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

Summer 2017 Hike Ideas Map
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Easily accessible trail. You start above treeline so there isn't a long trek before you start going up. Climb Bross first, there is a lot of loose rock and it is much easier to go up than down. Start early and bring some warmer clothes for up on top.

I started at 6:30 up bross. It was slippery rock going up so I couldnI’ll imagine it going down. I’m pretty happy with going that way. You get a nice “break” going to Lincoln and then Cameron. Then a buttkicker for Democrat. Buttkicker either way ! Amazing views. We even got some snow flurries up there. Finished the rocky trail at 1:30pm

Great hike with lots of parking, restrooms, and a variety of inclines and beautiful views. Highly recommended. Not too far from Denver and great for late morning hikes. Dead horse is just remnants, not smelly at all but sort of creepy.

hiking
1 day ago

Very rocky trail, too many people and a drained lake. It should be called a reservoir not a lake. People should be TOLD when getting a permit that the lake has been drained. Huge disappointment. (see pic of Jasper pond)

Awesome place with amazing views. We ran into a black bear on the first 1/4 mile of the hike. Poor guy must’ve been lost, Park rangers said we were the third sighting (one was on the road) . We went early afternoon and there wasn’t a crazy amount of people. Apparently the park rangers just cleaned up a dead horse but the smell is still there. Overall a good find and great hike. ( I had my 7 month old puppy with me too)

it was an amazing hike. lots of people are suggesting to srart going up from bross. I personnally wouldnot reccomend. I am beginner hiker and this was my 5th fourtener. Starting from bross you will loose all the energy you got an you may not be able to do all 4. Yes going down on bross is tough due to steep slope and loose rocks all the way down.

I loved this hike! Started with Democrat around 6:45am, then went to Cameron, Lincoln, and finished with Bross, back to the car about 6 hours later. My dad and I were worried after reading reviews about the descent down Bross, and made a game time decision to go ahead and go for it. In my opinion, it wasn’t as bad as a lot of people describe- definitely lots of loose rocks and prepare to slide a lot- but it wasn’t dangerous or life-threatening in terms of sending you off the mountain. I had my heart set on bagging all 4 peaks so for me doing Bross was worth the tough descent. My dad thinks maybe he would have just skipped Bross altogether. The rest of it we absolutely loved. Definitely the toughest hike up Democrat so I’m glad we got that out of the way first. My favorite view was on top of Lincoln.

A great little day hike!

Over 7 miles to first camp site.
Springs not marked

This instantly became my favorite local hike when I came over the hill & saw the view at the end.. fantastic, so many layers of mountains, so peaceful (I went at 6pm on a Sunday and I saw no one the entire time). The first mile is no joke though, very steep, otherwise easy.

Next time I'll make this an out-and-back rather than a loop by taking the left fork to the overlook & then turning around, that's where all the scenery is.

spectacular
we did it with our 4 year old
she loved it
bring enough photo memory

Rocked out this hike yesterday 8/11. Awesome hike! Highly recommend camping at trailhead the night before. Actual parking lot was already full by 10pm! If you dont camp you still will want to get there as early as possible, Getting stuck parking down the road will just add miles to your already tough hike! Took our jetta almost all the way to the trailhead but theres one large bump that our car could not clear so we stopped and camped there. only a couple hundred feet from the parking lot. Hit the trail at 445am done at 1215p with breaks and summit stops. I believe doing Democrat first is by far the way to go. Not only do I think going up bross in the dark would be terrible. Having to go up Democrat last would be a tough climb after bagging the other 3. Also another reason would be that by the time u would get to the democrat climb it will be packed. By 10am there looked like there was a line all the way up democrat. Going down bross was def tough and took a lot of concentration watching where you step and keeping balance. Poles for sure a must. Not sure what my fav was. Being almost to the top of democrat for sunrise was amazing, but being atop bross and being able to see all of what you just did was awesome too! Bross' summit is huge but lincoln and democrat's a lot smaller. Took our dog whose used to hiking and is a larger dog. She was very tired at the end and I got a little worried about her paws coming down bross as it is very lose rock but she made it down without any cuts and passed out the whole way home.
Overall amazing hike. Very fulfilling finishing all 4.

- Did these four yesterday. great hike with amazing views from each summit. There is a lot of small rocks and loose slag, especially on Bross and Democrat. Like other climbers i would highly recommend starting with Bross. It is a pretty good climb up and around to the summit but it's a good warm-up for the other three and the descent of Bross is much harder on the knees of you do it last. Mt. Democrat is probably the steepest climb but its worth it when you get to the top. Do yourself and your knees a favor and please invest in poles. You won't regret it, especially the descent of Democrat.

Amazing!

The hike was amazing and we were not bothered by nor saw the deceased horse. The sights were spectacular. Hike was not tough at all! A bit step at parts. Otherwise I would recommend for for children. We saw a few and they had no problems whatsoever.

