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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hiking
11 hours ago

The trail starts out a bit steep, levels out a bit, and then returns to a decent climb to get to the top. My husband and I hiked this trail, to the waterfall, with our two kids, 7 and 10 year old. It was about 3 mi., round trip, with a 1000 ft. elevation gain (The cirque is a bit further with another 500 ft. elevation gain). The wildflowers were past their peak but there were still plenty to enjoy.

This is our third time doing this Centennial Wildflower Hike and I would have to say that we better enjoy it earlier in the season when water crossing are more plentiful and the colors are off the wall. Today's hike was dryer, still beautiful, and hot. Go in July.

I have to say, there were quite a few people on the trail. This was the busiest I have ever seen it. BIG clap of appreciation goes out to all of the folks picking-up after their dogs. There were some bags of dog poop along the trail going up. When I came back down, they were gone! That's not to say that there weren't several piles left all around the trailhead, but it sure was nice to see responsible dog owner's making a difference in the way our trails are being used and abused by cleaning up after their pets. Thanks!

Wonderful trail! Always busy, get there early..

Didn’t get up to area until 10:30am, on a Monday however no trouble parking at brainard lake parking. Beautiful lakes, meandering paths until you reach Mitchell lake then it is rocky path up to blue lake which is not difficult to navigate. Trails very well marked. Did not attempt little blue, however, it must be beautiful. I can only imagine. It must be a very steep rocky ascent. It wasn’t overly crowded however once at blue lake you certainly see and hear others. I can’t imagine it with more people. We did have a moose sighting which was a gift. This hike is now one of my must dos during my annual visit Home to Boulder

beautiful, moderate hike, very crowded on the weekends. recommend arriving at trailhead before 730am. diamond lake has plenty of space for the masses but is busy by 930am. recommended!

hiking
2 days ago

Great hike! Definitely not too difficult... fairly trafficked on the weekend as of you approach the Lake. Lots of fun waterfalls and little features along the way.... If you’re doing this on a weekend definitely make it to the trail head by 7-7:15AM or you’ll be in a jam to find parking! We made it at 8 and parked about a half mile down!

hiking
2 days ago

It's past peak wildflower season, but there were still some pretty blooms up near the top. Please be mindful that this trail is quite steep and rocky for the first mile and the last mile, so if you're bringing dogs or kids, make sure they have proper footwear (yes-- PLEASE put shoes on your dogs to protect their paws!!). View from the trail just before you hit the lake is gorgeous. Go early to avoid the crowds, we arrived at the TH just after 8:00 AM and snagged one of the last parking spaces. It was windy and chilly up at Herman Lake so bring layers!

hiking
2 days ago

Went hiking on 8/11 and it was great! Got there early around 6:30 and their was plenty of parking. Definitely recommend getting there early to beat the crowds and have the lake and trails to yourself. Coming down it was starting to get overly crowded. Last half mile was a little tough but well worth the views.

Beautiful hike on August 6, 2018.

Don’t be scared off by the incline at the beginning. Great views throughout the entire trip, very wooded in some areas and not in others. We clocked about 7.5 miles round trip.

Great hike, some steep parts, but I really noticed the incline more on the way down due to the trail being a bit loose. Great views though, lots of wild flowers, pretty lake at the end. Parking g lot fills up real fast, got there at 8am and it was already overflowing to side streets.

You want wild flowers then go here!!!

Also very underrated waterfall, photos don't do it justice.

First old mine is cool, second is not.

Steep trail, but beautiful waterfall early on and great tree coverage at the start. “Lake” and mine at the top are so so.

hiking
5 days ago

Very very pretty!

Nice hike! A good bit of the first part is along I-70, and the sound of traffic is annoying. Once you get beyond that, it is a nice, moderate incline to the lakes at the top. We will do this one again!

hiking
6 days ago

Hiked on 8/8/2018. I agree that the trail should be marked moderate. Still some nice flowers around. Skies were hazy due to smoke. Thus, visibility was not as great as it should be. Continued on to the CDT and Jones Pass for a nice round trip. Jones Pass was clear of all snow drifts. I couldn't find a clearly marked route to the CDT so I just picked what appeared to be the least steep route up to the ridge.

Very busy, however, well worth the trek.

Great backpacking trip for those looking for a challenge and adventure!

