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.

to do Map
VIEW FULL MAP
hiking
12 hours ago

On a whim I was looking for something relatively short with some elevation gain since I just moved to Denver and hunting season will soon be upon us. Driving there was pretty easy as the road looks like it was just graded this spring or early summer. don't get going too fast or your tail end will try to come around! There's a five mile dirt road approach that looks highly seasonal, but is fine for all but the lowest cars if you're careful and avoid the potholes and go slowly over washboarding.

The hike itself is nice and relatively gentle elevation gain. I'd recommend some trekking poles for the rocky path you have to take, or perhaps just some sturdy ankle support wielding boots. I'd absolutely come back here, it looks like the trail goes further than the last lake but I didn't have a GPS and it began to look like a goat path. For another day then.

Definitely gets full of traffic early, and make sure everyone uses the restroom before you park; the restrooms at the entrance are the most disgusting things I’ve ever walked in and then immediately out of.

Beautiful views along the entire walk!

hiking
15 hours ago

Great route not to be missed if visiting area. Stay hydrated, especially if not used to altitudes.

Up and down

Gorgeous! Hike is moderate with trails easily marked. We saw many elk along the way. We took the shuttle from town because we arrived later in the day and couldn’t park at Big Bear of transfer station...they were full. It was a very pleasant drive up to the hike...and we could both admire the scenery!

hiking
1 day ago

Just an awesome trail with a creek, giant waterfall, panoramic Mountain View’s, wildflowers, and the choice of 4 lakes. It’s a very good workout, so bring enough water and snacks. Enjoy!

Pretty easy hike as far as elevation climb goes.. it is mostly flat with only small inclines and declines. The burned trees don't make for the prettiest sight but the lake full of lily pads is beautiful! Probably not my favorite hike but seemed family friendly as we saw lots of families with very young kids hiking. The creek and boulders are also a neat part of this trail.

hiking
1 day ago

Very rocky trail, too many people and a drained lake. It should be called a reservoir not a lake. People should be TOLD when getting a permit that the lake has been drained. Huge disappointment. (see pic of Jasper pond)

This trail felt like walking through a fairy tail. Just too perfect. We arrived at 4:30, after the crowds were leaving; but the trail was still swamped with people. Completely worth the crowds. Just magical.

We started out early (7:30) and avoided most of the crowds. Headed out from the fern TH to make the finish easier - better to walk 1 mile on a dirt road when it’s cool and empty. We saw wild turkeys, elk, marmots. The lake is nice, but the pool is way better. Coming down along the Big Thompson river was crowded. Loved it. Done with an 11 and 13yo.

Nice hike, shade/sun mix.

backpacking
3 days ago

Lot was full by 10am but we squeezed on the road. We read there wasn’t many backpacking spots - and I found maybe 3, but were too close to water or the trail. We found if you go past (between) the final lakes and keep going (careful, the trails spur and we got turned around), you follow a stream on your right after 1/2 mi to approx 3 sites spread by a few hundred feet. It was a good first backpacking trip for my 7yo. There was plenty of water, moderate temps, and while we saw a bunch of bugs, only really got one or two bites. We encountered a cow moose about 30 feet off the trail about half way up!

I think technically this is in the Indian Peaks Wilderness and you need a permit in summer, but, sorry, it is ridiculous to print a form and mail a $5 check or to go to the office. Let me do it online. https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/arp/recarea/?recid=80803

Overall it's not a trail I'd be super excited to get back to or take anyone to, but it was a nice short hike with shade most of the way. The final lakes/ponds are pretty with some views of the surrounding ridges. The lakes are small with quite a few people crowded around fishing or lounging. The first lake you pass is mosquito heaven and pretty yucky.

Challenging (moderate/difficult) to Surprise Lake and a more moderate second half to Upper Cataract Lake. We left the TH at 6:30am, arrived at Upper Cataract shortly after 9:00am. We fished with small spinners and spoons and caught four brook trout. Great hike, we will be back to camp at Surprise Lake!

Vraiment beau paysage !!

hiking
3 days ago

Beautiful trail. Definitely arrive by 7:30 am to avoid heavy traffic. If you are not an early riser and always lucky, arrive around 10 am to take the early birds' spots.

Great combination of open field and shade from the trees. Path was well marked and the sand was good for the dogs. Not busy at all Sunday afternoon. Great easy trail.

