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Went clockwise at sun up. First 1/2 was in the shade. Second 1/2 headed to gem lake from bridal veil falls was pretty warm @ 80 degs today. Still a great hike with lots of fall colors. Saw elk, turkeys and a bobcat. We think the bobcat was sneaking in on the turkeys.

we went on a Monday and arrived around 11 am, only saw two other people and some campers that we're across from the trailhead but definitely not high traffic. i agree it was a little confusing to arrive to but the directions helped, stay left at the fork and keep going uphill. also like other people said, it is really downhill the way out, so the way back be prepared it's a long way up! great trail, looking forward to doing it again !

Up to Cirque Meadows is very easy. The aspens are changed, making much of the path very colourful.
We were confused at first about the marked campsites which are farther up the trail past the meadow-the sites were nice, site 3 has a good view.
The rest of the way was tougher, and some places we lost the trail as it wound up the boulders.
The end views are breathtaking, and great photo opportunities. I plan on going again in June when the wildflowers are bloomed.

We started at 830am and got back to the trailhead at about 530pm on 9/4/18, but we stopped at Bridal Veil Falls as well as Gem Lake for a generous amount of time. Did the loop counterclockwise. We are experienced but not advanced hikers, wore hiking shoes and brought a day pack for water/snacks/layers. Nothing fancy.

This is a really gorgeous hike that takes you through at least four different habitats around and on the mountains. The second half of the hike goes through a lot of open fields/meadows but is very close to shaded areas at the base of the mountain. This could be frustrating but luckily we had some thunderstorms that kept us cool. Bring LOTS of water!!!! There is no water to refill with on the trail unless you filter from Gem Lake or a stream. We had five water bottles and were still very thirsty by the end.

As other reviews state, the steepest part of the hike is the first chunk right before Gem Lake. After that it is pretty steady and a good mixture of up and down before Bridal Veil Falls, which were pretty steep. Some people said they were disappointed in the falls, but make sure you climb up the side to see the falls from above! The creek and the view from up there are well worth it, just be careful of slippery wet rocks.

We didn't get the chance to see any elk, but... we did see A BEAR! During those thunderstorms we managed to walk right up on one before we could hear each other... holy crap was that a rush! Like other reviews said, this probably only happened because we saw so few people. In all those hours hiking we probably passed 20 people total- and we didn't see anybody on the back half of the loop on Black canyon trail.

Passing through the private land on the back of the loop was interesting. At first we were nervous, but since it's part of the MacGregor Ranch it is technically still a part of the national park and the land is open and full of pines and boulders. Just stay on the trail and you're good.

Overall an amazing experience! Perfect all-day hike without the intensity of hiking 7 miles to a summit.

Ryan & Christie

Even cloudy, great views!

Manageable 13er with motivating views as early as a mile in. Flowing switchbacks keep this hike in the moderate/moderate+ category until around mile 3, the only truly difficult section is the last half mile push to the summit. A “good to know” is, you are VERY exposed for slightly more than half of the trek up to the summit, so that’s when/if the wind will pick up (or sun on a mild/hot day). I did not have any wind at the summit but be aware temps can drop on you. The whole Brainard Lake Rec Area is amazing, this 13er certainly fits the mold!

27 days ago

I did this trail yesterday and it was absolutely stunning. The hike up to the Cirque is relatively flat and I think would be doable by most people. It is lined with aspens so would be really pretty if you catch them in turning season. The trail is very diverse-aspens, then pines, some meadows, lots of small lakes, streams, and some waterfalls, wildflowers, berries, mushrooms...it was nice and cool as well. Not crowded. The lakes surrounded by peaks and snow were beautiful blue. I think it was more like 11.4 miles, and I was shocked that it went by so easily, mostly cause a lot of it is mostly flat.

27 days ago

I consider this a get right hike. This hike has everything without being too physically demanding. It has good flat parts, good inclines, a beautiful halfway turnaround spot at the Cirque Meadows, a high alpine lake, aspens, rivers, wild flowers.

If you have been on some rough hikes this will be perfect difficulty to get you right. We started at 8:00, reached Emmaline by 10:10, and were done by 12:45. A dip in the lake was cold but surprisingly refreshing.

28 days ago

I bet there aren’t a half dozen hikes this visually
stunning in all of Colorado.

For a Saturday in the summer, the trail didn’t feel crowded at all above Lake Isabel. We arrived at 630 am and Long Lake TH had one final parking spot.

Gaining 2100 or so over 4.5 miles sounds more like a moderate hike, rather than hard. But then you do it. Because so much of the vertical is in that last 1.5 miles to the pass, it’s a lung buster to the finish. The terrain is rocky but completely non-technical or more complicated than a few talus crossings. That being said, I was glad to have trekking poles for the descent.

Don't really know about the trail as we followed the getting there link. They say go to lost lake trail head. This does not exist in the area. I am told this trail head is far away. Find beaver creek trail head.

28 days ago

8/26/18 - Incredible trek. Trail is pretty well marked for about 3 miles. Last mile is rock scramble up. I don’t no where to begin, or how to described this amazing hike. Words cannot describe it. My fav trek to date. Wind is strong and chilly be prepared.

28 days ago

More like 12 miles including (pleasant) hike from day use area. You should just plan on that and count yourself lucky if you get a spot at Long Lake trailhead. We arrived 830 on Saturday, but suspect a lot are gone to overnighters.

Busy trail but we'll worth it. Please think about taking leash reactive dogs to other trails! This one is popular and narrow in places. It must be exhausting to have to so actively manage their behavior every few minutes.

