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The Marvine Loop trail is nearly snow free and passable around the entire loop, as of a June 13-15, 2018 trip.

Amazing wildflowers and mountain views! Fantastic trip that was well worth the climbs to the top of each pass. Those are no joke for a flatlander like myself coming straight from Missouri!!

Did the trip in 3 short days and 2 nights. If you’re fit and willing 1 night is possible with an early start.

Plenty of water so never carried more then 1.5L between stops.

No sign of bears or much wildlife other then the marmots, birds, and ground squirrels. Saw a couple of deer run by camp one night but nothing else.

Trail is very easy to follow except around popular camping areas like Snowmass lake. Lots of side trails and crisscrossing so it took a bit to get back on the main loop. Not dangerous, just a little frustrating even with a GPS and topo map.

We stayed near Snowmass Lake at the group/campfire sites the first night going counter clockwise. Sites at the lake would have been better and avoided a long descent and climb back up to the main trail.

Second night was on the approach to Frigid Air pass just above the waterfall. Camping between Frigid Air and West Maroon pass would be possible but not ideal unless you really want to split the miles more evenly.

Bear canisters are required and they checked when we got there so be prepared.

The weather was mostly typical for Colorado summers. Cool nights, warm if the suns out and afternoon thunderstorms. We did have hail the first evening for about 20-30 minutes straight. Completely covered the ground!

A must do hike all in all!

I did this today as a solo dayhike in 8.5 hrs. It was among the best of many gorgeous hikes I've done in California. Awesome views much of the way, lots of lakes and creeks. Only 5 other hikers on the trail all day. I also made a detour to Nellie lake where I went for a quick swim to cool down.

10 days ago

This hike was gorgeous. I will say if you plan on just hiking to Disaster Creek and then heading back, then this if a relatively easier hike. However, you will need to be prepared with sunscreen and plenty of bug spray.

If you plan on doing the entire loop, this is not advised for beginning hikers or backpackers as this does require some off trail and very good preparation. Do not bring anything you absolutely do not need. This hike is totally worth it and I would recommend doing it over a 3 day period so you are not pushing yourself too hard any one day. This is important to consider as the altitude gets to you very quickly.

Quick tips:
1. Bring shoes you don't mind getting muddy
2. Bring strong bug spray
3. Start at disaster creek and end at Boulder Lake
4. Pack smart

Have fun!

11 days ago

Did the loop ccw, camped in refrigerator gulch first night and hiked out the next day. Most of the raging streams in the past were dwindled down to a trickle if nothing flowing at all. Many bridge crossings were done walking over the dry creek bed. Still plenty of options to refill on water just not as many in previous years.

Saw pronghorn, and a couple moose.

Spectacular. Went late June. Saw 12 people in four days (including a kind ranger). Did the loop counterclockwise, which is recommended unless you are otherwise itching to crawl/scramble/struggle up the skree of Sawtooth Pass. Camped Cliff Creek, Middle Lower Five Lakes, and Upper-Middle Lost Canyon. Mosquitos were out and about, but with the year’s lighter snowpack, we may have faced the worst of it. To be safe, bring ample Deet and invest in mosquito resistant clothing (including face netting). With some long stretches out of tree-cover, also bring ample sunscreen (though 3oz was more than enough for two of us).

If you’re young and/or in tip-top shape (and, more importantly, very prepared and carrying a light pack), you could do this in two days, though take caution with altitude sickness over some of these passes. Otherwise, take your time and enjoy this underappreciated escape.

Hard, but not overly painfully so. I have asthma and had to stop many times for air, but there was no need for a fast pace. Even with my slowness, we planned for four days but did it in there. Aside from normal backcountry gear, bring A LOT of sunscreen and zinc and GOOD mosquito repellant. Our GPS recorder logged significantly more miles than as posted on this and other trail sites. This map has the trail going in straight lines that do not exist. Expect closer to 35 miles maybe.

