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Awesome summit views

Fun little trail, definitely bring your spikes it is slick! I wore, and regretted wearing, trail runners.

Good trail, but had a hard time finding where it looped, so once I got to the top of the reservoir I turned around. Peaceful and beautiful views. Handful of people coming down from the Chicago lakes trail, but not overly crowded. Will probably do this again when I try the Chicago lakes trail. A bit slippery in spots with the colder weather coming, so have good shoes.

Parking is easily accessible. I turned around at the junction with Craig Park Trail (9 mi, 3000ft elevation gain round trip) due to the snow being a little deeper than my liking and my legs not wanting to trudge through anymore. I was also alone and had seen a TON of animal tracks. Didn’t see any people until I was on the way back down about 2 mi from the TH. Pretty diverse with the stream, aspens (who have lost their leaves) and evergreens. I’ll be back in the summer to go all the way up!

Gorgeous country and great hike. Very peaceful and the trail is certainly challenging at times.

8 days ago

The beginning of this trail was heavily logged, very few trees standing. There were a couple scenic segments and good views of the Breckenridge Ski area much of the way. This was a day hike for us. Only moderately enjoyable.

I did this trail and tracked it on my Fitbit, I knew my Fitbit would track the distance a little less than what the distance really is from my experience but it was a little more than six miles one way to Lake Verna from the East trailhead. It was totally worth it but I’m not sure what everyone is smoking to think it’s 12.9 round trip. I was tracking at least 15 Miles total. The sign at the trailhead can not be accurate unless it’s tracking the river that comes from the lake, before you actually get to the huge lake. We didn’t see any wild life and we were the only ones on the trail for a few hours. We started around 8:30am and arrived at 1:30pm. We headed back at 2:00pm and got to the parking lot around 5:30pm. It was beautiful but don’t underestimate the distance and the amount of hills that are required to climb to get to the lake.

We took the alternate route and met up w/ CT, Seg 1 @ Lenny’s rest. Stryker (my pup) and I spent the day on this trail. Beautiful aspens in the beginning feeding into quite a bit of elevation and some beautiful views. Lots of great camp sites.

Wonderful trail that’s just wild enough to be challenging! Great views the whole way up to the lake and a great lake it is! Access road is dirt and is probably not well suited for late season travel unless you have a good overlander

Great trail, but our tracker came up with 13 miles. probably better to go from copper to gold Hill. Slightly less strainuous.

Tough loop for me. Clouds rolled in on Spalding, almost turned back but as fast as the clouds appeared they disappeared.
Great hike, a little Cairn hunting on the back side of Mt Evans but nothing too bad.
The scree trail down is treacherous with out poles.
The thin air from the altitude is immediately noticeable.

hiking
20 days ago

**Started from the the Rock Creek Trailhead and did a total roundtrip of 8.5 miles** From beginning this side of the trail it was uninteresting and disappointing. It offered no view other than your typical dense pine forest. Honestly felt like you could have been anywhere. There there are so many more interesting trails than this one coming from this side. Not sure why people say this trail is ranked as "hard". It is not technical and a super gradual incline.

hiking
21 days ago

Wow. Today was one of those rare occurrences where parking wasn't really an issue. We arrived at the trailhead at about 11:30 a.m. and had our choice of parking spots. This is a great trail. There weren't too many people. However, I would say that it is a popular local and visitor trail. I saw lots of people without any gear just going for a short jaunt. You can backpack this trail and do a big loop with adjoining trails in the area. There were piles of gold everywhere on the forest floor. The Aspens were shimmering with every breeze and this glorious sunny fall day. There was a little rock scrambling to be head, boggy spots to maneuver through with care, and a Pixy land of overgrown ferns within huge stands of Aspen groves. One could easily loose the trail if not paying attention. The lakes along the way are really little ponds, but the entire hike has great vistas and ambiance. There are house sized, moss covered boulders, stone stair steps to climb (careful! they are steep) and a great creek crossing. The hike is about 5.2 miles. Moderate is a good rating. My 10 and 7 year old did it no problem. Keep eyes peeled. This is mountain lion, bear and Squatch country.

backpacking
22 days ago

Really fantastic hike from Surprise Trailhead to Upper Cataract Lake. About 11 miles round trip. From Surprise Trailhead to Surprise Lake, it is 3 miles of steady uphill. Then gets easy the rest of the way.

From Upper Cataract to Mirror it is about 2 miles, mostly downhill. Total, if you go a little past Upper Cataract to Mirror Lake you're looking at 14 miles round trip, with only about 3 miles of difficulty in the beginning.

