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The views and areas are great but I question the person who designated this trail as moderate. There were maybe two trail signs, both at the beginning of the trail. If it weren’t for this app I’m sure we would still be in the mountains trying to find our way back, including when we were on the sheer face of the mountain staring down death convinced the trail led us there. Download the app and check it often!!! We did the trail counter clockwise. Going up and down the mountain was obviously the most difficult (very strenuous!) Best of luck to those who are brave enough to tackle this one!

8 days ago

Drive a high clearance vehicle to get to the trailhead. The road through the park is in very rough shape.

hiking
9 days ago

I agree this terrain is hard. Views are quite fantastic. This is bear country and saw a clear set of tracks on the trail at about mile 4. Bring your bear protection. 6 hour round trip with about an hour on the peak to enjoy the views and relax. Not your normal quick decent because of very loose footing.

off road driving
12 days ago

We did this as a night driving trail. It wasn’t hard at all, but there are a few fun spots. Neat to do with the jeep lit up.

2015 JKUR lifted and with all the right stuff

trail running
27 days ago

It's fun, definitely a challenging incline to run up, but it's a nice view at the top. I enjoy it often.

backpacking
29 days ago

seems to be some confusion regarding the length of this trail so let me see if I can clear things up a bit. First of all, it is ALL uphill... so don't expect any relief from the climb. You will climb 6 miles, then... you climb down approximately .2 miles... that is 2 tenths of a mile, very short... then you have to cross the creek and go right... about another 100 yards you will find the cabin that was built in 1939. It has some things in it... no door... good place to overnight with an adequate fireplace and fire pit outside. Right next to the creek with some great bathing pools. Now... if you can find it, the trail keeps going passed the cabin. Look for green, pink, red ribbons and also the stacked rocks every now and then, cross a very small skree field and keep going another couple of miles and you will end up on the forest service road. The best part of this is getting to the cabin by the creek... it is worth it... especially if you stay the night and actually use the cabin. Important to remember is that it is ALL UPHILL... so do not think that the uphill hike will end... because it won't. I was there today and fixed the mantels in the lantern, installed new ones. Please do not touch the mantels when lighting them. That is not how they work... you will ruin the new ones and then the next campers will have no lantern. Also, the propane tank that feeds the lantern is full now so it all works. Dry matches and Firestarter fatwood is in the dry clear container on the shelf. Please respect the cabin so others can enjoy it too. Cheers.

I wouldn't recommend this trail. it is not kept up and requires a lot of maintenance

I did this hike with my Boston Terrier on Jan 14 of this year. We went counterclockwise because at first glance it is an easier accent. I want exactly acclimated to the altitude so this hike kicked my ass. That said the views are spectacular.

Be prepared for a few stream crossings. When I went the streams were half frozen over so at times I had to carry my dog. Going counter clockwise this came later in the hike. I was tired but the cool feet were welcome.

Finishing the hike on the high of the accomplishment, the feeling however dashed... when my 5 year old 25 lb Boston Terrier, who had EASILY covered 2x the distance I had on this hike, bolted after a squirrel near the parking lot as if we had just arrived!!!! Compounding my astonishment by showing absolutely zero signs of exhaustion even on the 30 minute car ride home.

I mention this because the trail is NOT WELL MARKED. Had it not been for my trail trained lil buddy continuously tracking the trail I would have had s nich more difficult time.

if its warm bring LOTS of water. it was ideal at 35-40 degrees for us in Jan.

hiking
1 month ago

this is a strenuous hike I would rate this hike as moderate to hard.
beautiful scenery stsrted at 1040 hiked half way and were back down by 1.,

hiking
2 months ago

This can be a great hike - if you're prepared. I completed this hike with 3 friends this past Saturday, August 11, and we all found it more challenging than expected, especially given that the most recent review here says "first easy hike...perfect for our 7-year-old's first time in CO"! I'm wondering if either they did a different trail or they just have the toughest 7-year-old in the world.

The first challenging aspect is that this hike is located in the true Colorado desert, much of it without cover so you're hiking in the full sun. Second, it's a a lower elevation than most of the hikes we do in CO so there's not the normal escape from the summer heat that we're used to. I would not recommend doing this hike in the summer at all unless you have plenty of water - as in bring what you think you need then bring about half as much again - and you have the proper summer-time gear, like wide brimmed hats, lots of sunblock, etc.; or you hit the trail VERY early in the day before it gets warm.

