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

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hiking
52 minutes ago

great hike, but we would recommend yak trax or similar foot wear. current conditions are snow packed and icy on about half the trail. not impassable, but coming down around 11am was a bit slick without extra traction. overall, it's all it's cracked up to be.

This trail was gorgeous! Hiked it 10/21/18, spikes would have been helpful and probably safer, the trail was icy. For parking, either get there early on a weekend or take a shuttle if you can, there isn't much parking and it gets competitive.

Hiked this today, I'd definitely recommend microspikes. I ran into a lot of people having very bad times on the trail with just shoes. Personally, I turned around right after the waterfall - lots of steepness/ice and I was a bit anxious since snow and ice earlier on the trail had started melting. I did run into a few people who either got to Lake of Glass or all the way to Sky Pond, so it's definitely doable if you know what you're doing.

8 hours ago

Great hike. Breathtaking views from the top. Worth the climb up to the tower at the end of the hike.

Glad I did this on a weekday. very crowded. however, the snow on the trail was slushy, so easy to get around. would recommend poles and/or spikes on a colder day. (we were 59 degrees)

great views and had a great time with my non climbing family.

One of the better beginner 14ers there are. Plan accordingly for the weather.

10/16/18 It was windy/cold with sunny skies. Used spikes at first but really not necessary especially when headed back to the car.

hiking
15 hours ago

Called RMNP ahead of time, and they suggested yak traks and poles. We had yak traks, and we were definitely happy we had them. Many spots (esp the ones w/ inclines) had packed snow/ice coverage, but some spots exposed to sun were just fine. Didn't need poles. Fantastic hike! Lake is frozen over. On a clear day, the variety of views on this hike always make this a great one!

Parking: we showed up at 8am and there were maybe 20 spots left. By the time we finished the hike at lunch time, people were waiting for spots. The shuttle is NOT running this time of year, so get there early to ensure a spot!!

Great for sightly more difficult family hikes.

One of our favorite 14er hikes thus far and absolutely our favorite Peak link-up! A few key points:
1. Make sure you have All-Wheel drive. The road leading up to the trail head is extremely rocky and unsafe for non-sport vehicles.
2. The trail gets fairly gravely and sandy towards the top of both peaks - so you need hiking boots if you don't want to be sliding everywhere on the descent.
3. Weather rolls in very quickly on all 14er peaks - so start your hike EARLY (8am at the absolute latest) and pack layers/gear to prepare for all weather conditions - high winds, rain, hail and snow.

hiking
17 hours 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.

10/20/18 Amazing Hike!! Views are insaneeeeee. Make sure you have a 4x4 and not an all wheel drive...BIG DIFFERENCE... We had to pull a mini out of a ditch on the road up to the trail head. Because of that we decide to park at the base which will add an additional 6 miles round trip to your hike. So plan for hitting a half marathon along with your 14er if thats the case. Our total mileage ended up being 13.7 miles. Because of the additional mileage and the time spent pulling the mini out of the ditch we were only able to hit Grays. Also if you want a more enjoyable hike make sure you bring krampons and walking poles. Krampons at a minimum. It was ice and snow for the entire duration of the hike.

Not keen with going down hill first, nice a shady for sunny day hikes.

Beautiful hike, lots of scenery and mountains all around you covered in snow. Parking lot (due to road closure) is 3.5 miles away from the lake Isabelle trailhead, entire hike ends up being 12.5 miles. Lake Isabelle is completely frozen over and looks immaculate. Expect a 5 and half hour hike. I would arrive early to get the best views and temperatures.

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

Took the dogs and kids. Amazing drive up, beautiful views. It’s a must.

Great little hike, plenty of kids managing it well. Was a little icy in spots, especially right before the lake, microspikes would have been handy.

Beautiful trail. Very scenic with the running water, bridges and foliage. The only downside was the walk from the parking lot to the trailhead. It was littered with dog waste so you had to be careful where you walked. Pet owners need to pick up after their pets.

Amazing hike, wonderful people and peaceful.

Love this trail! Short hike with beautiful view at the top!

hiking
1 day ago

Just finished the hike with my 4yo daughter! She loved it! She made it to Emerald Lake and then rode in the pack on the way back. I’ve made the Dream Lake hike prior but the extra distance to Emerald is absolutely worth it!!

We hiked Grays on 20OCT2018. First off, if you plan on hiking this trail later October 1st, make sure you drive a 4WD capable vehicle to make it to the parking lot unless you want to add 5+ miles to your hike.
Plenty of snow along the trail. We hiked it without spikes or poles and that caught up to us on the way down. Other than the snow, which was the biggest issue, the hike was gorgeous! Met a couple of friendly folks throughout the trail. Even picked up three on the road up. My girlfriend was 5 months pregnant and we did our gender reveal at the top. Great time going up, miserable going down. Beautiful views!!!!

Excellent mild hike. Good for groups of differing levels and capabilities. Parking was crowded on a Sunday afternoon.

on Emerald Lake Trail

hiking
1 day ago

We carried 2 babies in packs up to these lakes during heavy snow. There is steady elevation which may be difficult for people carrying kids or people who aren’t fully ready for the altitude, but the built in rewards of each lake made it a hike not to miss! It wasn’t too slippery even in the snow. It was definitely busy but don’t let that deter you!

My parents visiting from low altitude came along and they said the trail was definitely misleading being called “easy.” I agree... I think it is NOT an easy trail for inexperienced hikers or people brand new to altitude. It is probably best described as moderate.

This is a fun, easy going hike, with a couple of waterfalls on the way to the lake. There was plenty of snow but the weather was perfect. We were glad to have yak tracks - many people didn't look like they were having a good time on the way down because it was quite slippery.

Amazing hike! Trail was a little bit icy, we hiked mid October

Nice hike! Got there a little after eight and there were a few cars in the lot but I only saw three or four other people on my way up. A little icy about 3/4 of the way to the top but I did ok in just sneakers, just had to go a little slow on the way back down. Lovely views all around from the lookout. Seems like a good one to bring visitors to as it’s not too long but you get great views at the end.

The road is bumpy — you’ll definitely get jostled in a few places — but my Honda Accord made it up no problem and the beautiful drive through the forest more than made up for the bumps.

hiking
1 day ago

Challenging on the way up, but worth it. We hiked around 1pm and it took us 1.5 hours to get to the top. We encountered many other hikers. Unfortunately, this trail attracts a lot of people who don’t have respect for nature. It was hard to get a good picture with so many people around and it was even harder to enjoy with the amount of people talking around you. If I could do it again, i would go at 7 AM and avoid the crowds. This hidden little “lake” truly is a gem. Side note: it only took us 40 minutes to get back down.

**there is a separate account for “winter” trail, but this is the first account most people go to** Beautiful hike the entire way. As someone else mentioned the road to Brainard Lake is closed. From parking and back we clocked a round trip of 12 miles to get to Lake Isabelle and back to parking lot. The trail had nice packed snow 90% of the way, the last part before the lake is a little slushy and muddy being exposed to sun which can cause it to be a little slick, so careful if you have some limitations. The lake was completely frozen on 10/20.

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