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

July backpacking Map

Probably one of the best hikes I’ve done in CO. Like others have said, makes for a LONG day hike - still so worth it. Wish I had 2 or 3 nights to explore the surrounding Crater Lakes area.

There are 12 designated camping spots around crater lake. On a Saturday the place was packed with campers. The ranger must’ve given out at least a dozen citations. Even though permits are not required at this time of year, got to get up there early to claim a spot.

Will definitely be bringing the pack for next time!

If you want to go to Crater Lake I would definitely suggest doing an overnight backpacking trip. Its too far for one day. I think its also longer than listed. I saw a lot of HUGE moose. Bring tons of water. Don’t do it alone like I did.

19 days ago

Absolutely amazing hike, but definitely very strenuous. Once you're above the tree line, it gets tricky with the temperature drop, the low air density, and the incessant winds. The trail is fine until the last bit when there's a bit of rock clambering to the peak. Super views but my personal favorite is Sky Pond.

22 days ago

Dont be fooled this hike is HARD! However the views and scenery on this trail are just gorgeous! As many others here have already written this would be AMAZING as an over night.. possibly 2 nights if you can! There is just soo much beauty up there to bask in! If you are planning on trying this as a day hike then you need to start early! If you park on one trail head and come out at another there is an additional 2 miles of dirt road you will hike. The total mileage of the loop is 18-20 miles. As a day trip this took me a little over 10 hours.

this Trail is wonderful. The first one point five miles are very challenging and difficult. However they are in the forest so you're protected from the elements. For a considerable distance once you passed the tree line it is a wonderful Trail to walk on. Unfortunately we didn't make it to the summit. The weather was cloudy and it was incredibly cold, and it is very windy as everyone says. We did make it to Peak 12150. I would do this hike again no doubt. However the next time, I would go more prepared with the proper attire. While we were dressed in the appropriate coat and pant layering, the lack of a hat and gloves made it unbearable. I recommend all of these if you plan to take this hike. Far better to be able to remove them if its cold then to not have them at all. Again, I do plan to make the hike again, so that I can get to the summit of Mount Ida. It's a stunning hike and well worth every step.

26 days ago

Take two. We hiked this trail Saturday morning. Incredible views! SPF!!! you are being blasted by the sun on this hike (weather permitting). I would not want to try this hike in early/mid-summer with afternoon thunderstorms because there is no protection once above treeline. I did post pics too. We saw a Ptarmigan as well as pika's, marrmots.

27 days ago

This was the first long trail I have done in Colorado. Have to say overall a great experience. The trail in the beginning is well maintained and easy to find, however when you get to the rocky portion of the hike it is a bit tough to find the actual trail. The last hour or so was a bit hard for me as I am still not used to the elevation so we had to take breaks. We did not see a lot of people on the trail either which was nice. Took us about 5h45min with a lunch on the summit. The views are amazing and the trail is rewarding. Make sure you have a wind jacket as it was very windy when we did it. Great hike! Highly recommend it.

28 days ago

Well maintained trail & not many people! Summit views are stunning!!!

Such a beautiful and fun hike! So many water features on the way up and beautiful foliage. Love every mile!

We went clockwise and was good as the other way would have been much longer in the ascent. Loved this hike but my IPhone clocked 13 miles. It was gorgeous but a few more miles than I expected. Perfect time to hike it. I will go back and probably camp halfway next time. ❤️

We hiked that trail today 9/13 it was an amazing hike, we went counterclockwise and did the entire Loop. Unfortunately we lost a Micro SD card on the trail - it is in a plastic case- if anybody finds it please message me. or call Brian 847-702-9240. Thank you

hiked on Labor Day 9/3/18 with my 16 year old son. Got a later start, arrived at trailhead at 9am. VERY crowded parking wise. But trail was not too crowded. Saw a few groups, all courteous and enjoying the hike. No tough creek crossings. No significant wildlife sightings on this day; however, my wife and I had hiked the Gilpin Lake trail two weeks before and ran into a bear about 45 minutes up from the trailhead. The bear was only about 10 yards from the trail.....never once looked up from his feeding frenzy on the vegetation. Lots of dogs as part of the groups, only about half were leashed, none were trouble. The hike is AWESOME. So glad we went counterclockwise, sure seems to be the easier way to get to the "saddle" south of Gilpin Lake. A GREAT hike, nice day, just a few sprinkles.