This trail is very rugged. The condition of the trail matches the fact that it is in a State Wildlife Area as it definitely wild! In many places it is overgrown to the point that you are pushing through vegetation without being able to see where you're going. Often we were essentially skirting the side of the canyon on a single-file trail. The trail itself is covered in largish rocks that force you to keep an eye on where you're placing your feet. If you want to take in the scenery, which really is beautiful, you almost have to stop to avoid a misstep.

The trail isn't always clearly marked either but we did download the All Trails map and it helped us get back on track a couple of times, BUT, there is one section that apparently has been rerouted since the map was last updated. When going clockwise, right as you're leaving edge of the creek for the last time, there is a fork in the trail and the All Trails map tells you to go left, even though the trail on the right is more well-used and there are a few rocks partially blocking the left fork. We thought we should trust the All Trails map though and went left and wound up in what appeared to be a bear's bathroom! The trail just tapered out at an area of undergrowth that was covered in bear scat! We even passed a bear scratching tree with a big clump of bear fur on the ground below it. We wondered if the trail was rerouted to avoid a bear den! In any case we turned around and took the right fork and got back on track.

The length of this loop is also a little longer than stated here. We started recording with the All Trails app as soon as we got out of the car, which was parked very close to the trail, and our round trip distance measured 8.2 miles. I think the 7.5 mile distance doesn't include the walk from the parking lot to the actual trail head.

Overall I did enjoy this hike. The canyon itself and the creek are really beautiful and I loved that there was only one other car in the parking lot when we arrived - something unheard of in most places in CO on a summer Saturday. But as I stated earlier, it was definitely more challenging that we expected and I don't know that I would do it again any time soon. Maybe in the autumn and would still bring a lot more water.

off road driving
2 months ago

It was beautiful in a few stopping places, but mostly just driving on rocks between trees and bushes, so unlike Shelf Road to get there (which is gorgeous but easy) this drive isn't really about seeing much. Instead, it's about crawling around of the rocks. So it depends on what you're looking for. I did have fun, but it was definitely more difficult than I was originally intending to do since I was going solo. It gets pretty narrow in places with some slanted sections that were tricky, and it left quite a few pinstripes. (Stock 2015 Xterra 4X4)

Our traditional first easy hike to get acclimated. Perfect for our 7-year-old’s first time in CO. Also where we scattered one of our dog’s ashes - so has lots of sentimental value attached for us. Beautiful.

3 months ago

Only went in the first mile or so. Steep so very challenging Parking is sketchy. We overnight camped on the first flat area in which was very nice with a great view.

3 months ago

Definitely rewarding getting into the canyon! We had a rental car, and had to stop a mile+ from the actual trailhead (due to needing clearance/ road not being maintained) but once we found it, enjoyed the hike! Crossing through the creek wasn’t bad today, water ran just below my knee, and I’m about 5’4”. The ascent out of the canyon definitely kept the heart rate up, but went quickly. My Fitbit clocked in at 1.4 miles to the temple from the trail head. Happy hiking! :)

hiking
3 months ago

I have hiked this mountain from two angles and it is my favorite mountain hands down. This particular trail is breathtaking. You will never forget this hike!

hiking
3 months ago

My review is based on fond and strong memories of hiking this trail four times, the first in 1963 and the last in 1984. So, I cannot comment from firsthand experience on the current condition of the trail. I was very sorry to read that the Forest Service no longer maintains this trail much, if at all. Technical note: I've learned that the US Geological Survey has added 5 ft to at least some of the elevation numbers in this area. So, I've added 5 to some numbers from my old topo map.

I usually had to look around a bit to find the continuation of the trail after it last crosses the creek and heads toward the North Peak. The part of the trail between this point (elevation about 8800 ft) and timberline (about 11,600) is unlike any other from the dozens of hikes I've done in Colorado. This stretch involves over 20 switchbacks, a seemingly relentless upward slope, and only one small clearing (as I remember) in the trees along the way. This long steep trek in the forest might be boring for many hikers, but for me, it encouraged a sort of meditative experience.

You will know you are near timberline when you can see the rocky side of North Peak through the trees. The trail turns left and heads south for roughly 500 to 600 ft over fairly level ground. On this stretch, I remember a few trees fallen over the trail, then the remnants of a little cabin-like structure near the edge of the trees. (I understand that more trees have fallen over this part of the trail since I've been there, and are a bit of a problem now.) A few hundred feet after emerging from the trees, the trail turns west and heads upward toward the saddle point between North Peak and the pair of summits south of it. I had to look around some to spot the cairns marking this part of the trail. (The first time I hiked the trail, I missed the cairns and continued to walk south, then to scramble up the side of one of the pair of summits south of North Peak. Laughed at myself when I finally noticed those cairns, now far below and west of me. Of course, on my descent later, I walked to the saddle point and used that part of the trail.)