Beautiful views: mountain-backed lakes, harsh ridge lines, and wildflowers. Well-marked trail.

We hiked clockwise, three days, two nights -camped at Bettie Lake and Devil’s Thumb Lake, felt alone at both. Jasper Lake looked like a popular camping spot, and there was a site by the stream right before the off-shoot to Bob and Bettie Lakes if you don’t want to leave the loop. We were skinny-dipping at Devil’s Thumb and realized there was a lone fisherman across the lake getting a great show, haha, but otherwise, camping was very peaceful.

I was thankful for layers because it was really hot during the day, but surprisingly cold as soon as the sun dipped. We made Nalgene hot water bottles to supplement our 20* sleeping bags.

We hiked mid-week (Aug 8-10) and saw more hikers and trail-runners than backpackers. Some people struggling, but then also an older couple of women crushing it, and a Dad with two young kids. I’m a beginner with a heavy pack and ended each day smiling.

Brought my 35lb pup - she wore off her front pads chasing marmot in the rocks... which wouldn’t have been a problem if I had kept her on leash. She loved it. Didn’t see many (any?) dogs out towards the peak, but lots at the trailhead. Leash definitely required for the first bit.

Elevation is no joke, but plenty of places to refill water, so keep drinking!!

Side note: we stopped in Ned on the way home and ate at the Thai restaurant - killer $10 lunch deal!

This hike starts with a gradual incline for about 1.5 miles through the spruce and fir forest. Once you break out of the trees at timberline, the rest of this hike (4 miles or so) is exposed high tundra hiking. IF YOU HAVE ARE BRINGING A DOG...there is no water at all on this trail. Just FYI. After treeline you get your first big views of north Arapahoe peak and Apache peak. You are also able to see the lakes down on your right associates with the Boulder watershed. The hike begins to climb from this point up the tundra with a few different switchback sections. You then end up on the south side of the ridge where you have great views of eldora ski area, Mt Evans, and all the mountains on the continental divide looking towards winter park. We could also see Grays and Torrey’s, and Bierstadt, and Pikes peak way off in the southern distance. You head along the ridge here for a couple miles at a pretty even grade until you meet up with 4th of July trail. At this point you can see the peak to your right which is the way to south arapahoe peak. This is why the trail has a hard rating in my opinion. It’s a steep rock scramble up to the top but well worth it.

backpacking
5 days ago

My SO and I planned to do this loop over 2 nights but were cut short due to weather. We hiked up to venable lake, it was 6.5-7 miles. The aspen groves were beautiful and the view before making the final climb amazing. The lake area was open and rocky, but good for setting up a tent. Unfortunately we got all settled in and the predicted light rain turned into a pretty bad storm and we had to throw everything in our packs and make a run for the trailhead. I’ll definitely be back to finish the loop another time.

Arrived at 5:15 am on Saturday and there were a lot of cars parked on the side of the road but still plenty of space. People can't seem to agree on which way to go- I decided to go counterclockwise and I'm very glad I did.

I have been up to Jasper Lake a couple of times but this is the first time I tried the loop. In my opinion the north side of the loop is more scenic. It's best to do it in the morning when the lighting is better and you still have energy. Also I like steep inclines more than steep declines as they're more exciting and less stressful on the knees. Saw a bull moose about halfway up to Jasper Lake. That was pretty terrifying as he was only 25 yards or so off of the trail hidden behind some trees. I snapped a quick picture and got out of there.

The trail is pretty easy. The distance is the hard part. I was feeling pretty haggard on the last 3-4 miles. Got back to the parking lot a little before 3PM. I probably could of finished at 2 if I hadn't of taken so many pictures.

Overall an awesome hike! My favorite one so far

camping
5 days ago

This is a great, challenging trail. There’s a variety of landscapes and much of the trail is picturesque. The lake is beautiful and camping area is clearly marked. The road to the trailhead has many pull-offs for car camping, I recommend a high clearance vehicle to get to the trailhead but it’s not a long walk from any of the camp sites if you have a smaller car.