Day 1: Timber Gap Trail to Timber Gap. The trail is moderately steep out of the parking lot and continues so for some time. Reaching the top of Timber Gap has nice views with plenty of shade. Descend fast to the junction with Cliff Creek. This is the most psychologically challenging parts of the trip—to descend to below where you started and then have to climb for miles with a tall pass at the end of it. At the junction with Cliff Creek there is the most beautiful creek passing with several little pools. I wish it wouldn’t have been a waste to camp there, otherwise we would have. Have lunch. Walk along the creek and through the dry bed (which can be confusing—some cairns arranged; alternatively look for mule poop) as you pass epic waterfalls as you approach the switchbacks to climb to the Pinto Lake Area. At Pinto Lake, full water in stream that is clearly audible. Several campsites in front of and across the path from the bear box area. Choose a site on the rocks above the bear box—the breeze up there keeps the mosquitos away and the sunset is incredible.

Day 2: Fill your water. Then have fun figuring out how to get across the marsh and connect with the trail. Once you find it, begin the 3000 vertical feet in 3 miles to the top of Blackrock Pass. You’ll pass a steam going down the side of the mountain near the beginning of the climb up the switchbacks. Fill water here as it is the last water on this side and there won’t be mosquito free water for a bit on the other side. Then get ready—if you look straight up the mountain, slightly behind the stream, you can see the pass. It looks forever away. It sucked. I had to stop often (every 20-30 steps) to catch my breath. The grade is steep most of the way. But the views are the best views of the trip, as you see Columbine Lake and Spring Lake and the other lake across the valley. Take your time getting to the top and then enjoy the pass. The views are also quite good, as you look down on Little 5 lakes below. As you descend, turn around and look at the pass and you’ll understand why it’s called Blackrock—all of the rock to the right off the pass is sand colored. Get down, enjoy the view of the first couple of Little 5 lakes from above, but then put on your turbo boosters and get past them as fast as possible—horrible mosquitos. There is a creek draining from one of the lakes at the trail junction that takes you to the ranger station. Bugs were slightly less horrible there if you need water. Continue onto Big 5. You’ll hit a junction for Lower or Upper Big 5. Just know that if you choose Lower Big 5, you likely won’t come back to see Upper Big 5–there are quite a few switchbacks on the one mile trail to lower Big 5 and elevation to get back up to Upper Big 5 would suck. Lower Big 5 has some nice camping spots near the bear box and other spots across the lake on a small shoulder above where we were told there was a nice pond. AND YOU CAN HAVE FIRES HERE! Remember—no wood larger than you’re forearm.

Day 3: We had a leisurely morning of breakfast, a couple of swims, cards, and snacks. We slowly packed up, departed at 1230, and began the moderate climb to start, then mostly easy going hike to the end of Upper Lost Canyon. The creek and valley are absolutely stunning with Sawtooth and a couple other peaks in the background. We camped at a small, cleared area just a few switchbacks up the trail at the start of the climb to Columbine. We were directly next to one stream with another up the side of the mountain. Take your time along here—you’re in no rush and the valley is picturesque.

Day 4: after sleep, the hike up to Columbine from the base of the switchbacks wasn’t too bad—took maybe 45 minutes. The views are incredible; you can see the switchbacks up Blackrock Pass Trail. Contrary to what the rangers say, there are plenty of camping spots up there. When you reach the lake, follow the trail to the right, over the stream and you’ll find over a dozen great spots. The hike up to the pass is steep and challenging in sections, but the views are top notch and scree skiing down the mountain is so, so fun. Gaters and poles are a must for the descent. There isn’t really a trail for a while, so just choose a good skiing spot and keep your eyes open for the use trail toward the bottom on the way to monarch lake.

An extraordinary, beautiful, world-class hike with every feature. Recommend 2 nights, 3 days to enjoy fully.

24 days ago

This is rated as extremely difficult, and let me tell you- they ain’t lying. This is basically a challenge of man vs God. The majority of the loop is an uphill leg rape and the downhill part offers so little shade even my Mexican friend turned red. However, the trip was good, mostly cause of the company I was around. We met some PCT hikers which was-interesting- to say the least. There’s a beautiful lake next to the most perfect shaded camping spot around the 12 mile mark next to a gorgeous open green field that b**** a** Jerm didn’t want us to camp at. There are also some other nice spots to stop and pitch a tent at, if you know what I mean. Bring plenty of water or make sure the guy with the purifying pump doesn’t have bionic legs and treating this hike like a race to find the cure for cancer. Overall, between the blisters on my feet, the constant leg cramps and the overall feeling of misery- I had enough of this trail by the time I made it back to the truck. Would recommend you do this ONCE and pick bowling as your next outing.

