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Loved this hike! Beautiful as the trail ascends through the forest. Two steep parts, one about1-2 miles in and the ascent to the lake. A small and bigger waterfall and a few stream crossings, love the water! I have two dogs and needed water in addition to my 3 liter camelback. The lake is beautiful and quiet. My dogs loved it too!

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

This is definitely a great trail. but if you are hiking all the way to the falls it is not moderate. and yes it is longer than stated. beautiful vistas.

My first solo trip. Weather was perfect and the trail lived up to all my expectations. CLockwise and glad I did!

hiking
3 days ago

It's a pretty straightforward 13er with spectacular views! A lot of incline at first but then its mellows out shortly before the summit.

hiking
3 days ago

Great 13er to try, especially when 14er training. I would not say this trail is easy as it’s a steady incline most of the way with a few straight away moments.

The vast majority of the hike is above timberline, so plan bathroom breaks accordingly. There is a great bathroom at the parking lot. Although, during this last visit it was a disaster zone.

Expect windy conditions no matter what day you choose. However, we benefited from a beautiful, sunny day.

The trail to the top and back is closer to 7 miles versus the 6 listed on all trails. The view at the top are spectacular and worth the trek.

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.

Beautiful hike on August 6, 2018.

The first mile was OK but after that it is just cut down dead trees and not very pretty. We turned around after two miles in...kind of a disappointing hike. Maybe further in it gets better but not from what we could see.

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.

Great trail with beautiful scenery. Recommend spending at least an hour at the lake walking around and having a snack. Started at 9am and there was only a few people on the trail on the way out. Started back at 11:45 and it was much more crowded.

hiking
4 days ago

Ok, I feel like I need to "normalize" all the reviews here for this particular trail. It was a great trail and spectacular views, but even if you are in good shape this may be a workout and a half for you. Granted, we are from NY and not used to exercising at 10,000ft... you will notice the slight reduction in oxygen going up this hill. It took us a good 5 hours out and back with several stops to look at the views and a 30 min stop at the top for lunch. We met several other hikers that were having a tough time and one group quit just 30 min from the top. If you are not used to Colorado hiking, bring 2x the water you think you will need and snacks to get you through. Don't get me wrong, it was a great hike but the reviews here make it sound a lot easier than it is :)

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

Overall great workout! Minimally crowded for a Saturday hike. Start at 4wd road 263 and continue about 2 miles until you see a brown post with “no motor vehicles” labeled on it. At this point take a left to follow the trail. From there you just continue on that trail until you hit the lake. The last 0.5mile is pretty steep but totally manageable, even for dogs! Definitely worth the work to get up there. If you go to the lake and back it is around 8.2miles, the red trail on the all trails map goes into the gulch not to the lake.

hiking
4 days ago

Definitely a challenging trail. I’m in good shape but being from a lower elevation, I felt pretty winded at times. With breaks I still took about 4 hours with a half hour break at the peak. The view was worth it for sure. Highly recommend getting an early start since the trail is in the full sun at the beginning.

Bunch of knobs on the trail

Hiked yesterday from Second Creek Trail over to the cone above the Panoramic Lift at Mary Jane ski area then back over to the Twin Cones. Amazing views throughout the entire hike. One of my favorite in the area. Also try hiking southwest of the Second Creek Trail summit along the Mt. Nystrom Trail for even more amazing views!

Lovely, easy 13er with decent views. Completed back in June when there was still some snow on the route.

Great hike. Saw a couple trucks driving up Chihuahua road, we hiked just as fast. Water was low so no wet feet for us. Pretty views the whole way, lots of different kinds of wildflowers. Not busy!!!

This hike borders on moderate to hard. A fairly mild incline with a few steeper sections. We have run into a large bear on this trail so be alert and be prepared for what to do. We had to turn around the last time when the big guy would not back off and grant us passage.