I usually love this hike but the lake was about half drained, almost no water.

hiking
6 days ago

I don't really consider this a "hike", but rather more of a walk down stairs, into a canyon that offers you some of the most memorable views in your life. In fact, the only way to enter the canyon is through a tour. If you are a nature lover of any kind, this is a must-do.
As the information above shows, you are not allowed to enter this canyon without a Navajo guide and a permit. Permits are cheap (under $10), and then the price of the tour. It's a large parking lot, so unless you're there in peak season on a weekend, you'll not have too hard a time parking.
The tours are grouped of maybe 20-25 people at a time, with a Navajo guide who offers you details about the canyon and the surrounding land along the way.
Again, you are not allowed to just part and walk down into the canyon. This is for your own safely because if you are in the canyon when it rains, you will drown. Sounds dramatic, but it's true. The guides let you know that only 1 inch of rain above-ground will flood this 80 ft deep canyon. So, heed the warning to never sneak in. Plus, it's about respect. This is tribal land that we're privileged to walk on. So, don't grumble about the fee or that you can't wander around alone. The guides will give you ample opportunities to stop and take pictures.
For those who aren't into hiking, are disabled, or don't exercise regularly, the only way down, into the canyon is by climbing down narrow, grated stair cases.
Fair warning, too, about the amount of tourists here. LIterally busloads. I've been twice, once in October, where there was minimal wait time (maybe 10 min max). The second time I went, I visited in mid-July, around 10am. The wait to get into the canyon lasted 45+ min as you stand outside in direct sunlight. There were hundreds of people standing, waiting for their tour group to enter down into the canyon. And because you're standing in direct sun, there were a few people in line when I was there who fainted. No joke. So if you're not acclimated to desert heat and don't have 2+ bottles of water, DO NOT GO IN THE SUMMER.
Otherwise, this will be one of the most beautiful things you ever see.

I live this hike. I don’t remember it being very difficult.

Went early August, late morning. Plenty of parking in two lots - only saw a few people on the trail. Trails are well marked. I took West Ridge Trail to Bear Creek Trail to Bear Creek Cutoff. Was a lovely mix of forest and meadow - lots of beautiful flowers! Saw a stag, two does, and three fawns, as well as lots of birds and smaller critters. West Ridge Trail starts fairly steep, but evens out after half a mile or so. Bear Creek is shared with bikers, but wide enough it's not a problem. You'll hear air and road traffic, especially on the last portion of West Ridge, as it run parallel with Meyers Gulch Road. Had a lovely hike!

Do it counterclockwise, so you crest the ridge and get hit with the amazing view!!

backpacking
9 days ago

Went backpacking up the Venable part of the loop in a group of four of us over the weekend. We measured it as a 7 mile hike from the lot to the largest Venable Lake on a Fitbit and an Apple Watch, which is different that the map. I am new to utilizing the app so not sure what happened but it took us by surprise as the sign notes that the hike to Venable Lakes is 4.75 miles. The last section to the largest lake was very challenging with significant elevation gain. It is straight up the side of the hill/mountain to a small plateau. There is a great camp site near the first lakes. The hike itself is very beautiful, with wildflowers and groves of aspen. The views are incredible as you can see across the valley to the Wet Mountains in several spots. Most of the hike was in the forest until the last section. We camped just off the trail near the largest lake. The fishing was incredible. There are some big cutthroats in that lake and each of us caught at least one. The trail is very rocky and coming down was more of a challenge and it was hard on the feet. I didn't notice it as much on the hike up. Perhaps a recent washout with the storm that blew through. We were visited by a few deer bucks at our camp site each night. They were very tame and curious and were content to be 30 yards away and watch us cook dinner.

backpacking
10 days ago

We backpacked to Willow Lake Thursday 8/2 and stayed until Saturday 8/4, summiting Kit Carson and Challenger in between. The hike up to the lake was absolutely gorgeous! Once you get up closer to the lake, you have a great view of the San Luis valley. It was definitely strenuous to gain that much elevation with heavy packs, but well worth the effort!

We had a few unnerving encounters with the problem bear that has been mentioned in previous comments. It came fairly close to our camp two separate times before dark, and came right up to our tent twice in the middle of the night even though we did not have any food/toiletries in our tent or packs. It was not easily scared off even after we yelled at it and clapped our hands. I did speak with the local ranger station today, and they informed me that the bear is no longer in the Willow Lakes area so it should not be an issue for future campers.

We ran out of time and only ended up doing Democrat, Cameron and Lincoln. It was a really great, but challenging hike. My biggest complaint was that Democrat was super crowded. We started around 7:30, so that's partially our fault. If this bothers you though, you may want to consider doing Bross first or get there around 6. Democrat was much more challenging than Cameron and Lincoln. So, if you have the time, it is worth doing 3 if not all 4. In my opinion, I would not want to do the first part of the hike again (not that it's hard, it's just I don't like repeating), so it's better to get at least 3 out of the way rather than coming back to cross those off. Sort of one of those if you've gone this far, why not keep going situations.

We did about 5 miles out and back of this trail and it was a really beautiful hike, nicely forested and at least the first part wasn't too strenuous. Not many other people on the way out as we went early enough. I definitely hope to go back to do a more extended version of the hike.

off road driving
11 days ago

Went for a ride with 7 other jeeps today. Awesome trail - nice length. Took up most of the day with the occasional stop to take in the sights. Gets very narrow/steep at some points so if you’re going with a group make sure you look ahead. A few tricky spots but my stock JL made it no problem.

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