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This review is on the trail done counter-clockwise. Beautiful scenery and small books perfect for a break or lunch (as we did). There were only small spots where the trail was muddy to the point of moving a few feet to the side of the marked trail. The highest point (where the climb to Bear Peak starts) has one of the best views. Then the best view upward is where you are halfway down Mesa and you finish the small switchbacks. Stop and look back. Beware it is extremely popular. We went on Easter Sunday mid morning and the parking lot was jam packed. We had about 10 runners and about 40-50 dogs...you do the math. Enjoy the views and the comradely.

One of my favorite trails! Versatile fun and a great place for lunch.

Did this hike at the end of June with no research on the trail whatsoever. We were simply exploring and happened to find a trail. We hiked all the way to Lake Isabelle before turning around (started late in the day). The trail is very well maintained. There was some snow around the 10,000 foot mark, and some rock scrambling near the end. On our way up we saw a waterfall coming out from a mound of snow and ice high up. We didn't realize until we got to the lake that it seemed to be coming from the lake. The lake itself is serene and beautiful. We were the only ones there. Hike was fairly easy and we would love to do it again maye this time going a little bit further.

23 days ago

Beautiful hike, a little difficult due to going after it snowed.

$7 for a day pass but there are miles and miles of trails ! We did a 6.5 mile loop (many trails connect and loop to each other). Pretty creek in the canyon . Trails along the creek at the canyon bottom and rim trail along the edge of the canyon . Old dam you can hike to as well! Many nice lookouts . Enjoyable hike . Playground for kids near parking area. Some restroom. Dog friendly and rock climbing areas too.

We went to the right to start the loop and went counter clockwise. The views we're great, and there is a bit of hard hiking on Shadow Canyon portion. The trail was extremely muddy in parts, enough to nearly pull my shoes off. There is a creek at the top of the canyon, which was a great break for the pup after walking thru a lot of sun.

Loved that the first half of this hike was up on the rim of the canyon, which had amazing views, and then the return trip was along the creek looking back up. All of it was great!

The road to the trailhead is currently closed for construction. I would not recommend until it reopens as it will add miles of pavement hiking.

Good views and a fun trail to hike with your pup. Parking is difficult.

Gorgeous winter hike. Tough with the extra mileage due to the road closure. Definitely bring snow shoes.

Awesome day! Didn’t make it to heart lake because deep, soft snow led to postholing. Perhaps if we got an earlier start the snow would’ve been a bit better.. Decided to call it a day and turn around. Packed snow for the majority of the trail - micro spikes came in handy! All around great hike - will be back.

1 month ago

Fun trail! It was quite tough in the snow. Not quite enough powder to snowshoe but we used them anyways for the crampons. Had a fun time though and it was gorgeous outside!

Good hike. Creek half is a mud fest 2/24/18

1 month ago

Absolutely beautiful, even better in person. If you want to avoid crowds, snowshoe up on a February day and I’ll guarantee you solitude. We were definitely the first people back there in a long time, had to break trail. A long slog back but worth every moment.

2 months ago

This is one of my favorite trails in the Leadville area as it connects to an old railroad route and leads to the abandoned railroad tunnel. This trail is the most direct route to the tunnel, thus is a bit more strenuous. However, one can take advantage of the old rail bed on the way back down. There are remnants of Douglas City and other misc. industrial pieces on the way to the tunnel.

I hiked this loop going counter clockwise and would rank it more easy/moderate than full on moderate. Good bit of mud / ice still on the trail this morning. You probably don’t NEED micro spikes / Yak Tracks, but I threw mine on for about 2 miles and wasn’t mad about it. Definitely start early if you want to avoid crowds.

on Crystal Mill

off road driving
2 months ago

One of the most annoyingly bumpy trails I’ve ever done, Even with GPS still had to ask locals how to access the trailhead. Not especially scenic until you get to the mill - mostly surrounded very close by trees. Most croweded trail I’ve ever done. Lots of foot traffic. Will not go again, Just had to see it once.

super crowded but great trail! great views even though it's right near town and 93!

3 months ago

Boy, it was kind of tough to find the trailhead, but thanks to some prior reviews, I was able to ascertain its whereabouts without wasting too much extra time. The trail was covered in snow, although it was packed down significantly with snowmobile tracks. This was an incredibly peaceful hike along the river, with the only sounds being the water moving. I passed not a soul on the trail, and had the Crystal Mill to myself. Things look very nice covered in snow. After a few photographs, some beef jerky and some water, I made my way back to my truck.

Fantastic, easy winter hike. There's snow packed on the trail next to the creek since there's not much sun there, but it's not icy. Along the rim, there isn't much for shade.

My favorite trail! So much beauty.

One of my favorite trails! I wish I had more time to explore. Will come back again for sure!!

Great hike, pretty easy, a lot of sun exposure

4 months ago

It was spring at the start and snow pack at top. But I loved it

We did almost 11 miles hike to Lake Isabelle from entrance. Road is closed leading to the trailhead. You will have to park at winter parking lot by the side of entrance booth. That adds almost 5-6 miles to the Long Lake Trailhead, depending on if you take the road or take side trails. I didn't have microspike, and had to be careful with icy conditions, was not too bad. But I would recommend getting Microspike. We started from Parking lot at 6:45 in the morning, and we were back by 1PM. Lake Isablle is mostly drained, frozen remains at the center. It was very windy and chilly so please prepare yourself for the weather. Saw Frozen Long Lake, Frozen Brainard Recreation area on our way up. Views are very gorgeous. We didn't find anyone going on the trail when were were going up, maybe because we were early. But saw few people ascending when we were descending.

Great views with several historic homesteads.

4 months ago

Especially gorgeous hike right now with all the snowfall. From the parking lot round trip my iPhone recorded an 11.5 mile trip. Make sure you bring plenty of warm gear and wear gaiters!

4 months ago

Great scenery and mild grade. The trail goes farther than shown on this map so you can simply go out and back or connect to Rosalie and Abyss and make it a several day outing.

Freakin awesome once you get there.

This is a beautiful hike! it was my first time backpacking with my husband, and we brought our dog. the scenery is beautiful and the hike is not too strenuous if you are in decent shape. I have chronic pain and back problems, so I wasn't sure how well I would do. but we kept pace with other active hikers just fine. The last mile is the most exhausting, as it is steeper than the rest, so pace yourself.
my only complaint is that many people had their dogs off leash. Some of them were behaved, but most of these off-leash dogs were getting up in my face or aggressive with my dog. I know your pup loves to run around, mine does too, but please keep your dogs leashed!

Overall, an excellent hike and several good camping spots.

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