25 days ago

3 of us completed the loop clockwise in 2 ½ days. We started at the Goose Creek trailhead. Day 1 was all uphill and we had to put in about 2 hours of night hiking to reach a campsite with good water. We didn’t start until 3PM though. Day 2 was a mix of both up and down hill but mostly downhill. The views were absolutely stunning. We camped day 2 in Reservoir Gulch. Excellent camp site and good water. Day 3 was the last 4-5 miles out. We were back at the trailhead where we put in well before noon. Easy day 3 hike. We read a lot of posts from others on this trail beforehand. I definitely recommend going clockwise. The first 7-9 miles will be very challenging but the rest of the hike is much easier and the views are incredible. If we did this again I’d start early morning, but that’s it. Have fun!

This trail was probably too ambitious for our group of 3 casual backpackers ages 20, 27, and 57. ( The 20 year old had the toughest time due to altitude).

The scenery is fabulous. There are wonderful campsites. We saw a moose. The trail conditions are real sketchy in a lot of places. Be prepared to do some bouldering. The whole loop should take you more than 3 days if you are not an expert. We went CL and took a short cut through Lost Creek Trail back to Wigwam Creek Trail.

I do not recommend the southern 2 miles of Lost Creek Trail. We made it without incident, but it's treacherous in spots. We needed our rope, and guidance from other hikers who knew the route. We were scared of being stuck with no safe way out, but we did fine and had a nice trek.

We had fun. If I did this trip again, I would plan 4 to 5 days for the whole loop, or make it a shorter out and back route. I you are up for a big challenge at high altitude, go for it!

1 month ago

Hiked this trail clockwise and thought the best views were at the end; although It had a longer, steeper hike to reach these views. Also, was nice to have the six easy miles at the end. A lot of people were hiking in the opposite direction.

Ended up being closer to 29-30 miles for us. We didn’t see any wildlife. Water was a little harder to find, so we made sure to fill up when we came across water. We did this hike in two long days. Was amazing. Would totally recommend.

This loop was more difficult than I anticipated and more beautiful than I could have imagined. The pictures don't do it justice. The altitude and the grade of the slopes make it difficult and the distances were longer than what is stated on the trail guides. I tracked my progress with my Garmin GPS watch and racked up considerably more distance than indicated on the maps. Maybe the maps don't account for the switchbacks or when the trail goes up and down in elevation? The snow also added to the difficulty and made it a bit more dangerous. I think I could do the loop more easily now that I know what lays ahead of me and I also think it would be easier when the snow melts off the slopes. I highly recommend this trail. Its one of those adventures that will make you ask "What was I thinking" during the hike and a week after you get home and recover you'll be trying to figure out how you can return and do it again.

I took this loop CW starting at the Lost Park TH, took me a day and a half to finish. I camped about 2 miles outside refrigerator gulch (12 miles from TH) on goose creek trail in a lovely little aspen grove. CW direction definitely saves the best for last in my opinion, but comes with steep elevation gain coming from refrigerator gulch that you have to be prepared for (think 3000 feet over about 4 miles). However, the payoff at the saddle is so rewarding, and the last 6 miles are easy meandering downhill. Beautiful aspen groves, lovely ponds, and some amazing rock formations. Looked decent if you like fly fishing as well, I saw some nice sized brookies before my dog jumped in and scared them away. Overall a beautiful hike, I plan on returning in the fall when the aspens are changing.

A few trail notes:

Black flies and mosquitos were bad at lower elevation, so bring a net and/or some spray.

Refrigerator Gulch has a lot of side trails that lead to campsites, I recommend using a trail guide here because I got lost for about 30 minutes trying to find the real trail.