We arrived to start the loop on Saturday morning at 5:30 am. Were greeted with overnight lot full sign. There were two parking spots in the overflow area just before the overnight lot. When we walked thru the overnight lot, there was one open spot. When we returned on Tuesday both of those parking areas were full. You might have to check out the other overflow parking area to find a parking spot.
We did the loop CW to West Maroon pass first. We did this because one hiker was not acclimated, and this direction is not as steep. The valley was crowded with hikers and runners up to the pass. The camp sites between West Maroon and Frigid Air are about 1/4 mile off the trail in the trees. There is a stream for water between the trail and campsites.
Thunderstorm started at 6 pm and rained and sleeted for a couple of hours. Intermittent rain thru the night. Only about 800 ft elevation change from camp to Frigid Air pass, a 100 yard section was steep and slick from the rain, so it was a relatively easy morning hike. 2100 ft elevation change downhill into the next valley.
We camped just after the intersection with the Geneva lake trail. Several nice camp sites in the area and water is close at the river.
Third day was a tough one. First 2170 ft elevation change up to Trail Rider pass. 1700 ft elevation change down into the Snowmass lake area. Then 800 ft elevation change up to our next campsite. The area was dry due to the summer conditions, so a lot of streams were dried up. There is water in Snowmass lake but we didn't need water at the time. We didn't really want to pull water out of the swamp, though the beaver dam was busted and it was flowing. At the campsites halfway up to Buckskin pass, there were two good streams for water.
Fourth day another roughly 800 ft elevation change to Buckskin pass, then close to 3000 ft downhill to the parking lot.
Outside of the main valley the trail was not crowded. Beautiful flowers, lakes and mountain scenery. Lots of animals, pikas, marmots, deer and a mountain goat guarding Buckskin pass.
Doing the trail in the CW direction was right of us, so the unacclimated hiker was able to make it. But it does make the last half of the hike the hard section. If you are a flatlander and live at low elevation like me, I do recommend spending a 3 or 4 days to acclimate before doing high altitude hiking.

hiking
5 days ago

Very nice hike, mostly above treeline. Nice views but also very windy for about half the route. Not too busy on a Saturday (8/4/18) but parking lot was full.

Great hike with beautiful meadows. The effort to arrive at Lake Columbine is well worth the effort. I definitely will do it again.

off road driving
6 days ago

Drove as far up as allowed in stock 4runner TRD off road. No problem but the road is pretty beat up and has only gotten worse with time. Would definitely recommended a good 10+ inch clearance if you are gonna go past the last parking section. Once to end of the 4x4 road it was about a 30-45 minute hike up rocks and steep incline. Did this at the end of the day saturday and it wasn't too busy. Any earlier and the trail is generally mobbed with people.

hiking
7 days ago

As everyone has said- AMAZING hike! Although I will just add my 2 cents about the “rough road” that you can drive on to get you closer to the actual trail...I was in a Honda Pilot (4wd and good clearance)...and I managed to drive maybe a half mile up that “road” and decided to park it. Pretty intense off-roading conditions! I’m no off-road expert- but I live in Utah and drive on many dirt roads- and this one was pretty intense. However- definitely saw many other 4WD vehicles (some with less clearance than mine!) that made it up further- so maybe I’m a wimp:) Anyway- we did walk the 1.5 miles to the start of the actual trail and didn’t mind...I was with my 15 yo nephew and my little dog and we only made it to lower Mohawk lake and decided to turn around. Would have liked to have pressed on to the upper lake, but the rock scrambling sections were pretty intense for my dog so we turned back- but still an absolutely gorgeous day! (Bonus- as we were walking up the road around 8:30 am- there was a mama and baby moose grazing in the first meadow you see from the road- looking to the left.)

hiking
7 days ago

Great trail for intermediate-experienced hikers with incredible views near the top! Trail was well maintained with various signs along the way. From the main parking lot, you have the option to go on the Spruce Creek trail (walking) or continuing on to the right with an off-road vehicle (accurately displayed with a dashed blue line). It does save some time to use the off-road trail if you are not looking to go the full distance from the main parking lot. But I definitely recommend the Spruce Creek Trail route for nice views through the trees. If you do choose the off-road trail there are multiple spots where low-clearance and 2-wheel-drive vehicles could run into issues, especially after a storm. There were multiple cars parked off to the side at various spots on the gravel road but there are two big dirt lots for parking before eventually joining up with Spruce Creek trail and then leading onto Mayflower Lake (the first lake). We stopped just beyond Mayflower Lake after keeping to the right of some cabins at the base of the incredible waterfalls. It is a bit of a scramble around the waterfalls but I highly recommend seeing them! We also passed hikers on the way down that said the higher lakes were unbelievable! We will definitely be stopping again! Cheers!

Pretty neat!

Great hike. Very beautiful. it was a little hard to find the right path to the trailhead, but once we found it it was great from there. Most of it is shaded. Lots of little streams and waterfalls. Just be sure to bring lots of water!

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

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