Explore Summer Trails - 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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Did Audubon today with the 6 kids ages 7 to 16. everyone loved it. That final push is tough but worth it. The views are outstanding. The marmots are entertaining. Views down to upper Coney lake are mind blowing and that drop is humbling.

We did four days in Rocky Mountain this spring - two nights at the Andrew's Creek site and a night at Glacier Gorge. I thought both regions of the park were incredible, but Andrew's really blew me away.

So much water everywhere. Not only will you be well hydrated, but you'll be spoiled with some of the best tasting water I've ever had.

The last leg of the hike up to the glacier is a tough one, especially in early June. Signage is lacking and the footprints of previous hikers led me to a dangerous scramble up the gash. Unless you're hiking in late summer, I'd suggest you either really study up or take your time with a topographic map and compass.

I shouldn't complain though, because the final destination was breathtaking - endless wildflowers and little critters surrounded the tarn and made for a perfect lunch break.

Highly recommended.

hiking
1 day ago

I'm heading to Echo Lake this weekend to hike to Idaho Springs Reservoir. Can anyone tell me the water level of Chicago Creek as it enters the reservoir? We are looking to fly fish and don't want to waste time if the water levels are too low. Thanks! I'll leave an official comment after we return.

Great hike! Leads you up Vail mountain through beautiful patches of aspens and pines and through meadows. Once we got to the top of Eagles Nest we traversed the mtn on Grand Escape trail and down Kinnikinnick trail to the mid-Vail gondola. About 6 Miles all together and was amazing. Great views and a variety of landscapes. Not very busy on a Tuesday. The only downside is that the first mile is really steep and you hear the highway until about 1.5 miles into the hike. Don’t let that deter you. Was the only hike we did while in two for two nights and was a memorable one!

One of my favorite hikes in RMNP! The views are incredible! If you are going to hike Flattop you might as well go to Hallet Peak. Maybe another half hour push from Flattop but well worth it for the unobstructed 360 views of RMNP.

Gorgeous area. If going on the weekend, get there early, parking lot does fill up, and area from echo lake to the Idaho Springs reservoir can get quite busy. Well shaded, good distance, pretty lakes, creek, and reservoir. Also dog friendly, expect to see a few. Highly recommend this hike!

hiking
3 days ago

Beautiful scenery the entire walk and quite spectacular at the top. Considering the low mileage the solitude at the top was surprising.

hiking
3 days ago

a beautiful hike

As someone from Michigan, this hike was a little difficult for me. There were some flatter areas but overall it was an incline. Took me about 3 hours to get up to the lake and 2.5 to get back down. However, it is pretty rough on the knees going down. Make sure to bring plenty of water and snacks/lunch for the lake.

hiking
3 days ago

I started this hike at 7:30 a.m. (second car in the otherwise empty parking lot) on a Monday and returned somewhere between 1:15-1:30 p.m. This hike was definitely challenging for me as a flatlander and I had to stop to take breaks quite often. I also spent quite a long time up at the lake *maybe 45 minutes or longer) and took another longer break during my return at the reservoir to soak my feet before making the final uphill climb. I think this hike is moderate for people who live at altitude and hike regularly, or who are otherwise very fit. If you're not much of a fitness enthusiast and don't workout very often, this is going to be a very challenging hike. If you're fit-ish to average on physical activity, this hike is challenging.

It really surprised me to see so many folks without adequate hydration and starting later. Do yourself a favor and start by 7:30 a.m. because there isn't much shade after you get passed 10:30 a.m. All of the regular rules apply: bring sunscreen and reapply once you're up at the lake, wear a hat and sunglasses, bring more water than you think necessary, and pack loads of snacks. I brought 64 ounces of water and drank about 3/4 of it. Didn't encounter too many bugs other than curious bees at the lake. The only wildlife I encountered were birds (saw an eagle at Echo Lake first thing) and chiding squirrels. Trail rules indicate dogs are required to be leashed but most were off-leash - doesn't bother me but it's something to consider if you don't like dogs.

Some additional navigation tips:
-Once you complete the initial descent and get closer to the water, look out for the primitive log bridge to cross
-Exiting the woods, take a left to follow the access road for about a mile; if you're early in the day, you'll pass the Idaho Springs Reservoir and see trout jumping out of the water to feed.
-Follow the access road past the cabins; the trailhead will be ahead on your right with a no-fee permit station. Fill out your permit and take the trail immediately in front of you, not the unmarked trial to your right.
-You'll pass a second sign indicating that you're entering the Mt. Evans Wilderness; don't worry, you're on the right trail.
-I tried finding the trail to the upper lake and was unsuccessful. I ended up following some of the unmarked trails that go around the lake and wound up in a boggy area just before the lake. Maybe avoid that and do more research on picking up the trail to the upper lake than I did.

Not an easy hike but a mid-40's couple from Denver took their time and got to the top in about 3 hrs. Some of the most amazing views the park has to offer. Surprised how many other people were on this trail, most younger than us and blazing by. Oh well! We were beat afterwords but loved this hike. May take it all the way into Grand Lake next time.

hiking
4 days ago

This trail was even better than we expected! I would actually consider the destination to be not just Flattop Mountain summit, but also Tyndall Glacier, which is incredible! The views were amazing and we saw lots of pika and marmots as well. The Emerald and Dream Lake overlooks are a nice bonus! We didn’t try hiking up adjacent Hallett Peak this time but will try it on a future trip. We hiked this trail on August 11, 2018.