1 month ago

mother nature made me work for this trail, especially on the alpine tundra portion— exposed and windy and brief rain. took ~5.5 hrs.

1 month ago

beautiful trip, not too tiring. the slope is not very steep. keep something warm to wear bc the last hr of walk is exposed to wind.

Hiked it today we went counter clockwise. The views when you crest the ridge to see the lake are amazing. I clocked it at 11.6 Miles. I definitely recommend the counter clockwise to enjoy the views of the lakes on your decent. Will do this hike again next time in town.

Holy cow - this has to be the most gorgeous hike I've done yet in Colorado. It has everything you could ever want in terms of scenery: waterfalls, aspen groves, high alpine lakes, and endless mountain meadows. Counter clockwise is definitely the way to go as others have mentioned, as the incline is a bit more gradual, and the descent to Gilpin lake is absolutely breathtaking. We did this hike over Labor Day weekend - the aspens aren't quite yet turning, but there's plenty of beautiful fall colors on the forest floor to be enjoyed. We took a ton of breaks for lunch, snacks, and pictures, and clocked in at 6.5 hours. Cannot recommend this highly enough!

Beautiful hike! This trail has a little bit of everything (streams, animals, lakes, mountains) and the fall colors are amazing right now. I can only imagine what it looked like with all the wildflowers.

I accidentally went clockwise (left at the dorm) and I enjoyed the trail. The first half up to the lake was gradual and I walked around for a bit before proceeding up the switchbacks. The hike up wasn’t that bad because my legs were warmed up. The view of the lake from up top was amazing. The rest of the hike was downhill. Overall the hike wasn’t hard. It’s a long hike so I think that makes the elevation gain easier. I started at 6 and the trailhead was packed when I came down.

wonderful top!!

1 month ago

Incredible views that are definitely earned! Counterclockwise is the way to go as many others have suggested. Clocked it at 12.2 miles total.

Beautiful area of Colorado and worth a trip! I recommend backpacking to truly experience it but you could definitely do a day hike (leave early in the AM!). We did 3 days/2 nights and it took about 4.5 hours up (total) and 3.5 hours back with our heavy packs. Our first night camping was in the Cascade zone and second night was in the Crater Lake zone. There's 12 designated backpacking sites in Crater Lake zone - 3 of them about half a mile below the lakes, 2 at Mirror Lake, and the remaining 7 at Crater Lake. Unfortunately we were hit with pouring rain for most of our visit, which isn't particularly fun when you're backpacking (we were damp and a little grumpy on the way back). We plan to come back to take more advantage of the area with better visibility and less rain-soaked gear :)

1 month ago

Today’s weather (8/19) was not perfect at all. Snowing on the summit. We did this trail in 5 hrs.

Absolutely phenomenal hike! Arguably my favorite hike ever, for sure in Colorado. I refuse to come here for less than 2 nights because there is just an overwhelming amount to do. Beautiful walk around the lake, tons of wildflowers (late June), creeks and waterfalls, meadows if you get off the beaten path, an absolutely limitless of beauty. You do need a permit to camp here which can be difficult to get. I always hike in from the Granby side which is gorgeous and less strenuous than hiking over Pawnee Pass.


Hard hike with great views at the end. Fairly crowded.

Hiked only to the falls. Great hike.

2 months ago

Difficult but worth it! Got to the trail head around 8am, summited around 1 and was back at 2:15. My partner and I took some breaks on the way there, the hard parts only last a couple of moments-had to give myself some pep talks but it was worth it! Way back is hard on the knees but as long as your mindful of the trail and your body it’s manageable.

Did a one-nighter here. Absolutely gorgeous. Hiked in about 4 miles and set camp and then did the rest of the ascent without packs — definitely more enjoyable than camping at mirror lake itself (bugs were awful).

2 months ago

2 months ago

Not only was this a beautiful hike with incredible views but it will forever be memorable as I proposed to my girlfriend at the summit. It was so perfect!

My friends and I spent 3 days, 2 nights on the trail for our first time backpacking. This was definitely a hard hike with our packs, but we also packed a little too much. This is doable for a one day hike, our last day we covered 8.4 miles in about 5 hours with our backpacks. Great hike with numerous stops for great scenery

Load More