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It’s not even a trail. You park on a residential street, walk 3,000 ft up the mountain to a dead end with no trail. Waste of time.

This was a lovely hike on a sunny, brisk day. I normally don't enjoy hiking up roads, but there was a lot to see in the first 3/4 mile - climbers, dam, creek...The turnoff on the single track trail was lovely and different rock out croppings provided awesome views of the reservoir. Easy afternoon hike. For more details and photos. https://etbtravelphotography.com/2018/03/19/road-trip-to-the-rockies-button-rock-preserve/

Hiked today. Went left into the loop as the right side is steeper and better for going up at the end than down.
~10% of the trail was icy and the ice was hidden in the mud/dirt but easily avoidable.
2.5 hours with a short snack break and a couple of water breaks.

Did this yesterday 3/16/18. The last part of the hike was challenging not wearing snow shoes given the incline and the fresh snow from the day before, but well worth the view of the lake at the end. Snow was pretty packed for the most part thought the trail, but there were some really lose spots that will make it difficult. Definitely easily doable with snow shoes, but absolutely possible with out.

We chose to do this trail early before the sun came up to catch the sunrise. It was perfect. Beginning of the trail is very open and wide but once you intersect the homestead trail it becomes more of a “trail” through the trees. Very beautiful and relatively easy. Great for everyone!

Hiked early in the morning. Decided to go out and back on Sleepy Lion trail instead of taking the loop back which would have just followed the road. We also took Professor's Ranch trail which takes you to the top of the Dam instead of going to the bottom where the water outflow is. You will see the sign as you wind down near the Dam. Great hike with views of Long's Peak and the Res.

We picked this as a training hike for summer 14ers and were not disappointed. It has a "road less traveled" feel to it without a lot of hikers. It starts out with steep dirt (poles recommended on the way down), then some flatter sections in the middle, and then some fun easy class 3 scrambling near the top. Good views of Red Rocks to the east and Mt Evans to the west because you are on a ridge much of the time. Not much shade though. We met a guy coming down who said it was his 704th trip in 15 years. So that's a pretty good recommendation right there.

Hiked this today 3/15. It was still extremely muddy and icy in some spots. Micro spikes weren’t necessary but there were a few spots around the 3/4 mark part of the trail that were kind of sketchy and slippery. Also my activity tracker said this loop was closer to 5.6 miles instead of the listed 4.8 here. If you go from
Beaver to Chavez it is mostly downhill the first 2 miles, then some ups and downs the next 1-2 with some steep, rocky sections and winding ledges with steep drop offs, the last section is a lot of uphill which is tough after being spent energy-wise on the first part. Overall I enjoyed this trail but feel it’s probably better in summer. I will wait until then to return.

PS I took my two small older (almost 10 yo) dogs on this trail and they loved it. Had no problems. I think they would love this in the summer when they can cool off in the little creeks!

10 days ago

Hiked 3/12. Only used microspikes. No wind. Lots of people for a Monday hike. Nice views

Very nice hike:). We hiked this trail in mid March and experienced very comfortable weather. A lot of elevation change which was gradual and consistent.

Great hike, would have given it five stars if there were not so many road crossings and so close to the road.

11 days ago

The hike to Gem Lake is steep and difficult, but the views are worth the effort. Beyond the lake, the trail passes through fairly dense trees. Views are limited and it is extremely hot in the summer time. Also the trail was unclear in places causing us to question if we were on the right path. As others have mentioned, there were few people beyond the lake. We found balanced rock to be underwhelming. We would recommend stopping at the lake for a while then heading back down the trail.

Awesome! Hard packed snow the whole way. No need for snowshoes and I only threw on my Yak Tracks on the decent from The Loch which is the steepest part of the hike. Very beautiful surroundings and views. If you still have some gas after reaching The Loch, swing by Mills Lake on the way back to the TH, you will not be disappointed with the extra stop! I’ll definitely be back in the Spring/Summer.

