Explore To Do - 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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23 hours ago

Had a fantastic hike here today with a buddy- weather was fantastic and lots of friendly fishers were at work in the stream. A bit of small climbing areas if you stick on the higher trails but overall pretty manageable and a great workout- leaves you feeling satisfied when done!

Snow is still falling up there as of today 4/21. Due to all of the fresh snow I wasn't able to keep to the trail itself, instead just cut my own way up all of the way to the lakes. Snowshoes are necessary until a defined trail is made again. Excellent ski snow today!

hiking
9 days ago

Hiked this a week ago on a beautiful, warm, April day! Not one speck of snow. I would not consider this trail hard...a lot of ups and downs and scenic views along the river. I parked at the canyon trailhead on road 126 so I went all the way to the dam turn around (warning signs saying no trespassing) then turned back and took the trail leading to the other parking lot. If you park at the canyon trailhead definitely take the trail at the rock split (it's obvious, there is a map on a rock), otherwise you will miss awesome views of the reservoir! Once I got to the higher parking lot on road 211, I walked/ran back on the road which was definitely faster than taking the trail back. Sorry I don't remember all the parking lot names! If you are more of an advanced hiker, this really is not a workout or hard hike. I would recommend this more for a peaceful nature stroll!

Happy hiking!

hiking
10 days ago

Great, steady up and down. Didn't make it past the loose gravel at the 4mi turn because of older dog. Beautiful views of the river.

snowshoeing
21 days ago

Quite the workout. Used spikes until a little over a mile in. Snowshoes a must after that. Trail not marked so you’re left following tracks. Beautiful though. Hiked over 3.5 miles. No lake to be seen, just rolling hills of deep snow. You’re practically at the foot of the divide at the end. Wonderfully peaceful. Look forward to hiking it in summer.

snowshoeing
25 days ago

I think moderate is an average of the terrain of this hike in snowshoes. Some parts are definitely strenuous but some parts are easy. If you're running tight on time or are feeling tired, don't bother going all the way to the lake, it's just a snow covered area, in summer I'm sure it's worth it but it was not worth it for me! People we met on the trail complained about the wind but I didn't think it was that bad.

hiking
25 days ago

One of my all time favorite hikes on the planet! Fields of wild flowers, a creek, forests, a good workout, quiet serenity, and the emerald green lake at the top. This hike always has just the right amount of other hikers- quiet and clean, but if you twisted an ankle or didn’t bring enough water, you’re not alone. This hike is heaven!

3/24/18 - Only made it to the lower lake but a beautiful hike! The forest of pines in the beginning is scenic and the view from the lake is awesome.

Wore only mircospikes and we post holes the last half mile - Would heavily recommend snow shoes.

hiking
29 days ago

3.24.2018 Beautiful trail! Snow is pretty deep about half-way up the trail. Highly recommend both microspikes/yaktrax AND snow shoes. Hiked for about two hours with spikes but had to turn back because snow was about hip-deep towards the end.

snowshoeing
29 days ago

Crushed fresh pow pow with my snowshoes on 3/23/18 up to the tree line where I turned around due to low visibility

Hiked 3/14. Made it all the way up with boots and poles. Poles were a must or at least spikes as it's steep and slippery. The last mile I was sinking in the snow quite a bit so I actually put snowshoes on to get back down to the river bottom. Awesome winter hike!

hiking
1 month ago

3.14.2018

I love this trail! It was difficult going uphill with the snow but hiking shoes and yaktrax were sufficient. I have hiked this in the summer as well and though I missed the beautiful lake at the top, it was cool to see the trail from a wintry perspective. The solitude was much needed and appreciated as I only saw a couple other hikers. Took about 3 hours round trip.

Lots of snow. Need microspikes and snowshoes. It is a great workout as it is steep.

snowshoeing
1 month ago

Beautiful hike that highly exceeded my expectations. Favorite aspect being that there is only a short (but steep) trek until you are above treeline in a tundra-like environment (the gulch). There are plenty of areas to explore, including the ridges that surround the area. The snow yesterday was the ideal texture for snowshoeing. Highly recommend.

Spikes were sufficient until about a mile before the lakes

thank you to the snowshoers and Intrepid hikers who came before me! I forgot my snowshoes in Denver and thought I would have to turn around! I hiked in mid morning on March 2nd and was able to stay and find the trail due to it being pack down. the first mile is straight-up and a great workout but the views are worth it!

snowshoeing
1 month ago

Did this trail today. First mile can easily be done in just hiking boots, definitely need snow shoes the last half. Lost the trail, but headed up in the same general direction . Saw a few people on our way back.

hiking
1 month ago

Did part of this hike with a friend. The first part of the trail was packed as the last reviewer noted. However, once we got through that first part, we lost the trail completely. There didn't appear to be any markers anywhere. We knew generally what direction we were headed, but the new snowfall made things difficult especially with tree wells. It was incredibly windy and very chilly and about 3 or so miles in we turned around. We ran into a couple of other people - they also lost the trail and turned around. The weather was pretty bad, but it was still pretty nonetheless. We are intending to try again on a day when the weather is better.

off road driving
1 month ago

Butler gulch is named after my great grandfather, Henry Butler as he ran the mine on the top looking for nickel. The old blown down cabin is where my great grandparents stayed and where my grandma would spend her time as a kid. If you’re hiking up the road you’ll come across an old little bridge crossing the creek that my grandmother built as a kid. You can go through the blown down cabin and still find mason jars. Every year my family and I would drive to the top (we were allowed to and still are) camp and clear the entrance of the mine. I haven’t been there for years since I was a kid but what I can remember it’s a beautiful place with a bunch of history. We plan on returning this summer of 2018 to clear the road.

snowshoeing
2 months ago

Completed on 2-11-2018.

