Explore Summer 2016 - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Summer 2016 Map
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Did this hike on Friday 8/17 and loved it. Do keep in mind that you either need a National Park Pass to get in or you have to pay $11. At 9 am there were quite a few cars, but I didn’t actually see that many people on the trail until I was heading down around 1130. So, highly recommend getting there a bit earlier to have more of the trail to yourself. It’s a very well-groomed National Park trail, so doesn’t feel as remote or backcountry but is also very easy to follow. I also highly recommend going up to Little Blue Lake. The trail gets less clear as you ascend above Blue Lake, but if you keep going up and around Blue Lake to the right you’ll find it. Me and my dog had Little Blue, right at the base of Mt Toll, all to ourselves. It is really gorgeous up there. Will definitely be doing this one again.

Got to the trailhead just before 7pm Thurs night with my buddy and hiked up to treeline. Used headlamps until we found a good spot to camp, and hit the hay by 10pm. We got up later than we had planned around 5:45am, and made our way to the summit. This was my 10th 14er, and the mileage was no joke. The hike from this route seemingly goes on forever after you get above treeline. Enjoy the walk thru the woods early on, because the hike doesn't really start till 11,800. Stay to the left as you ascend the ridge to avoid going too low, and making for a more difficult climb. Amazing views from the summit. Made it back down to camp around noon, and then made the endless descent thru the woods to the car. All in all I imagine this route was more scenic than others, but much, much, longer. We were glad we camped the night before, as this would have been a lot of mileage for a top to bottom trip.

Nice trail for beginner. All the climbing upfront and the rewarding part on your way down. Bring good boots some of the rocks can be challenging esp on your way down.

Due to the road closure we went up Avalanche, down Denny Creek, then slogged it back to Avalanche on the road. The weather could not have been better! Great views and a challenging climb.

I’ve seen a lot of reports touting Denny Creek, but I wasn’t impressed. If I was to do Yale again, I’d stick with Avalanche. It’s slightly longer but I found it far more enjoyable.

Nice hike with great views but heavily trafficked.

Left at 7am from Halfmoon trailhead aiming at ascent via SE ridge as described in Roach book. Did not find the side trail at 10,600’ mentioned in other posts but ascent through the sparse pine forest was straightforward. Reached tree line at 11,800’, great views from there, ridge line easy to follow. Did not meet a single hiker until rejoining the main trail below the summit.

SE ridge is an awesome alternative for those who like hiking off the beaten path. The ascent requires more effort due to the lack of trail and some up and down along the ridge (about 1000’ extra vertical in all). There is no water along this route so bring plenty.

on Mount Belford

2 days ago

Challenging hike, but so worth it! Three of us from Kansas City were able to make it to the top- it did, however, take us all day. Beautiful views the whole way. We hiked up the Belford standard route and came down through Elk Head Pass. Added about a mile, but saved our knees from the switchbacks.

Now one of my top five all-time favorites. First time I have done this hike. Only went to Blue Lake—didn’t do the rock scramble up to Little Blue Lake. Has a little bit of everything: river crossings, valley views, lake views, etc. I prepared for mosquitos after seeing all the reviews where people got eaten alive, but we went mid-August and some of the wet areas were dried up, so I’m thinking the breeding grounds weren’t as plentiful. We didn’t see a single mosquito. Most of the wildflowers were done, but there were still some blooming here and there. We saw a female moose and her baby lounging in a meadow. On the way back we saw a bull moose across one of the ponds. Also saw various other smaller wildlife. Nice to have facilities right at the trailhead. Went on a Thursday morning at 8 am and got in no problem, but there were plenty of cars in the parking lot.

Great hike. If you're going to go, get there early. Parking fills up and then you have to wait to even get in the park. The path is a little rocky, but not bad and the views are awesome.