On reaching the saddle point (12,045+), you suddenly get a fine view of the northern Sangre de Cristo mountains, the nearest of which is about 25 miles to the west. Pikes Peak is about 60 miles to the north, and the well-known twin Spanish Peaks are about 30 miles to the south.

The trail continues over the saddle point, then heads southwest down the west side of the mountain (see below). So, from the saddle, you pick your own way(s) off-trail to go any higher. Almost all the walking is easygoing and comfortable above the saddle. I'll mention three good options, each of which I've taken. (1) Greenhorn Peak (12,352) is about 1 and 3/4 miles southeast of the saddle. I remember walking on some rocks that shifted a little under my weight as I approached the peak; maybe I failed to notice a more solid way to walk. (2) North Peak (12,225) is about 1/3 mile northeast of the saddle. (3) A pair of unnamed summits is about 1/2 mile southeast of the saddle. The lower one (12,205+) is about 1/4 mile southwest of the higher one (12,242), with a small dip in elevation between them. I remember this third option, to two points without names (at least on the maps I've seen), as an especially pleasant and relaxing walk above treeline.

Many other mountains are higher and get more attention, but I prefer Greenhorn, for the hiking and for the views of both Greenhorn and the mountains around it. For me, the most pleasant viewing in the mountains is a summit that rises about 500 ft or so above timberline, as this one does.

Here is an alternate use of the trail, for people who prefer to hike only above the trees. Drive the Greenhorn Mountain Road to the west end of the trail, which is on a fairly level area that includes a pair of small lakes, high on the west side of the mountain. This road was in good condition when I drove it years ago; see the topo map and elsewhere for directions. From the west trail head to the saddle point, the elevation gain is 570 ft, and the walking distance is 9/10 mi. I have never hiked this part of the trail myself, and do not know the current condition of it. (Also from this high road location, you can hike the Bartlett Trail toward Greenhorn Peak, then scramble the remaining 700 or so ft up the peak on a route of your choosing. The two trail heads are close to each other, so take care which one you start walking on.)

3 months ago

The trail was very nice for us on our horses, although rocky in places. Shoes would be a necessity. Once you climb up about 3 miles or so you enter a very pretty aspen grove.
The parking situation, however, was pretty scary. The pull off is immediately past the turn to Mears Junction on the west side of the road, and east to miss. However, the turn out is between blind curves from both directions. Our horses are used to traffic but it was still concerning. I chose to continue further south to Poncha Pass to turn around vs attempting a U turn.
It appears the trail goes both east and west of the highway, but we followed the trail to the east thus necessitating crossing the highway.

hiking
4 months ago

Nice hike. 2700 vertical is a good indicator of the difficulty. I would rate it more on the strenuous side. Lot of bears too.

Gorgeous trail! I did 3 miles in. Moderate+ After the first half mile it is not for little ones or people with health issues. Ate a picnic by the stream. Just saw a few people on the trail. Can't wait to go back!

hiking
4 months ago

Well this mountain is nothing to sneeze at! I know the map says 11.3 miles, but our step tracker said 17 miles round trip. The trail was awesome up until about 11,500 ft., where there are SO many downed trees covering the trail it is impossible to get through. I recommend heading up to the right to get around them then get back on the trail. The downloaded map from this site definitely saved us by helping get us back on it. At the end of the day, it was a great hike and very rewarding! Even though it is a 12,300 Ft. Mountain, this hike definitely rivals some of the 14ers we have climbed.

hiking
4 months ago

Can get steap in some places but plenty of rest points, quiet (Mid May) , only saw two other hiking groups. We only made it a few miles in before turning around however what we saw was very enjoyable. One person mentioned it before but make sure to protect from and check for ticks after - we found one on our bed after that, think it stowed-away on one of our packs. The breeze is cool and filters down the trail between the mountains, coming across the river helps it a little. Low snow last winter has made it less of a hassle to cross it (you will be forced to walk across it). The bridge is a new rebuild and much of the trail has been cleared of debris from last spring’s floods. Though the further you go up the less has been done. Expect a good number of areas to step over or under downed trees. Loved it, was a great hike for couples or groups alike. Pack water and walking stick.

