Explore Summer hikes - 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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High traffic beautiful scenery but if you want solitude and a challenge for a 20-25 year old it is not what you are looking for.

Stunning from beginning to end

Unbelievably amazing hike! Steady inclines at times but overall a pretty doable trail by anyone.
I arrived at 6:30pm on a Saturday and the parking had empty spots. Saw a ton of people at the beginning of the trail but the further you go the less people you’ll see.
A lot of bugs when you hike at a later time so bring some bug spray with you! Also, bring a flashlight just in case you need it!

hiking
18 hours ago

Beautiful hike. Some steep sections. Some later sections through loose boulders. A nice mix of open and covered areas.

Great hike with amazing views! Really enjoyed this hike!!

After reaching the top,the view is breathtaking!

Beautiful hike! Lots of scenic stops on the way up. Gradual incline so not too difficult until you get below the ridge and then you scramble up. Coming down from the ridge you have to watch your footing with the areas of scree and steep decline. Gorgeous day!! Would do again and go further along the ridge next time. I recommend being on the trail by 8am to avoid traffic.

Had a great time there I arrived at about 5am to catch the sunrise and There was alot of pros to this...no traffic on roads....empty parking lot....I was only person on the trail..great for photos!!

on Emerald Lake Trail

hiking
1 day ago

great hike, with views iconic to colorado - when you see colorado in a photo album, this trail contains views that showcases this.

Amazing hike, the chains are fun! Great views! Descend around the West side of he mountain, you can run down the scree. It is so much fun and a quick way to get down the mountain.

Gorgeous views from a reasonably short trail. Lots of wildlife along the way!

hiking
1 day ago

I did the emerald Lake route . I’m not sure why they called it moderate? It’s a nice 45 min stroll to the lake on a amazingly maintained trail, even paved at the beginning. It’s a great trail for families and young ones . If you want more of a challenge hike around the right side of emerald Lake. It is what I would call a very stable rock scramble and doable by older kids with good shoes( some traction on Btm). Then hike up to the falls which are really pretty . That extension makes the hike moderate and is well worth it plus it’s gets you away from the masses . If you are really an extremist then try hiking up the valley to the right of the river and falls. It is an advanced hike and gets to class 3-4 with 80% grade. Tougher going up but you need poles coming down or you take some falls . Do not hike in single file here as you will trigger rock slides due to grade. Also it is what I’d call a loose rock scramble!! Views are insane from up there but be careful as footing is tricky and it requires some rock climbing .

We loved this hike! Perfect hike for a day. On a Friday there were others out there but not a ton. Go to the end. Emerald Lake is worth it!

hiking
2 days ago

Easy, busy, but beautiful for sure

hiking
3 days ago

Super fun and easy!

Cool hike do early morning or at after 5 to avoid crowd. 3 cool lakes. Keep going to see the last view!

Once you are up there It’s a bit like a moonwalk. The view is fantastic and absolut amazing (on a clear day). The trail is easy to find, but walking on the loose gravel for a couple of hours is a bit tiring.

If you’re not from Colorado, or used to the elevation, this trail may be a bit harder than easy. I dragged my brother through this one, all the way up to Emerald lake. We started with Bear lake loop and then headed upwards from the trail head. You’ll pass Dream lake on the way. Everything is gorgeous. This trail was highly trafficked but well worth it to see Emerald lake. If you have the gear, time, and skill level, you could continue hiking up the rock walls on the left side of Emerald lake and connect to other trails.

Beware, the trail can merge in to non trail paths that look legit. Beautiful view from the top as well as through the middle portion from the back side of the mountain.

hiking
5 days ago

Beautiful views and water areas.

It was a beautiful, nice hike starting in the forest with a creek on the other side of the trail, there’s quite a few bridges to cross ( very well done ) .
Up all the way until the third lake with some sections that were steeper than others.
It took us about 2 hours to get to Lillian Lake, we stopped to grab a snack and continue to Galatea lake, Lillian lake was busy with all the campers and hikers that were fishing there were also mosquitoes.
Took us about 40 min steep up to Galatea lake, the views got better and the color of the lake was just beautiful from this point if you have time I would highly recommend to go to the third and last lake “upper Galatea” it is smaller but absolutely gorgeous, it ended being my favourite out of the 3 and just took us about 25 minutes to walk there.
Bring an extra layer for the top and plenty of water.

It’s a fantastic hike in terms of distance and views but it needs to be well marked.
If you are going solo and have not experience I wouldn’t recommend it or if you are afraid of heights.
Most people we met (after the hike) including the locals recommend to go with someone that has done it before and download the map on your phone, easy to get lost.
We were in a group of three, were none of us had done it before , we enjoy the views specially once you get above the three line those were the best.
All the way up to the top we met people that decided to go to the end of the forest or right before the chains and go back the same way. If you do, that it is still a challenging hike and you get a lot of rewarding views.
There was just a group of 6 in front of us and 2 women behind us, nobody else we met wanted to finish the loop.
You get the feeling once you scramble a bit up and pass the chains that that was the scariest part but it’s not.
Once you start going down, the terrain is rocky, small rocks and loose dirt (hiking poles recommended) , after a while you get above the tree line again and that is when the trail disappears, we could see it all the way down but there’s wasn’t a trail that connect to it, we went down the edge of the mountain some skied down, sky and a big portion I slide down on my bum, there is nothing you can hold into just small roots in a few sections. So that was the scary part.
We downloaded the map (all trails) in our phones before we started the hike and that is the way we were back on track.
We left the parking lot at 11:30 and we were back at 6:30 pm.
Overall we had such a good experience but If I had known this ahead of time I would have found somebody that has done it before to come with us.

Great views and a decently challenging hike for those who don't have all day but definitely want to sweat a little!

hiking
6 days ago

Good moderate hike. Last leg go up was strenuous and last leg to reach to parking was also strenuous. Beautiful view on top and you will get chance to see some wildlife as well.

Easy hike with beautiful views. But would never hike this again on a Saturday in peak season- kinda killed it

Good hike, not too challenging, but that's why it's so popular. Add Lake Haiyaha either after Dream Lake or coming back down from Emerald and make it a spectacular 4 lake loop. Get there early so you can park, and be courteous on the trail when it's more crowded (walk single file to the right, don't block the way).

Great hike- too busy

Some magnificent views at the top, but a dull stretch to start and finish.

this has been a fav of mine since I was a kid. and yesterday I took my 10 year old daughter on the first back packing trip there. trail was great. straight up the whole way. but totally worth it. We camped between the 3rd and 4th lakes. extremely windy last night. hiked out today. there was a ton of people hiking up today. She did fantastic.

This is a pretty busy hike, but it was fun to meet people on the trail. Amazing view at Emerald lake!

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