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Hiked this trail on Wednesday. It was very icy with lots of snow. Road getting to the trailhead was rough too! Better have a high clearance vehicle for this one. Came across a moose and her calf 1/4 mile from the trailhead. They were very close so got some good pics of them. Didn’t seem to mind us at all but they were blocking the trail and I know moose can be aggressive so we made a wide left around them just in case! Very scenic hike but I wouldn’t recommend it this time of year. Snow packed and icy.

trail running
8 hours ago

It’s short but a very fun and rewarding workout. Great views from the top. Hop on the Switzerland trail at the trailhead if you want to add on some mileage.

10/19/18 Started at 11 back by 2 with plenty of rests. Snow on 90% of the trail. Microspikes and poles would’ve been helpful. Only saw a few people the whole way. Great views the whole hike. 1st mile is straight up but after that a bit easier and beautiful scenery.

Since last weeks Snow, we brought crampons and poles which made both the accent and decent so much more enjoyable There were people who had to turn around because they didn’t have enough traction.

Breathtaking trail. Went there for the sunrise. Unforgettable moment.

Third time hiking this trail (first during winter and the second during summer). Despite it being mid-October, there was still a lot of snow on the upper two-thirds of the trail, so definitely bring appropriate gear and be prepared to stay out all day; it's a very long trek. Mirror Lake was frozen over but there are some nearby streams to get fresh water, if needed. Also, the gate to access Monarch Lake trailhead was open, but I know they close it as it gets close to winter so double-check this before heading out, as it can add an extra 2 miles (round trip) to the hike. Otherwise, beautiful hike - one of my favorites in Colorado.

Beautiful views! Hardly anyone on the trail once you get up the first steep incline. Our dog loved it!

hiking
10 days ago

This hike is one of my favorites. The beginning of the trail is lined with many dead trees. But, the ground cover and aspens are gorgeous in the fall! There is about a mile of steep incline. Otherwise the trail is fairly moderate. The last lake is about a mile from the first lake, but it is definitely worth the time and steps!

Awesome trip up! We are beginners and have only hiked the past two days and this was super challenging but well worth it. Views are incredible

I did this 13er with my wife when we were visiting from KY. It is very manageable, and has some great views.

hiking
12 days ago

Most beautiful hike I've even been on. The reward at the top is unbelieveable. I've never seen anything like it. The wildflowers were blooming like crazy when we went in the end of August. It was very difficult for us being from Nebraska due to the elevation but I would do it again!

We were looking for a lake hike not far from our house and this looked like a good candidate. The Guanella pass road was still open so we took it, and then drove the Naylor Lake Road up to the upper parking lot, shaving about a mile off of the total distance of the trail. I'd highly recommend AWD or 4WD. We did it in our Jeep in 2WD but that road can get slick really quick. As we were driving through the Guanella pass road we realized that there was a light coating of snow at the top, and assumed that there would be a little snow up where we were headed, glad we packed warm. The hike was fairly easy, with a skim coat of ice on some of the areas where water came off the mountain and pooled in the low spots. We were glad that we had our trekking poles if only for a couple extra points of contact. About 2/3rds of the trail is above treeline and is exposed to the elements. The wind started to kick up fiercely as we made it to Silver Dollar lake and continued to Murray Reservoir. The views were obstructed somewhat from the low ceiling, but it was still worth the hike.

I'll have to come back sometime in the spring to check and see if there are any nice looking trout in those lakes!

This hike was incredible! Did it on 10/6. Road going up is a little wild, but not too terrible. Lots of snow at the top, still enough that you can walk on top. But I didn’t have hiking boots and my feet got pretty wet. Stunning stunning views!! You park at the Fourth of July trailhead.

I went last week. Weather was perfect. If you don’t have 4WD, turnoff the highway and go down the hill. Park after the bridge and hike up to the trail (~1 mike).

Trail is steep for the first 2 - 2.5 miles once you get to the trail head. First 2 miles are a series of switch backs and then you climb uphill after that. Once you reach the top of the hill, you descend a bit and it flattens off until you reach the lake where there is a slight uphill.

The lake is gorgeous! It’s much bigger and less populated than Ice Lake.

Careful going down. The trail is steep and covered in loose rock. I had hiking poles and went slow but still managed to totally wipe out a couple of times.

The hike was great but the scenery leading up to the lake was okay (Ice Lake was better). The lake is surrounded by mountains so you also don’t get a view of the mountains like Ice Lake.

10 miles if you park after the bridge and 8 if you start at the trail head.

Beautiful trail, the Aspens were bright gold. Some of the trail was heavily trafficked but it was never a problem. I am not a very seasoned hiker but I would not rate this trail as Hard. The first two miles are nice wide paths with a slight incline. The last mile to the Crater Lakes is steep, but not difficult.

EPIC!!!! There is really nothing I can say, nor are there pictures I can show that will accurately describe this hike. You just have to go and see it for yourself. Such an amazing lake, even more beautiful than Ice Lakes. There are plenty of peaks all around Columbine Lake to summit and you will see other lakes as well as gorgeous mountain ranges that seem to go on forever.