Never seen Lake Isabelle so dry! First pond was empty in late August. Main part still had water and was as beautiful as always. Trail past the lake gets significantly tougher both up and down, so allow time.

The loop is great! Totally recommend the hike! You start with the steepest part “Gem Lake” - best option, only a few miles through big boulders and steep walls. After that is a great decent to the valley, and you would be lucky to find anyone on the trail (apart from bulk deers and elks)... you reach this easy hike to the base of the waterfall (last mile is tough). From there you will following and decent uphill (way easier than the other way around) to the best pastures ever!
It is a hard hike, long and non technical but totally great!
Deers are abundant, elks will be there!
We started at 11:30 an finished around 18...

We arrived on Saturday at 8am and left around 1045. We only saw 3 people who were just starting as we were leaving. The river at the end was worth the whole trip. Our pup loved playing in the water, and we got in up to our knees. There’s a lot of tall grass, so tall socks or pants might be good.

Start early. Very windy st the top

Really enjoyed this trail. Arrived at 4pm on a Sunday. Only saw three other people. So quiet and tons of wildflowers. Didn’t see any wildlife besides birds, but the river at the end was so lovely to cool off in and relax. Also loved the cabin. Would definitely do this hike again.

1 month ago

Left the TH @ 7am and was able to summit at about 8:50. Incredibly windy, foggy and chilly at the summit for mid August but that made it a gorgeous hike in its own sense. Brought my pup, he did well for the last .5-1mi being mostly class 2 scrambling on boulders.

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.

Great hike, a few steeper spots but generally easy. We saw almost no people on the trail which is increasingly difficult in the front range.

The entire elevation gain is the 3ish miles closest to the lake, where the incline hits you like a wall! We found ourselves scrambling quite a few times up and around rock walls. The lake is underwhelming, not sure if the final climb was really worth it. The weather was beautiful though, and friendly hikers and packers that we passed along the way.

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!

1 month ago

The first portion of the trail is a access road, so not very scenic, but once you hit the Clear Lake/Kelly Lake junction it is very stunning. The trail does not get too difficult until the last few miles so you can cruise the first portion pretty fast. The wildflowers and the mountains are really beautiful. *WARNING* they do run cattle through this area so don’t be surprised if you run into a cattle drive in progress. We ran into several groups of cows (including an active drive) on the access road so it did slow us down quite a bit. They easily move out of the way, just slow going as to not spook them. This trail is also heavily used by equestrian groups (as it is near the equestrian camp) so be prepared for groups on horseback. Over all a great trail.

1 month ago

Such amazing views!!! Go all the way up to the peak, don’t stop at the sign. Saw many people do this! 360 panoramic views at the top, breathtaking.

1 month ago

It was an amazing hike and had some AMAZING views. We hiked it and it was rainy and FREEZING. So I recommend warm clothes, gloves, hats, and rain gear because it was unpredictable. It took us 6.5 hours round trip with 2 people from Colorado and 3 people from Ohio (all of our first 13ner). Definitely not an easy hike especially with the rocks at the top but it’s totally do able if you are inexperienced. The wind at the summit was unimaginable. We had to stay hunkered down because standing was almost impossible. Trekking polls were a good option to have too! Overall it was an amazing hike and I would do it again!

A 4 outta 5. The lake and Bridal Falls made it worth it. The back part of the loop is indeed hot but it's a little ridiculous to complain about it!

I got a late start with my 19 month old daughter - left the Lumpy Ridge Trailhead at 830am on a Monday (7/30/18) and did the loop counter clockwise. I ended around 330pm. I gotta be honest, it was tough sledging on the last ascent on the backside of the loop. Mostly because I was carrying my daughter in a pack which weighed ~47 pounds and I was getting worn down.

A few things:

-Per GAIA GPS: 13.08 miles, 2,790' ascent, 7:18 hours (1:36 of stoppage time - lunch at the falls, water filtration, diaper changes).
-I was surprised at the lack of people. Saw ~8 people between TH and Gem Lake. Probably ~5 between Gem Lake and Bridal Falls area. ~12 around the Falls. ~10 from Falls, around back part of loop, and TH (mostly within a mile of TH).
-Water is pretty much everywhere. I refilled near the Falls.

1 month ago

Nice, rigorous hike with plenty of terrain changes as you go. Started from Long Lake. Trail is undergoing maintenance with various crews at this time. Tread is rocky in many areas making passage more awkward and slow. Recommend an early start for parking and weather considerations. Traffic along the trail is heavy with lots of dogs accompanying their hikers. Even saw one hiker carrying two bearded dragons. Worth the effort for the beautiful views.

Beautiful day
Beautiful hike

1 month ago

Great Hike! Windy & Cold at the top!!

My wife and I did this recently and were amazed at all the wildflowers. Awesome views of surrounding mountains and Isabelle glacier. Did not go all the way to the pass. Had lunch at the flat tundra area and watched some marmots.

1 month ago

Beautiful trail with a lot of variety. Love the Indian Peaks Wilderness area. Long Lake parking lot was full by the time we arrived at 7:30am on a Friday, but you can park and walk from Mitchell Lake TH or Niwot Picnic Area (which fill up less quickly) pretty easily; just adds a mile or less each way. Niwot Picnic Area actually has a trail directly from the road that links up to the Mitchel Lake trails. There's bathrooms at most (all?) of these parking areas/trailheads. You'll pass by Lake Isabelle (a worthy destination in itself if weather strikes or you're feeling tired) on your way up the pass. Once you've reached the continental divide sign, Pawnee Peak is a worthwhile detour, up to your right.

1 month ago

Amazing hike! Beautiful views that inspire awe (no joke). Two tips: arrive early and budget time for the descent.

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