Once you get to Upper Cataract Lake the trail diverges in multiple places but it finally comes together on the way to Mirror Lake. We found a campsite about .33 miles from Mirror Lake and used that but there are plenty of spaces around Mirror Lake and it is less crowded than Upper Cataract and not too much further.

Note: there is NO camping within 100 feet of the lakes and no fires allowed within .25 miles of any lake. Stoves are ok. There are few campsites within .25 miles of any lake, so be prepared to camp without a fire if it is crowded.

Garmin Activity Going Up:
https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/3055444761
Garmin Activity Going Back:
https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/3055454799

My favorite alpine hike especially in mid July when the wildflowers are out in abundance. STP is across the street from the trailhead for Mt. Beirstadt with all of the beautiful views but far less crowds. Square Top Lakes are below the summit and is another great hike but is far tamer. Both are a great way to spend the day!

The best time to visit is mid- July when the wildflowers are out in abundance and this year, they were spectacular. The trailhead is on the west side of Guanella Pass just opposite the trailhead for the highly trodden 14er Mt. Beirstadt. Square Top Peak is the 111th highest peak in Colorado. The terrain is somewhat rocky but the grade can be steep near the top. Views from the top are like any alpine peak, spectacular. But there is a bonus. Square Top Lakes are below and are also spectacular. For those wishing an easier hike, end the trip at Square Top Lakes. Although difficult, this is my favorite alpine hike. All the beauty of any 14er without the crowds.

hiking
26 days ago

We arrived around 8am and there were still some spots in the lot. We beat the gates opening, so we only had to pay $5. Keep in mind, the drive to the lake/parking lot is very high up and narrow. It's not for the faint of heart.

We had been watching the weather, but it was an absolutely perfect blue sky, Colorado day. The fall foliage was absolutely stunning. There wasn't much wind at the top.

The hike to Mount Spalding wasn't too intense. It climbs in elevation quickly, but if you take your time, you shouldn't be impacted by the altitude. There was only one area where we had to lift our pups up, just because there wasn't a good way for them to scale the rocks.

When you finish with Mount Spalding, you go down in altitude, before beginning your hike up to Mount Evans. While at a high altitude, it didn't climb quickly as you scaled the side of the fourteener. Be prepared to make your way across rocks without a visible trail in some areas. The dogs did great and it was a good first fourteener for them.

Use All Trails to find the route down after Mount Evans. You'll definitely miss it, if you don't. It's very steep and pebbly. Our pups were not fond of it on their paws.

Overall, a great fourteener with beautiful views and some challenging areas.

A very nice hike, especially if the sun is out. If you go just past the bunker at the end there are some amazing views of the valleys below. Definitely agree, make sure you layer up even if it's sunny!! Gets some decent wind chill sometimes.

Me and my pup loved this like - 2 lakes you can stop at, the perfect views 360, steady incline after you pass the last lake but it is so worth it! It’s all exposed so make sure you start early. I was there at 7:15am on a Sunday and plenty of parking. Like others said, it has its own parking lot!

We arrived at the parking lot around 8am and there were still a handful of spots. This means we also got to skip the Echo Lake pay station (opens at 8am) and only had to pay $5 at Summit Lake (there were park rangers checking the fees when we finished the hike, so yes, they do check).

We hiked this trail clockwise, which is the opposite of what is listed. I really enjoyed getting the uphill portion done quickly and having most of the hike be downhill after that. The turn off of the road onto the trail is not very obvious so the AllTrails App was helpful for that. It was very windy at the top of Evans, but the views were great and there were few people since the road already closed at Summit Lake for the season. The wind died down afterwards thankfully. We had a great time following the ridge over to Spalding and back to Summit Lake as it was just a gradual downhill hike while maneuvering through the rocks. This did require conscious foot placement to avoid tripping and following cairns as trail markers. We enjoyed this, but it is something to be aware before going of if you don't enjoy that in a trail.