As others have mentioned, be prepared for a grueling first 2 miles. The switchbacks are steep and feel like they keep going, and then when you get out of the trees you will see how steep and high of a mountain you have to climb, basically straight up. After that, it’s nice and easy hills with spectacular views before you hit the last little incline that takes you to the lake. Get through those 2 miles and you will be rewarded with an experience that is unrivaled.

Went on 9/29/18 and the weather was gorgeous. Bring layers. Gets hot on the hike up and can get a little windy at times. Never needed a jacket, just one long sleeve to go over my short sleeve when it was windy up top. Mostly just had hiking pants and a short sleeve tee on.

This hike was truly incredible. Went on 9/28/18. Amazing views, so much to do, waterfalls to climb while on you’re way up, etc. Weather was perfect!!Getting to see that beautiful blue water was so worth all the effort to get up there. Pictures can’t show how clear and blue it really is. I highly recommend hiking the summit peak directly behind Ice Lakes. You will have a great birds eye view of the lake, you can see the other side of the mountain, and I got LTE up there to make a FaceTime call!

Take plenty of water and snacks. The hardest part is the very end of the hike as it becomes really steep before you hit the ice lake. I will definitely be back!

As beautiful as this lake was, I say Columbine Lake was even more beautiful and there was more to explore and do. We went on back to back days and I highly recommend both!

Great hike with beautiful views. If you have to park in the lower lot, plan on walking an extra mile or so RT. We arrived around 8:30 on a Sunday morning and the lot and path were pretty empty on the way up—not so much on the way down. Lots of friendly dogs, too!

hiking
20 days ago

The best hike I have ever done - and I've been on many hikes throughout the US. The bluest blue I have ever seen in a lake - rivals Crater Lake in Oregon. Definitely worth the lack of oxygen... Took us around five and a half hours round trip with many many stops to catch our breath and take in the scenery. We are in our early 30's, pretty good physical shape, but we're flat landers from below sea level so the elevation change really tired us out... bring plenty of water (we ran out of 2L before the end of the hike) and snacks.. best to come early so that you can take your time and stop as often as needed. Listen to your body especially if you are from below sea level. Saw many dogs and a few kids doing the trail as well. The first lake is within 2.25 miles of the start and the 2nd lake (Ice lake) is another mile after that at around 3.5. My app calculated 7.20 miles round trip. There is another lake after Ice lake but we didn't have time nor energy to get there.

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!

hiking
20 days ago

Amazing! Recommend to anyone. Be prepared and start early, met many hikers that did not bring enough water and food.

backpacking
21 days ago

No overnight parking at the trailhead. There are signs posted at the parking area, and Silverthorne police does patrol and enforce.

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.

backpacking
21 days ago

One of the most beautiful hikes that I’ve ever gone! Prime color season so it was amazing.

BEST HIKE EVER! Be prepared for a long and strenuous hike that takes you through a variety of terrains and believe it or not, you are going to wind up on the back side of LONGS Peak. That was the best part of the hike. We hiked to Mills Lake, then to Black Lake and then to Frozen. The problem is that we didn't actually get to Frozen Lake. Read the other reviews. There is not a well-marked trail to Frozen Lake. It was nearly 2:30 in the afternoon and we were frustrated. I would say me and my hiking buddy actually argued and it put a damper on the hike down because we could not find the trail to Frozen Lake. There are bits of cairns here and there but nothing that clearly delineates the trail. However, I now know exactly where the trail is. Once you get to the last field that's tundra-like and you're in treeline ... if you look to the right you'll see this massive pointed glacier-like-rock and you literally just start scrambling up that side of it and you will make it to Frozen Lake. In fact, the word is that there is another smaller lake next to Frozen Lake. In fact, the huge (dry) glacier I mention is what you'll be looking at for most of this hike. You will up at the base of that massive rock and Frozen Lake lies up above it. I will tackle this mountain again!!!

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.

Rocky covered with scree a d talus. Trailhead at about 12000, well above treeline. Easily accessible from hwy 285 just south of Fairplay north on County Road 18. Travel on this dirt road until a closed gate parking along the road in front of the gate where ever available. Parking is suitable for a weekend crowd. The dirt road is flanked by a healthy forest of limber and bristle cone pines. There is a short trail called Limber Pine Trail along the way that flanks a creek filled with willows. Great for possible moose sightings. The hike from the closed gate to the summit of Mt. Sherman is about 2.5 miles and about 2100 feet elevation gain. There is a very short area of exposure along the ridge near the top as well as strong winds.There are two false summits as well. Like any alpine peak, the view from the summit dismisses all experiences of wind rocks and fatigue. Great hike for a first 14er. It was considerably easier than most of the other alpine hikes I did this past summer. Sadly, I missed the wildflowers on this peak due to the lateness of the season.

This was our first every high altitude hike and we loved it. We started around 9ish and took 3 hours to get all the way up. Weather was pretty crazy today with winds at 20 mph but the gusts felt to be even higher once we hit the plateau before the finial ascent to the summit. Once you make it to the finial bolder field to the summit the trail was hard to find and we ended up scrambling to find our way. All in all great hike and we are so glad we did it. Total time was 5.5 hours.

Nice hike accurately described. Great views once above tree line (about 2/3 of the trail, each way).

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