Didn’t get up to area until 10:30am, on a Monday however no trouble parking at brainard lake parking. Beautiful lakes, meandering paths until you reach Mitchell lake then it is rocky path up to blue lake which is not difficult to navigate. Trails very well marked. Did not attempt little blue, however, it must be beautiful. I can only imagine. It must be a very steep rocky ascent. It wasn’t overly crowded however once at blue lake you certainly see and hear others. I can’t imagine it with more people. We did have a moose sighting which was a gift. This hike is now one of my must dos during my annual visit Home to Boulder

hiking
6 days ago

A challenging but truly epic hike & summit. The dirt road up to the trailhead was barely passable at 5-7 mph in a Honda Civic – by comparison, it was much better than the Grays/Torreys road from hell – but you’d be tempting fate in anything less than a high-clearance 4WD. Parking spots were still available at the trailhead (North Cottonwood Creek) at 7 AM on a Monday in August. Only encountered four or five other hikers all day.

This trail has basically four parts: in the forest, in the valley, ascending to the shoulder, and the final ascent to the summit. Each section is shorter but steeper and more challenging than the last; the last two sections have probably 2000-2500 feet of elevation gain across <2 miles. Beware of the two unmarked forks along this trail – at the first, it’s left to Harvard and right to Columbia, and at the second, keep right for the Harvard trail and go left for Bear Lake. Lots of marmots and pikas towards the end, and we saw some mountain goats from the summit. Goats aside, the summit views were absolutely spectacular – with minimal wind and clear skies, we spent 40 minutes up there.

Bottom line: definitely harder than some other 14ers but, with proper planning and expectations, totally worth it.

hiking
6 days ago

As with many others, this was my first "fourteener" and it was a blast. Couldn't of asked for better weather. Stayed in Georgetown, and got to the Guanella pass parking lot at approximately 0600. Yes, it was already full, however the summit overlook parking lot still had spaces left.I'm a flatlander from northeast Ks. but went prepared. Took my time, with frequent breaks, especially the higher I got. The scramble to the top was probably the toughest part, but by that point you've gone to far to not do it. While many folks, myself included, do Mount Bierstadt because their research reports it as being the easiest fourteener. Be forewarned - if you are a flatlander, even one who is in decent shape, there is nothing easy about trying to breathe at altitude.However do not let that dissuade you from doing this hike, as I can assure you that you will not be alone. Start to finish approximately 6 hours, half hour to 45 minutes on the summit.

My tenth 14er and goes down as my favorite because the scenery is absolutely gorgeous. It’s a little deceiving because you’re surrounded by a forest and creek for about half the climb and you can’t see the exposed tree line area at all, but it’s nice this trail spoils you a little bit before the hard work starts. The trail was nice until the very top of the summit where there were big boulders. We had a Boston Terrier who struggled on this part a bit, definitely more class 3 terrain at the top. We only saw 4 other people and had the summit to ourselves, a first for me! The descent was nice and easy since it’s not too steep and you also end in a beautiful forest to reward yourself from the tough climb! Highly recommend.

Great 14er for first timers and out of staters.

Great hike yesterday. 4AM start. Two goats at the top. No clouds or wind. I think they should resurrect that pile of rocks on the top to make it higher than Elbert again!

Beautiful hike on August 6, 2018.

Maybe my new favorite 14er. Really gorgeous, especially for a 14er. Not as much traffic as a lot of popular peaks either. Highly recommend early start, if for no other reason so you can see the sun rise above the Mosquito Range to the East. Also recommend a camp at Elbert Creek Campground the night before. Top notch campsites and just around the corner. And folks, please: STOP starting 14er climbs too late in the morning. Lightning is a real threat with late starts so get on the trail early.

Went on a Saturday morning, arrived at 615 at trailhead and couldn't believe all the people there. But at least it was good company on the trail.

My wife and I made it up to 13,500 with a 2 and 5 year old. 2 yr old we had to carry the whole way, 5 yr old was able to do some hiking but we still had to carry a decent amount (she did great on the way down). This was very tough with the kids, I pride myself in my abilities to do bigger hikes with the kids. The kids had enough at this point, we stopped my wife and kids ate while I pushed as hard as possible up to the top.

At times on way up, it felt like torture carrying the kids but the views were amazing. Last section solo, pushing very hard and was getting headaches.

Views on top great. My first 14er.