This is a great trail to snowshoe that doesn't seem to be heavily trafficked during the winter months. I recommend snowshoes with a lot of float. Throughout the day I was falling waist deep in snow and breaking new trail. While fun, I wished I had brought tails for my snowshoes. Strava did record the distance just shy of 8 miles rather than noted 6.4.

Very easy trail to find. Take exit 218 then look North for the sign pointing to parking lot.

The lower third of the trail is a wide well packed trail. There is a pretty significant elevation gain over the first mile but this part of the trail is heavily used by skiers and snowshoers. The trail is wide and the snow is well packed down.

After the initial climb the sounds of i70 vanish and the trail levels off a bit, though it is a sustained climb the entire way up. The trail becomes much less traveled once the skiers head away from the main path and up their own steep slope to play. But if you're like me you're always looking for the less traveled sections of Colorado.

The middle third of the hike is through an open prairie before entering the trees. There is a 200-300 yard prairie section which had some of the deepest snow on the hike. The trail had been wiped out by an avalanche down Mount Machebeuf. There was a lightly broken trail created below the affected. The snow here is very deep and snowshoes with a lot more float would have been nice. Once you enter the trees you begin skirting the slope of Machebeuf. You are within treeline through most of this section so I wasn't worried about avalanches, but the slope is severe enough that I felt fatigue in my down slope leg from continually supporting me.

The final third is an aggressive slope made up of a few switch backs but mostly runs strait up. The snow is deep and I had to fight from continually sinking. I didn't see any evidence of an avalanche, but the final slope looked like it would be a great area for everything to go. I was pretty careful none the less. Herman Lake is probably more exciting in the summer, but it was satisfying to reach the summit.

Snowed all morning, but no wind. It was awesome. Most of the trail is good enough to walk on with hiking boots, snowshoes would have been extremely helpful, skis would have also been nice. I have neither snowshoes or skis so I didnt make it to the lakes, started post holing every step about 3/4 mile to the lakes so I turned back. Hey it was worth a shot.

snowshoeing
2 months ago

Beautiful Winter Wonder Forest to Snowy Magical Peaks. Perfect Snowshoe hike. Stayed 5 hours exploring the beautiful terrain but was not sure if we were on the traditional summer trail as there were so many trails going every which-way. We followed a main one that seemed like a road but then it broke off to a few false summits followed by delightful views that kept urging us to go farther and farther. Multiple windy bursts at the top broken up by peaceful moments of calm. The snow was looking so cool the way the wind shapes it almost like another planet.

snowshoeing
2 months ago

Snow was hard packed, a little loud initially but once you are away from the highway it was serene! I took my dog and used snowshoes near the end! Saw an old avalanche slide so backcountry skiers be ware. There is not the most snowfall up there and it was in the 40’s so I may or may not have slid into the creek that was only inches below the snow...;) This hike is on my list for a fresh powder day!

Very windy day, which wasn't too bad in the forest. The snow was pretty firmly packed on the trail. I used hiking boots most of the way without a problem, then switched to spikes about a mile - mile and half from the lakes, and then snowshoes for the last stretch. Unfortunately, the wind made hanging out by the lakes pretty miserable, so the trip was cut pretty short. Still gorgeous, though. Lots of skiers!

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful trail, well marked! Snowshoes an absolute must as there is a ton of fresh powder up towards the top! Can't wait to come back!

Lots of snow when we went two weeks ago, going back again today! Very peaceful once you conquer the initial incline away from the road. Snowshoes a must. So much fun.

Completed 1/14, made it all the way up to the first lake with yaktrax/hiking boots. Last mile was definitely slow-going. Beautiful day, no wind. The trail was pretty obvious to follow.

Early morning hike. Surprisingly, the trail was well traveled and easily followed unlike other times. Once making the turn from Rollins Pass, snowshoes are a must. Always a great hike and take the time on some of the steep climbs.

***Get there early as the parking lot was 1/3 full at 8:30 and was full at 11:30. About 75% of people were skiers.

Wife picked this trail on the way up, without telling me it was rated hard/difficult haha. Got there, and only after the first mile or so I asked what the rating was, since the inclines were no joke, especially using snowshoes with 2-4ft snow the entire way. Finally got to the lakes, much too windy to actually see them, but still an accomplishment to get there. The trek down was fast and a ton of fun though.

Note: The snowshoes were a must to make it all the way to the lakes; the trail was not very packed down for the last mile and you would post hole the whole way if just wearing boots!

Made it to the lower lakes easily- the last push to upper crater lake was no joke with deep, soft snow and we turned around at about 10,800ft. Used spikes until the last mile up then switched to snow shoes for the rest. Perfect day with no wind!

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