I never had an issue finding water but about 6 miles of Brookside McCurdy (ascending and descending the summit to the Ute Creek intersection) were dry. Keep an eye on your water supplies and refill as often as possible.

I didn’t see any large wildlife at all, but that could be because I have a pretty barky dog. I spoke to a couple who swears they saw a mountain lion about 20 ft from their campsite on McCurdy trail. Moose are also prevalent here. Just be smart, know your wildlife, and hang your food at night!

Great trip! We started out on the Baker Lake Creek Trail. This is a well-maintained trail with gradual inclines. Shady. Lots of water. We were really impressed with it. We camped at Baker Lake and then made our way up to the saddle the next morning. There were cairns to guide our way up. There was snow on the right-hand side, but it was dry on the other. This wasn't too hard, and was easier than we thought it would be. At the top of the saddle we dropped our packs and hiked up to Pyramid Peak. Again, this was not as difficult as we though it would be. Only the strong winds and elevation made it strenuous. Came back down and made our way down the saddle's other side. This was a little sketchy, as there was snow. We made our way around the snow and picked our way down. There was lots of loose dirt and rocks the first 1/4 of the way down. Slid a few times. The trail became clear after that and was much less steep. Not sure if there's a better way than the way we went. Made our way down to Johnson Lake and then down the rest of Baker Lake Creek Trail that hooks up with South Fork Baker Creek and Timber Creek. We took the way that connects to Timber Creek Trail and met up with the trailhead at the end.

Did half of it late may, I had to take the shortcut at sawtooth since I was doing this as a day hike. Went counterclock. I think it'd be doable to do the whoel thing as day hike without the snow, but with the snow it was very hard to have good speed. There is some pathfinding needed. And sawtooth is really hard to climb because of the terrain. The shortcut was hard to negotiate due to snow and lack of marks, but it was fun.

Started at Lost Park TH and hiked the loop clockwise. Passed about 20 people over the 2 days I spent hiking, which was more than I expected, being a Tuesday/Wednesday. The refrigerator section was gorgeous! Plenty of water for refilling. No snow on the trail, just some patches next to the trail here and there. I recorded and uploaded the I’ll loop, but didn’t pause it for many of my breaks, so the timing is off. The full loop is almost 29 miles, which doesn’t seem like much until you get to mile 27 and realize you have 2 more to go. All in all it was a beautiful hike!

1 month ago

Started at Wigwam 609 and went clockwise. Didn't do the entire loop but made it about 22 miles in and out. No snow, not a terrible amount of traffic either. We did see a young bull moose that did become aggressive and charged our camp. Thankfully our dog was pretty loud and it seemed to deter the moose. Friendly reminder to always be prepared in the back country! If you do happen to see a moose, be prepared! A number of people over the weekend saw moose. No other reports of aggression.

1 month ago

We started the trail at the goose Creek entrance and initially planned on taking the trail counter clockwise but a missed turned had us take in clockwise which inevitably we were really glad we did. Taking the trail clockwise guarantees better and better views each day, which we spent three completing the trail.
The first day we went in 10 miles and the trail remained flat for the first 6 and then had rolling hills an and elevation gain at the end. You spend the second day making your way into refrigerator gulch and then proceed to go up and down, hitting a low point of the valley each time. The last 3 miles are spent doing rigorous uphill and steeply gaining elevation. By the third day we had 11 miles to exit the trail, 5 of which were rolling and then slight bits of elevation gain towards summiting and then lots of downhill and flat.
The difficultly of this trail lies in the fact that most of the elevation you gain is gained over short distances, meaning you'll increase 600-1000ft in elevation over a mile, making those small parts especially hard, but for the most part the trail is rolling or flatter, especially entering and exiting.
10/10 would recommend as every campsite we stayed at was beautiful and finally sumiting the 3rd day provided insane views.

1 month ago

Has anyone attempted this trail recently? I am planning a trip here on June 13, 2018 and looking for condition reports. Thanks!

Started the loop at Goose Creek TH and hiked CCW in 2 days. No snow at all. We camped somewhere along the McCurdy Trail - campsites near water were totally overrun but plenty of dry camping. No water from Brookside-McCurdy/Ute Creek junction all the way to ~1 mile down Hawkins Pass Trail (assuming you head east on Lake Park toward Tarryall Peak).