This was a nice, moderate hike. We had to park a ways up the road because there were so many cars.
We saw plenty of people on the trail, but many were backpacking, so the parking situation made it seem worse than it really was. The first mile or so is shared with the trail to Arapaho Glacier and shortly after the split is a lovely waterfall. We hiked up the waterfall area near the lake as well, and I'm bummed because we didn't realize there were more lakes! We didn't explore as much as we should have.

Amazing view! Our 3 boys loved it and one is 4 years old. Don’t miss this trail.

A great, moderate hike. My wife and I didn't make it up to Little Blue Lake, and by the time we made it to Blue Lake, it looked like it was going to storm on the day we visited, 8-5-18. Blue Lake was still a great spot eat lunch and take some pictures. It ended up not storming, so we'll be back soon to do a complete circuit.

There were still plenty of wildflowers in bloom, and we arrived shortly after a lengthy bout of rain, so some of the streams were overflowing and added to scenery and enjoyment. We missed sighting a moose with her 2 calves by just a few minutes, but saw plenty of birds and rodents. The route was well maintained and not densely trafficked while visiting on a Sunday morning and in fact we had about a quarter mile stretch on the way back where it was just the two of us. Excellent photography opportunities along the way. I look forward to returning

Absolutely beautiful trail. Should be rated moderate instead of hard in our opinion

hiking
9 days ago

Wildflowers are past peak but don't let that stop you from enjoying this moderate hike that takes you above treeline.

Some cool mining ruins at the top and a very cool waterfall about 1.5 miles into the hike.

We arrived just shy of 9am Saturday morning and parked about one-third of a mile from the trailhead. It's a short, bumpy dirt road with a few potholes but nothing a sedan can't navigate - we saw several sedans in the parking area. Just drive carefully.

hiking
9 days ago

Beautiful trail. Steady incline but extremely enjoyable because of the meadows and flowing streams. We did get caught in a hail storm on our way back It was scary but memorable ! Carry a jacket just incase.

hiking
9 days ago

Nice day, but smokey skies from fires. Lots of wild flowers. Went all the way to the cirque.

hiking
10 days ago

Had to much fun. It was beautiful and not very hard. There was a cool abandoned car at the top. Bring a rain jacket because weather can change fast up there! We got pegged on with hail. Quite the adventure tho! Would go again.

Hiked this with my cousin who was visiting from Boston on 7/30/18. It is definitely longer than 6 miles, but we also chose to wander down the path to the left once we got to the lake at the top, so that added on mileage. Beautiful hike (minus the traffic noise the first mile and last mile). Great having access to streams for dogs. View from the top is very pretty and well worth it. 2nd half of hike is fully exposed, so make sure to bring layers and sunscreen, bugs weren’t bad. Not a difficult climb, just long, well worth it! Took us about 3 hours total, give or take, stopped for lots of pictures and lunch at top. Didn’t start hike until 9:45 and we were fine w parking and weather, but it was also a Monday.

A dramatic backdrop, wildflowers, wildlife, multiple lakes and waterfalls... this trail really does have it all! (and has quickly moved up my list of favorite hikes to do in Colorado). Echoing the reviews already posted, yes definitely get there early... I arrived at 7 AM on a rainy Sunday and the parking lot was still filling up pretty quickly. Also, the rocky scramble up to Little Blue Lake is pretty challenging and not very well marked... beautiful up there, but certainly not for all skill sets. Blue Lake alone is still well worth the trip though!

Views are excellent. Don’t stop at the lower diamond lake. Keep hiking and you will find middle diamond lake and upper diamond lake. Beautiful!

Easy dirt road to drive. Most of it is like a graded county road, though toward the end it is a little more bumpy. A sedan can make it, though smoother in an SUV. At the end of the road is a "resort" with a restaurant, lake for paddle boarding and horses. Since it takes 30 minutes to get there on the road (45 minutes if you get behind someone slow), make a day out of it.
The hike is easy. Starts through a meadow. Wildflowers are weak now. Aspen groves would make a great fall trail. Light incline for a while, then a few long switch backs. It appears most people stop at the first area that reaches the creek with a tiny waterfall. However if you go downstream there is a less traveled, steeper trail that leads to the bottom of a much taller cascade. For pics and more info: https://etbtravelphotography.com/2018/07/31/a-weekend-in-vail/

bring bug spray!!!

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