A word of caution, if you go off the trail there are quite a few areas where the rock and dirt is loose along edges leading into the riverbed. General safety measures and you should be just fine. Did stumble across someone’s camping ground, however this is a no camping trail/area marked by the trailhead marker.

off road driving
5 months ago

I’d say this trail is rated medium to hard. Gets a little tight in there so you could get some scratches in the truck. Over all though it was a great drive with some beautiful views.

hiking
5 months ago

My wife and I hiked the loop clockwise on May 8. We recommend that direction of travel for first timers. This trail is more challenging on the western side because of the ups and downs along the cliff side and a couple of creek crossings, and it's usually best to do the harder part first when you're fresh. It's not a difficult trail, but it falls into the upper end of "moderate." If instead you go counterclockwise and find the west side too much to handle, it's a long way back to the trailhead the way you came. Also, the west facing cliff side can get very hot in the afternoon, whereas the deep canyon and tree cover on the eastern side can be a welcome relief on a hot day.
The grade on the west side of the summit seems to be a little steeper than on the east slope, but either side is about equally safe for either ascent or descent if you're careful. Be aware there are a number of places along the way where alternate paths may lead you astray. Keep your Alltrails app handy and check it often to ensure you're on the trail. One place where I recommend a detour from the Alltrails map: at the northwest corner of the trail you can take an approx. half mile detour that takes you along the side of the hill up above the creek. It's easier to follow, there are no creek crossings, and it's a bit shorter.
Overall, it's a great hike with beautiful vistas from the summit and some amazing scenery along the west wide. Take lots of water, and plan for about five hours if it's your first time.

hiking
5 months ago

I’m 55, 6’3”, 240 lbs...about 40 lbs overweight and the least fit that I’ve ever been. This hike is no way to begin a fitness program. Going counter clockwise, the first third is a gentle uphill, no problem. Make the left onto Telephone Pole Trail and things get ridiculous in a hurry and stay that way to the top. Coming down the backside, the trail is too steep and overgrown, it’s dangerous for a big guy. Once down from the steep section, I figured it would get better, it didn’t. It’s pretty much a mountain goat trail with countless steep ups and downs. At one point, there’s an option to drop from the cliff to hike along the creek, I took it. Could not imagine another up hill section along the cliff. The creek was a mistake. Recent rain made dry shoe crossings impossible. I crossed the creek twice before deciding my best chances would be to scurry up the the hillside in hopes of hitting the main trail. That was about the time my water ran out, 85 Oz is not enough. That’s when my knee through in the towel. It was the thought of being eaten by bears and mountain lions after dark that motivated me to complete the hike.

Don’t get me wrong, the hike is spectacular, especially on the Beaver Creek side. I’ll do it again. Next time, more water, a pair of walking poles, and perhaps a sandwich...a big sandwich. Coming from California, the idea of a spectacular hike on a perfect Sunday without seeing another person does not happen, especially so close to home.

Nice Hike, Did the hike counter clockwise, it gets somewhat thick on the backside. Did not run into anyone.

5 months ago

Very easy and very beautiful. Sounds of the river are lovely. Many places to stop and sit and take it all in. The tunnels make this trail very unique

hiking
5 months ago

This trail is heavily wooded and has a bit of downed timber. Not a super easy hike, but very enjoyable none the less. The 6.5 miles in is well rewarded once you reach the creek and cabin at the end of the trail. Great place for an overnight trip, but doable in a single day. I hiked this trail yesterday in 2.5 hours round trip.

hiking
5 months ago

Beautiful hike. Did it counter-clockwise. Trail is clear for the first half; second half was more overgrown, but not bad. Was easy to stay on trail if you check the app periodically as the notes on the map are great. I took the path that goes up and down the side of the canyon to avoid the multiple creek crossings. The 1 place where you did have to cross, there were logs across (not real stable, but use an extra stick or hiking poles to help balance), so I didn’t even get my shoes wet. :) Would be unbearably hot during the summer, but nice today when the high was in the upper 60’s. Took about 4.5 hours (avid hiker in decent shape), but make no mistake, it is pretty challenging!

camping
5 months ago

Can you camp overnight on this trail?

hiking
6 months ago

Great short hike from an awesome campground! We had no idea it was there and were amazed by the temple at the end. Wading through the creek was fun, if not cold.

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