We took bear canyon up which was longer than shadow or fern but had some nice pine covered areas. The last summit up to the peak was pretty challenging as it was very steep and straight up. Took my chihuahua and he did great. Once at Bear peak the view is unbelievable!We took shadow canyon down as others said fern canyon was too icy and slippery without micro spikes. Shadow was so rocky not very diverse terrain but not slippery. Somehow got lost connecting back to Mesa trail after shadow and hiked an extra couple miles, next time I’ll take a map. It’s easy to hike south boulder peak from bear and south boulder peak (not bear as I was told) is the actual highest peak in Boulder, maybe next time. Overall a great hike!

Hiked with family of 4. Great loop and views.

Very nice trail with fair elevation changes. Trail was a bit muddy, but that’s to be expected this time of year. I would definitely recommend this trail to others

Icy in parts, but beautiful overall!

Cloudy and snowy morning BUT a hike I’d love to do again. No snowshoes needed at all. I did throw on my Yak Tracks once passing Gem Lake. The light morning snow made the hardened ice on some parts of the trail difficult to see. Like others have noted, I had the trail to myself from Gem Lake to Balanced Rock - very peaceful. Heading back from Gem Lake to the TH the sun was already making quick work of the snow from the morning.

The path is extremely icey right now! I expected better scenery through the hike- I think this would be a much better hike for spring/summer.

If you can end up at the reservoir around dusk this hike is magic.

This was an excellent hike. Took my 15 year old along, and she really got into the views. Most of the hike was only borderline "moderate", but as you approach the top there are a few sections that approach vertical. Made for a terrific day hike, and gave my boyfriend the urge to do a lot more of that.

Fun trail. Felt like it should be rated a little more closely to easy than moderate, but the ice today (3/4) made it a little more challenging on the non groomed road parts. a great hike to take friends who might be from out of state (flatlanders) without overexerting them but showing them the beautiful side of Colorado.

Love it

My wife, and dog went yesterday. Lots of ice and snow on this trail, but it is only March. Was very slippery in spots. Did the whole trail in about 3.5 hours, but we were taking our time, stopped to eat, etc. Foot traffic wasn't too bad. Not a very scenic trail this time of year, but still very fun. Most of the creeks were frozen over.

It was really beautiful! There’s still some snow/icy parts once you get close to the loop. That made it really hard to hike at times, feeling like you’re going to wipe out. Otherwise it was great!

Great hike but extremely difficult without spikes in winter conditions. If you do this during the winter, come prepared.

19 days ago

It was very snowy in spots, which made for dangerous conditions (because most of the trail skims the side of the mountain) in which you could very likely slide down or hurt yourself. Without the snow, this trail would have been one of my favorites in a long time. Not too difficult and great views of Golden (and Denver when you get high enough). Lots of fun!

3/2/18- I was really impressed with this trail. I normally shy away from trails so close to the city, because there’s just too many people. But today was surprisingly mellow. Great views of the city, then on the other side you have great views of the mountains (will post pics). A few things:
1) We had to go up Gregory and down Flagstaff (reverse direction from map) because I couldn’t find the flagstaff trailhead. The trailhead is actually on the main road, across from the stop sign. Turn into the little parking area, then walk back down to the entrance stop sign. You’ll see the trailhead there. Gregory’s trailhead is by the roundabout (opposite end).
2) That said! The most icy stretch is on the Gregory Canyon trail. This worked for us because I prefer to go up the ice patches then down on solid ground. So if that is you, go clockwise on the trail!! Very brief stretches of ice, and some parts are fairly steep. But I made it fine with regular hiking boots. Flagstaff was dry, just be prepared for mud.

Quick access from Golden- yes it starts in a neighborhood. We went on 2/24 and it was crazy windy, with a ton of snow blowing around. We lost the trail and weren’t able to finish. Ice present on trail but good shoes should be enough to get you through.

I will agree with what others say about it being a very exposed hike. It’s doesn’t really feel ”secluded”, but for how close it is to Golden it’s still worth the trip if you’re looking to not drive very far. Terrain was fun- some parts easy, some parts rocky.

20 days ago

Did this hike on 03/01/18, snow packed. The summer trail is very skinny and can be slippery. I did the trail in only hiking boots but had micro spikes and snowshoes as back up. The views were tremendous and the trail wasn’t busy at all. Took the winter path down which was even better, you can slide down or strap on snow shoes and trek your way down. One of my favorite hikes all year round.

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