This hike is a departure from most of the views I've encountered while backpacking in Colorado. We even saw a bull yearling moose! Would have done it over 2 nights if we had more time because there are so many excellent campsites.

One of my favorite places I’ve ever hiked. It’s difficult, but worth the views.

An amazing trek! These trails will really make you enjoy the wilderness. Plenty of creeks and seasonal streams, the meadows are breath taking, and the peaks are inspiring. Though we only saw 1, these trails are frequented by deer and elk, as evidenced by the tracks that we followed almost the entire way. The only signs of civilization come once you hit the 4x4 roads and some of the camp sites attached to them. It was peaceful, it was tough, it was worth every step!

2 months ago

Not sure how to rate this trail because of the different segments. We did it 5/12-13/2018. Very minimal snow on trail. It is a difficult loop. If the elevation changes were better detailed, one would be better mentally prepared for the trip. Incredible scenery is all over this hike. Great and reliable water supply is available through almost all of the trip. This would be a great three day loop, especially if you are going clockwise on this loop.

We tried to enter the loop at the Lost Park trailhead; however, the gate at the Long Gulch trailhead (9 miles away) was closed. Instead of walking 9 miles down the road, we chose to enter at Ute Creek trailhead off of Tarryall Road. This makes the loop 9 miles longer. 4 1/2 miles up to Brookside-McCurdy. We did the loop counterclockwise and are thankful we did. From the Ute Creek trailhead, this hike is a steep and long climb to the Bison Peak saddle. We had two days to do the loop, so we were pushing to try and get to water along the Goose Greek Trail. We did not make it to water and had a dry camp. We barely made it to the intersection of Goose Creek and McCurdy Park Trail. (18+ miles). The map on AllTrails shows the total elevation loss, but not all of the up and down on the trail., especially on the McCurdy Park trail. (AMAZING ROCK FORMATIONS ALONG THIS PORTION OF THE TRAIL). You will work getting to Goose Creek intersection. If you were doing this loop in a clockwise direction, the Mc Curry Park trail will be incredibly difficult. It has significant climb.

The second day, although longer (21+) was much easier hiking. The meadows were beautiful. We were hoping to see more wildlife than we did, but the scenery was great. Lots of water and great campsites along the Wigwam trail. Hard to believe there are such large open spaces in the Rockies like this meadow (8 miles long). Turning south and heading back up the Brookside-McCurdy Trail was a nice gradual climb to the intersection with the Ute Creek trail. The long, steep downhill was really tough on the legs at the end is such a long day.

Scenically, this loop is worthy of five stars. I don’t think I will do this loop again, but only because there are too many other places to backpack.

Very hard excruciating, not just difficult. very steep and rocky but the river was gorgeous with early spring run off. you follow the river the whole way. Snow was dangerous. some places 3 feet on the steep trail.

This trail was an experience!! Our group backpacked through here for 3 days and loved it. It was the most challenging trail I've done personally but was easily the most rewarding. After each trial you seem to be rewarded with dream-like views. Highly recommended!

Lost GPX file so had to draw it out. Much more strenuous than the 17 miles (GPX file read ~25 miles) and 5000 vertical feet described. First and last 6 miles (on trail up to Lamarck Col and down from Muriel Lake) are fine but everything in between is scrambling, talus, shale, route finding. All class 3, sometimes having to take off packs etc. Still worth it for the views of Darwin Canyon if you don't have time for the 55 mile North Lake to South Lake loop. Doable in 3 days but don't underestimate the route finding/talus/boulder fields.

10/10. Loved every step of this trail. I suggest counter clockwise. The climb up trail raider from clockwise direction looked miserable. Glad I was going down!

Great trip. Going over black rock pass is challenging but completely worth the effort to get to little five lakes on the other side.

Second time on this loop in September with friends. Campsites were crowded around Snowmass Lake. Pics from the trip: https://www.flickr.com/photos/geoffreydgraham/albums/72157688773204146

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