Explore Packbacking 2017 - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Packbacking 2017 Map
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backpacking
7 days ago

Very difficult back quarter of the trail was hard to follow disappearing in some spots but it was still a stunning hike.

The road is currently pretty impassible. I tried to get out there today with my 4WD Wrangler and ended up getting stuck in the deep snow along the sides. You could maybe get out there with a snowmobile or a 4WD that has chains but the snow really makes you fishtail, is slushy and deep in a lot of places, and feels like it's going to throw you off the road. The drive toward Yampa was gorgeous though so I can't wait until summer when the snow is gone to get back out here!

hiking
12 days ago

I really love this hike. I went up in early June last year. The first week I went there was a significant amount of snow. The next weekend had zero snow. Very scenic, away from any road noise and not very busy. There were a ton of downed trees in the trail but I had fun getting over them. There are also a few water crossings and one or two that are challenging. I would recommend wearing shoes that can dry out quickly in case you fall in. I wouldn't say this is a terribly difficult hike, I've gone up with friends that aren't fit and it just required more breaks. The lake itself is beautiful and totally worth the trek. I'd like to backpack up here this summer.

trail running
1 month ago

Didn’t actually make it up! The east access road is currently closed off to traffic. Didn’t know how to update that without a review! I’m sure it’s a splendid running trail though!

hiking
2 months ago

Amazing hike through beautiful alpine meadows with wild flowers and marmots. The lake is stunning!

backpacking
2 months ago

This was a great challenge with a huge payoff!

hiking
4 months ago

Was up there this week on Wednesday the 22nd of November. I hiked up to the falls at first and that was a piece of cake. The falls around about 4km one way and then I hiked towards the lake. Did not need any special gear. Had solid 3 season La Sportiva waterproof booths and great hiking / also use them for skiing north face summit series pants. Since I forgot my gaiters a taped my ankles with a lot of masking tape. All he Way from the shoe up to my knee. This served as my gaiters. Past the falls I was was the only one and also the first to do a snow pack. There was no need for crampons (maybe snow shoes) and I did struggle in terms of a more strenuous effort of going up. It was heavier on my stamina. I turned around about 0.4 miles from the lake or so. Like someone in the comments below suggested they saw the trail end there lol! I turned because it was 3pm and I needed time to go get down + room for extra light in case of an injury. I had a drone with me so I flew up from the spot I was in and got to see the lake that way :) I was really close but at the end it was just snowing + getting dark + the snow in some parts was chest deep without any trail or snow pack to follow. Kinda bummed out since I was so close but all an all great hike. I think this hike in the summer is a peace of a cake. Curious if you can hike from the lake to one of the peaks? Does anyone know ? Cheers! My time was 3 hours up (including a lot of photography) and 30 minutes down (full on running)

hiking
5 months ago

Completed this hike in both the summer and winter. Yesterday I attempted to make it to the lake but there was a lot of snow, I was not properly prepared. The trail to the falls was snowy but doable without spikes/traction devices. Past the falls the trail was barely trafficked and my spikes were necessary. The trail disappeared about 0.25 miles from the lake and the snow was thigh high in some places. Trekked through it for a bit but I eventually had to turn around (no snow pants or snow gear with me). On the way down I saw a lot of people struggling to make it to the falls without spikes/ traction devices. Highly recommend them for the second half of the trail in the winter months.

hiking
5 months ago

Cottonwood pass is currently open to the trailhead as of 11/18. There’s a LOT of snow on the pass and the trail. You would need 4WD and high clearance. No one else was on the trail though! Really nice hike with great views of surrounding 14ers. Lost the trail about 3/4 of the way up due to snow and down trees.

hiking
5 months ago

Went with a big group with ranging hiking skill levels. Everyone had such a blast - it was a very gradual incline that I'd consider easy. There's some snow on the ground, so be careful. Great views of some lakes surrounded by 14ers.

Great hike. Garmin has it at 10.7 miles. Starting to get a little windy and cool. Make sure you start early because by noon rain clouds and lightning develop. It took us roughly 5 1/2 hours to do the round trip with stops and lunch. It is approximately an hour and a half drive to trail head from Steamboat Springs. Elk hunting season has started so be aware this is a heavily hunted area and you may want to avoid it during rifle season.