Beautiful scenery but there are better ones than this lake.

This hike offered a quick escape from Denver heat today, but not much escape from crowds. We enjoyed the trail, but it was very crowded and of course, there was a lot of dog poop along the trail and two dogs off leash, despite someone asking the owner to leash them. I think this hike would be much better during the week; it was just too busy on a weekend.

Beautiful views: mountain-backed lakes, harsh ridge lines, and wildflowers. Well-marked trail.

We hiked clockwise, three days, two nights -camped at Bettie Lake and Devil’s Thumb Lake, felt alone at both. Jasper Lake looked like a popular camping spot, and there was a site by the stream right before the off-shoot to Bob and Bettie Lakes if you don’t want to leave the loop. We were skinny-dipping at Devil’s Thumb and realized there was a lone fisherman across the lake getting a great show, haha, but otherwise, camping was very peaceful.

I was thankful for layers because it was really hot during the day, but surprisingly cold as soon as the sun dipped. We made Nalgene hot water bottles to supplement our 20* sleeping bags.

We hiked mid-week (Aug 8-10) and saw more hikers and trail-runners than backpackers. Some people struggling, but then also an older couple of women crushing it, and a Dad with two young kids. I’m a beginner with a heavy pack and ended each day smiling.

Brought my 35lb pup - she wore off her front pads chasing marmot in the rocks... which wouldn’t have been a problem if I had kept her on leash. She loved it. Didn’t see many (any?) dogs out towards the peak, but lots at the trailhead. Leash definitely required for the first bit.

Elevation is no joke, but plenty of places to refill water, so keep drinking!!

Side note: we stopped in Ned on the way home and ate at the Thai restaurant - killer $10 lunch deal!

hiking
5 days ago

It's worth the uphill grade to see Emerald Lake. Very pretty and attainable.

backpacking
5 days ago

My SO and I planned to do this loop over 2 nights but were cut short due to weather. We hiked up to venable lake, it was 6.5-7 miles. The aspen groves were beautiful and the view before making the final climb amazing. The lake area was open and rocky, but good for setting up a tent. Unfortunately we got all settled in and the predicted light rain turned into a pretty bad storm and we had to throw everything in our packs and make a run for the trailhead. I’ll definitely be back to finish the loop another time.

Arrived at 5:15 am on Saturday and there were a lot of cars parked on the side of the road but still plenty of space. People can't seem to agree on which way to go- I decided to go counterclockwise and I'm very glad I did.

I have been up to Jasper Lake a couple of times but this is the first time I tried the loop. In my opinion the north side of the loop is more scenic. It's best to do it in the morning when the lighting is better and you still have energy. Also I like steep inclines more than steep declines as they're more exciting and less stressful on the knees. Saw a bull moose about halfway up to Jasper Lake. That was pretty terrifying as he was only 25 yards or so off of the trail hidden behind some trees. I snapped a quick picture and got out of there.

The trail is pretty easy. The distance is the hard part. I was feeling pretty haggard on the last 3-4 miles. Got back to the parking lot a little before 3PM. I probably could of finished at 2 if I hadn't of taken so many pictures.

Overall an awesome hike! My favorite one so far

I usually love this hike but the lake was about half drained, almost no water.

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.

This hike without other factors should be a 5. Three great hikes in a short hike. But the amount of people on this trail just ruins it. Started at 830 and already way too late.

Once you get the lakes don't find a place to sit down immediately as other do. Explore around the lake to find some solitude.

Really want to do this hike again but starting at 530 am.

Did this hike with wife and kids (2 and 5). Had hiking carrier for them but they also took turns hiking.

hiking
5 days ago

Beautiful hike despite all the people.

hiking
6 days ago

This was a great hike with versatile scenery. You had meadows, mountain views, walking in the woods, open area. We saw wild turkey. It wasn’t difficult nor too easy to hike. There were log benches scattered on the trail and easy signs to follow. Yes there is horse poop along the trails but just step aside. We went on a Sunday midday and there were people but not crowded. We plan to make this a regular one.

This trail gets a bad wrap here! it was actually beautiful and the signage was just fine. I counted no fewer than 5 signs directing me along the trail. and the map IS accurate. just follow it while you are walking (pull out your phone when you get to a fork in the path) and if you take a wrong turn you can easily see it on the map on AllTrails.

Load More