It tricked my watch! Shorter than the app posted!

If I were you, I'd do one of two things and neither is just summitting flat top. If youre up for a slightly longer hike, continue past flattop to hallett where the view is 10x better. It only took us about 45 minutes round trip to do this extra bit and we were very glad we did. If you're less up for it, just go up flat top past the two lake overlooks and after you get above the tree line. The views there are very cool and the other reviews are right - the summit views of flattop itself are a little anticlimactic. Still a beautiful hike if you're up for a pretty uphill hike in the sun! Loved it

I liked that this trail had variety of sceneries. Many shaded area as well as some meadows and rocky terrains. Great for dogs since there is a creek running by, and the lakes to get to. Wild flowers are beautiful in August. I saw a coyote (I think) and moose!

hiking
5 days ago

Great hike! It took us about 4 hours, not including the 20 or so minutes we spend at the top. Great views and plenty of places where the dogs can drink water from streams and lakes.

hiking
5 days ago

What a great way to get away into the mountains fast! We drove from Carbondale in the morning on a Wednesday in late August. The 3 of us had the full spectrum of hiking experience, so we hiked to the pace of our slowest friend—and we had a great hike! We parked at the hairpin turn (the upper trailhead) that you encounter before Independence Pass—plenty of parking there and it’s a paved surface. So we did the hike counter-clockwise and reached Independence Lake after 2 hours of very slow hiking. My friend has a heart condition, so we’re happy she could come so far! We hiked to the saddle above the lake and stopped for a half hour as we watched a herd of mountain goats approach and pass us on the trail. We decided to turn back to the car so our friend could rest but my athletic husband decided to trail run the rest of the loop (so he continued on past Lost Man Lake). So we split up and by the time I reached the parking lot for the Lost Man Lake Campground, he was already there (albeit very sweaty). I’m posting this long narrative hoping it shows just how awesome of a trail this is—a short morning hike, a trail run loop, a picnic spot, wildlife viewing, wildflowers even in late August, a camping option, clearly marked trail, and easy access.

Made this trip on 7/27 as the way down from Flattop Mountain and Hallett Peak. Was hard to pick a line to glissade down so spent the trip down the glacier slipping and sliding on foot and on my rear end. Took me about 7 hours round trip. Great trip but route down from the tarn was more rock climbing (descending) than hiking. Add this to your list and do it.

We used this as our exfil after traversing from Hallett Peak and glissading down Andrews Glacier. Makes about a 12 mile loop and it was amazing. Andrews Tarn is like an infinity pool.

This hike was stunning. It was a pretty quick one, it took us two hours to get to the top. The trail itself was easy and well maintained, the hard rating is due to the near constant elevation gain.

Amazing hike. Not that hard at all. Saw big horn sheep, mountain goats, and lots of marmots. Spectacular views

Scenic and forested. The last 3/4 of the hike got hard and had me wondering if I was ever going to make it, but it was worth the effort to get to beautiful mountain lakes.

Overall great workout! Minimally crowded for a Saturday hike. Start at 4wd road 263 and continue about 2 miles until you see a brown post with “no motor vehicles” labeled on it. At this point take a left to follow the trail. From there you just continue on that trail until you hit the lake. The last 0.5mile is pretty steep but totally manageable, even for dogs! Definitely worth the work to get up there. If you go to the lake and back it is around 8.2miles, the red trail on the all trails map goes into the gulch not to the lake.

This was not difficult. We did Baldy Peak the day before and that was difficult. I’d put this in he moderate side. This trail spends a lot of time on a Jeep road with decently packed rocks. I always forget we can drive up much higher to the Trail head than getting caught with all the traffic at spruce lake to Mohawk Trail Heads.

Crystal lakes gives you jeep roads, thru the forest, above tree line to the truly crystal clear lakes. Now I understand how they get their names. They are beautiful lakes. We went up to the second lake. Once at the first lake, take the trail to the right to go tot the second lake. Don’t be fooled by the trails you can see on your top left, it’s just a turn around.

Going up to the second lake took 46-51 minutes more. We had our 11 and 12 year old with us. There was one part up to the second lake where we slowed bc of elevation. But you’re soon there and it well worth it.

Awesome trail and much less trafficked than Bierstadt. Recommend getting there early to get a spot in the lot before the Bierstadt hikers take them. On the way up the trail was indeed lightly trafficked, but by late morning I would say closer to moderate, especially between the trail head and the lakes.

Great hike. Saw a couple trucks driving up Chihuahua road, we hiked just as fast. Water was low so no wet feet for us. Pretty views the whole way, lots of different kinds of wildflowers. Not busy!!!

I parked at Long TH at 10ish on a Tuesday. Someone was leaving. Decided I also wanted to hike up to Isabell Glacier. I think it added 3 ish miles to the trip. But finding snow for the pup to play in was worth it. Plus it was gorgeous. The hike up to the Continental divide was more difficult. The trail isn’t hard until the split from Isabell Glacier. They are doing a lot of work on the trail which is awesome. The scenery is prettier from below. Typical rocky above the tree line hike for the last 2 miles. If you are going to do it. Must make it to the sign!

Beautiful hike the entire way. It took us 3.5 hours round trip. Well worth the effort. Just a friendly reminder to bring moleskin for blisters!

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

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