Three stars for being a 14er and the boulder scramble to the summit which was a blast. Overall more of a moderate hike than hard... Lost two stars for the crowds (which are huge), exposure start to finish (no relief of making it to treeline and shade on the descent for this one), and the view (not fantastic-there are other 14ers and 13ers with better views). Do it to bag a 14er, but not really any other reason to go.

Excellent "first fourteener" hike. Trail is well-maintained and clear until the rocks; follow cairns to reach the top. parkling lot was nearly full by 4am, even on a day with forecasted storms. Really great trail with great views, very cool to see where you're going and then where you came from. Always keep an eye on the sky!

We hiked this se trail on our descent after hiking up the steeper sw trail.
This trail was a dream.

camping
10 days ago

Great climb. Camped in the basin. Summited the next morning with my 12 and 9 year old.

Loved it. First fourteener and I liked the long approach, seemed a steady incline. With beautiful alpine meadow views. Brought the dogs and they did great, water on the ct section. Only at the scramble portion at the very top did I feel the need to keep them out of people’s way for safety.

A great, moderate hike. My wife and I didn't make it up to Little Blue Lake, and by the time we made it to Blue Lake, it looked like it was going to storm on the day we visited, 8-5-18. Blue Lake was still a great spot eat lunch and take some pictures. It ended up not storming, so we'll be back soon to do a complete circuit.

There were still plenty of wildflowers in bloom, and we arrived shortly after a lengthy bout of rain, so some of the streams were overflowing and added to scenery and enjoyment. We missed sighting a moose with her 2 calves by just a few minutes, but saw plenty of birds and rodents. The route was well maintained and not densely trafficked while visiting on a Sunday morning and in fact we had about a quarter mile stretch on the way back where it was just the two of us. Excellent photography opportunities along the way. I look forward to returning

hiking
13 days ago

This was our first 14er (with 3 kids, 9, 12, and 15 yrs) and it certainly was the highlight of our 9-day trip to Colorado. We decided on Bierstadt since there were only 3 peaks recommended for the 1st timers and/or with kids (Sherman, Quandary Peak and Bierstadt) and the location of Bierstadt worked best with our schedule. We left the trailhead parking lot around 6:15 am and came back around 1:10 pm so it took about 7 hours total (roughly 4 hours to ascend, 30 min at the summit, and 2.5 hours to descend. My Garmin showed a round trip of 7.8 miles and 2400 ft of elevation gain). We had done longer hikes with more elevation gains before but since we had never done a hike at this altitude (we're from Chicago and we did this hike on the 6th day of our Colorado trip) we took our time going up. We had read the reviews so we were prepared for the rock scramble at the top and had all the gear we needed such as trekking poles, gloves, hats, wind/rain proof jackets, etc. It was amazing to stand at the top of the mountain with my husband and kids and look down below where we had hiked from and the beautiful scenery all around!!

Did this hike on Saturday 8/4 and it was my second 14er. It was definitely easier than my first which was Grays, but it was still a very long hike and I was exhausted by the end of it. It was so beautiful though and worth the climb to the top! Bring lots of layers and gloves since it was pretty cold and windy. We started at 430 am to avoid the chaos with the amount of people getting there and we were happy we did that even though everyone we met along the way was very nice. My mind still gets blown that people head up at 12 or 1 and think that’s a smart idea..storms roll in people! Be safe about it :)

hiking
14 days ago

Hiked this yesterday, Sunday August 5th with my sister and brother in law and family - was an incredible experience. All the comments about being clothed in layers are right on. As we began the ascent through the boulder field beneath the summit, a summer squall came through with winds up to 50 miles an hour with sleet and hail and it got downright cold. After that passed and we reached the top, the views are magnificent. Although rated as an Easy hike by some, the boulder field is a considerable challenge, more so on the way down. As a sixty-nine year old male in excellent condition, but who lives year round in New Jersey, this was all the challenge I needed. Easy road access to the trail head with plentiful parking and “rest rooms” contribute to making this an ideal climb.

Excellent hike that takes you through pine forest, sub-alpine shrubs, and an amazing ascent up the massive granite field (which is full of marmots and pikas). Views are phenomenal, especially at the very top. Bring lots of water and food to stay energized.

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