Overall, a great experience and beautiful views with only a handful of people at the summits!

hiking
29 days ago

Hiked this route on Friday, September 21 on a clear sunny day when Denver was in the 80's. I arrived at the parking lot at 6.45 and was the first car there. Saw no one along the route until close to the first summit (there are two "summits") so my thought of being the first to the top that day were dashed. The hike to the first lake is easy and there is a second lake about half a mile further on. On reaching that lake I lost the path and so bushwacked up a steep slope to the left of the lake. I eventually reached the main track again. What I should have done was to turn left along the trail marked South Park 160 at the first lake. A short way along this track is the junction point for the start of the real ascent to Square Top Mountain. I only realized this during my return journey. From the lakes the hike is a real grunt up a steep slope. This will test your legs and fitness. I am 65 so my days of long hard hikes are coming to an end but I am proud to still be fit enough for this one. I had to stop frequently on the way up for short (30-60 second) breathers. We are talking about 13000 feet here so that should be no surprise even though I have lived at altitude for the last 30 years. The trail is not always well marked or easy to see and it is easy to end up tramping across the tundra - something I was loathe to do but there wasn't much choice about this. On reaching the first rocky summit the views are so amazing that one is tempted to stop right there. My All Trails app indicated that the end of the trail was further on at the second peak. That peak looks quite a ways off but it only took 15 minutes to get there and the extra uphill was a lot easier than it looked. I do tend to stop for photographs so my journey times are longer than if I solely hiked the route. I took 3 1/2 hours to get to the top and 2h 20 minutes to come down. The down part is about right but without stopping for photos I reckon 3 hours to the top would be more accurate. The descent will test your quads. I saw no large wildlife (bummer) but the solitude I had on this hike was totally worth it. Bierstadt was so much more crowded even at 6.45am. Ah the naiivety of youth! All in all, this is a quiet and beautiful hike although I rate it as HARD, at least by my standards.

9/18/18 fantastic hike that just keeps getting better as you go. Variety in the trail and hiking to the base of the Keyboard of the Winds and Longs worth it then throw in the magnificent Spearhead. Hard to beat, and Frozen Lake too! (Minus 1/10 star for wind).

Hiked this two weekends ago - had no trouble finding parking at the pass at 7:00am on a Sunday morning, though it seemed like the lot was filling up fast. No facilities/water up here so come prepared.

This was a fairly intense hike - best interval training ever! It's heartbreaking to give up so much elevation in the final push up Grizzly, but the views over each side the entire way make the effort worth it. Absolutely would be great training for a 14-er - in fact, there was even more exposed/high-angle scrambling on the ascent than any 14-er I've done. The ascent is steep, but the footholds are solid (it's not all loose scree) and the trail is easy to find.

Took a little less than 4 hours - we picked up the pace on the final push because it started to snow a bit and we were a little underdressed. In retrospect we should have brought an additional warm layer and gloves for everyone...

In sum, I really liked this hike. Great training, great views, not too crowded. 4 stars because it really is a slog, and the weather can be unpredictable.

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike, tough on lungs and legs. No scrambling at all. The pup loved it as it wasn’t all too rocky until the summit

The views and the high elevation gain intervals will take your breathe away. They call it Grizzly peak for a reason..the last 50-100 meters to the top is a fun, yet moderately difficult scramble forcing you to be on all fours until the peak. Great hike for sights, workout and some fun scrambling!

hiking
1 month ago

Awesome trail. Did it over Labor Day and still was quite empty. Could easily be considered hard due to length and elevation gain, but its all worth it for the variety of scenery. Although I saw a few 2wd sedans along the road to the trailhead, 4wd or at least something with clearance is recommended to get there.

Amazing hike. A little tough, especially if you’re not used to the elevation, but it has everything. Starts in a forest setting, crosses a couple of creeks and opens up above tree line. Shelf Lake at the top was a real treat and very few people.

Great and challenging, quick trail. Went last Friday (9/14) and I got to Echo Lake before 8a so I didn’t have to pay an entrance fee; but I did have to pay when I hit Summit Lake at the pay station ($5 so no biggie). The lot was open and not too many cars parked. I started the trail with my dog at around 7:30a and we finished around 11:00a even after we took the road down to the lot. The road up to the summit of Mt. Evans is closed so no one was on it. When I came back the lot of filled and overflowing with cars so definitely recommend getting there early. I also HIGHLY recommend abiding by the rules and KEEPING your dog on a leash and there are some spots you may have to hoist your dog up some rock or direct them on the rocky paths with the carins. Not to mention there are some steep drops close to the sides of the trail and many squirrels living in the rocks - so don’t risk letting your dog off the leash and having them take off on the side of the mountain!

Molly Lake Trail was closed, so we went back to this one. Very nice and easy trail with some stream crossings.

off road driving
1 month ago

Excellent trail. A little scary going down the back of Webster pass (on your way to the start of Red Cone) as if gets a little narrow in one specific spot but other then that it was an excellent trail with some great fall colors!
We did air down which made the ride a lot smoother and a little easier in the narrower spots. Also, the water in the river was low at the beginning of the trail.
Wasn’t too crowed when we went on Saturday . I love this trail!

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