6 months ago

A beautiful place to be, conveniently close to town as well. If you've got the stamina to rock this trail then do it...great view of holy cross while going up to the lake. Most people stop at the falls a few miles in - it's very worth it to keep going. Big family of marmots live up top at the lake and they will surely be scoping you out and talking to each other!

backpacking
6 months ago

first time backpacking in Colorado. very scenic hike that follows a stream for a good portion. lake was really relaxing and stunning with the snow capped mountain in background.

hiking
6 months ago

Came back to do this hike in the fall for the changing color aspens and was SO worth it. The aspens were still almost full blazing color changes of yellows, oranges, and reds it was so beautiful. It snowed earlier in the week so as we got higher up there was some snow to trek through and then the weather got funky so we headed back before we got to the lake but we will be back (probably next fall) for the colors and to try and finally get to that lake.

Loved this hike!!!

Challenging first half of the hike and the causeway is a bit scary but it's all well worth it!

Great trail. Good for a quick easy backpacking trip.

Hiked mid-September.Made it to the lake in 2hr 30min, spent 20 min at the lake, and 1hr 50min back to the car. I didn't really stop to take any breaks outside of taking photos. I was the 3rd car in the parking lot on a Friday morning at 7:30. Had the lake all to myself, but crossed paths with dozens of people on the return hike and the parking lot was completely full. Aspen leaves just starting to change but wild flowers are few and far between. Beautiful views and the lake is the highlight. The falls were nice but tough to get a good view or decent photo. Be prepared for a long climb!

hiking
7 months ago

Absolutely love this trail! Beautiful views pretty much everywhere. Aspens and bushes are changing colors. Keep going past that first lake to Ptarmigan lake at the top.

The road west of the trail is closed, but access to the east from BV is open. Plenty of parking on the road near the trailhead, even though we got there relatively late in the day. Pretty much the definition of a moderate hike. The trail wasn't heavily populated. Views up top were incredible...14ers everywhere you look, mountain lakes, you name it.

hiking
7 months ago

Great hike. Great view. Great for prepping for narrow bridges, in my case Angels Landing in Zion next week :) I only did thru the causeway and back which was around 6 miles + round trip. No protection from lightening/storms, make sure you weather watch. Relatively easy/moderate hike, until the last 1.8ish miles which is up up up. Lots of sheep on the trail, so if you have dogs, be sure to leash up, the herding dogs are very vocal. More info, this is the best website:
http://www.rockymountainhikingtrails.com/devils-causeway.html
There are no real signs, so please remember to stay right at both forks to complete the loop

Great hike. Garmin has it at 10.7 miles. Starting to get a little windy and cool. Make sure you start early because by noon rain clouds and lightning develop. It took us roughly 5 1/2 hours to do the round trip with stops and lunch. It is approximately an hour and a half drive to trail head from Steamboat Springs. Elk hunting season has started so be aware this is a heavily hunted area and you may want to avoid it during rifle season.

Awesome hike! Had a yellow belly marmot come right up to me while sitting on a rock overlooking the lake.

backpacking
7 months ago

Decent elevation gain. Well planned trail. A lot of traffic on the weekends.

my dogs loved this trail. beautiful.

I am a bit out of shape, so the trail was a bit challenging for me. I'm so glad I completed it. The views were so worth the work!

I highly recommend this hike for the diversity of the landscapes you get to see along the way. The altitude was a little hard for me but you can take your time and enjoy the view. This was my first trip to the Flat Tops and I can't wait to go back.

backpacking
7 months ago

Definitely more difficult than I expected. Especially for my first time backpacking. Pretty area with lots of camping spots (no fires, unfortunately). Make sure you go the extra few miles to Upper Cataract!

Astounding hike. We did the 10 mile loop in ~6 hours, including lunch breaks and a ton of stops for us unaccustomed to the altitude. the hike to DC was demanding but beautiful. the causeway itself was maybe the most terrifying thing I've ever done, but the feeling you get afterwards is incredible. The back 6 miles are incredible and easy, and you're rewarded with some solitude after the DC crossing. can't recommend it enough

Great hike in beautiful area. Mountain lakes are so nice and this is a steady easy climb. Do not miss turn at lower lake.....bear right after lower lake that is on the right...several were searching for trail to upper lake...Ptarmigan.

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