog was with me and we had a blast. Yes, the road is awful to drive on but if you're a confident driver, you can make it. Please PULL OVER if someone is behind you and you're coasting down (or up) the road. It was a celebratory hike for my 61st birthday and the day couldn't have been nicer.

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked on 10/20. As others have said, the road into Brainard Lake is closed for the season, so you park in the lot before the fee station. I tracked the whole hike on my fitbit, and it's 2 miles to Brainard Lake, and another mile to the trailhead. All we wore were Yaktraks over our hiking shoes. It would have been nice to have snow boots or gaiters on, as you fall through the snow a LOT. Our feet were soaked for most of the hike.

Took us 7 hours, and we took a wrong turn on the way to the trailhead that added a mile. 14 miles round trip. There was no wind at all until the top, and even then it wasn't too bad. The snow made this hike TOUGH and made it take a lot longer than it should have for us, but the views are some of the most incredible I've seen. We only saw a few other people all day. Highly recommend if you love a challenging hike--though I wouldn't do it again in the snow.

Loved it! Got to parking lot at Gateway at 6 am and biked the 2 plus miles to trailhead. The trail starts in trees and snow was packed on the trail with scattered ice. I wore micro spikes and knee gaiters—both were needed. Parts of the trail were nearly dry on a ridge about 3/4 of a mile up and before tree line. After tree line it’s consistently snowy. The trail above tree line is marked by rock piles and was easy to follow until a quarter mile from the summit. Lots of packed snow and many post holes from recent hikers breaking through the crust. The wind above tree line today was fierce. Three other hikers and I were all amazed at the wind speed, likely a constant 25 mph + with stronger gust? ( I had no gauge so let’s just say it was plenty strong and slowed my forward progress to a crawl at times.) But glorious views at the top! Well worth the effort. I hike about ten miles a week at elevation but I’m a slow hiker and took my time, stopped often and ate lunch near the summit. Got back to the Gateway parking lot at 4:45 even using a mountain bike. Highly recommend this trail, but with more snow I will pass on going again till summer. Snow shoes would have done no good today, if you’re going soon use knee gaiters and spikes.

hiking
1 month ago

Nice moderate hike with plenty of lakes and streams- although as a result probably not ideal during mud season... jasper lake was frozen but still beautiful.

Did this on 10/20/18. THE GATES ARE CLOSED FOR THE SEASON. You must park at Gateway Trailhead and walk the 2-2.5ish miles to the Beaver Creek Trailhead- or anywhere else you want to go around Brainard. If you are at all worried about time or icy trails, just walk the road. Yak traks are necessary if you do not take the road but everything else is doable without them. Highly recommend tall snow boots and gaiters as you will spend a lot of time stepping in the snow to your knees... which I'm sure will only get more significant very soon. You should also allow more time than you think with the snow... it took me 6.5 hours having to walk from Gateway and I am an experienced hiker. BUT the hike is amazing, the snow capped mountains are gorgeous and you should do this hike!!

Hiked this trail on Wednesday. It was very icy with lots of snow. Road getting to the trailhead was rough too! Better have a high clearance vehicle for this one. Came across a moose and her calf 1/4 mile from the trailhead. They were very close so got some good pics of them. Didn’t seem to mind us at all but they were blocking the trail and I know moose can be aggressive so we made a wide left around them just in case! Very scenic hike but I wouldn’t recommend it this time of year. Snow packed and icy.

Since last weeks Snow, we brought crampons and poles which made both the accent and decent so much more enjoyable There were people who had to turn around because they didn’t have enough traction.

Third time hiking this trail (first during winter and the second during summer). Despite it being mid-October, there was still a lot of snow on the upper two-thirds of the trail, so definitely bring appropriate gear and be prepared to stay out all day; it's a very long trek. Mirror Lake was frozen over but there are some nearby streams to get fresh water, if needed. Also, the gate to access Monarch Lake trailhead was open, but I know they close it as it gets closer to winter so double-check this before heading out, as it can add an extra 2 miles (round trip) to the hike. Otherwise, beautiful hike - one of my favorites in Colorado.

A bunch of moose, a bunch of lakes

I did this 13er with my wife when we were visiting from KY. It is very manageable, and has some great views.

hiking
2 months ago

Really gorgeous hike. The last mile up there is already a decent amount of snow and at the top, close to 6 inches. Definitely wear waterproof hiking boots.

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful! Nice fall hike featuring some golden aspens and a couple waterfalls. In the early morning it was a misty hike through a cloud, which I thought made the whole experience even cooler.

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