Explore To Hike - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

To Hike Map
VIEW FULL MAP
hiking
18 hours ago

Gorgeous area. If going on the weekend, get there early, parking lot does fill up, and area from echo lake to the Idaho Springs reservoir can get quite busy. Well shaded, good distance, pretty lakes, creek, and reservoir. Also dog friendly, expect to see a few. Highly recommend this hike!

hiking
1 day ago

a beautiful hike

hiking
1 day ago

I started this hike at 7:30 a.m. (second car in the otherwise empty parking lot) on a Monday and returned somewhere between 1:15-1:30 p.m. This hike was definitely challenging for me as a flatlander and I had to stop to take breaks quite often. I also spent quite a long time up at the lake *maybe 45 minutes or longer) and took another longer break during my return at the reservoir to soak my feet before making the final uphill climb. I think this hike is moderate for people who live at altitude and hike regularly, or who are otherwise very fit. If you're not much of a fitness enthusiast and don't workout very often, this is going to be a very challenging hike. If you're fit-ish to average on physical activity, this hike is challenging.

It really surprised me to see so many folks without adequate hydration and starting later. Do yourself a favor and start by 7:30 a.m. because there isn't much shade after you get passed 10:30 a.m. All of the regular rules apply: bring sunscreen and reapply once you're up at the lake, wear a hat and sunglasses, bring more water than you think necessary, and pack loads of snacks. I brought 64 ounces of water and drank about 3/4 of it. Didn't encounter too many bugs other than curious bees at the lake. The only wildlife I encountered were birds (saw an eagle at Echo Lake first thing) and chiding squirrels. Trail rules indicate dogs are required to be leashed but most were off-leash - doesn't bother me but it's something to consider if you don't like dogs.

Some additional navigation tips:
-Once you complete the initial descent and get closer to the water, look out for the primitive log bridge to cross
-Exiting the woods, take a left to follow the access road for about a mile; if you're early in the day, you'll pass the Idaho Springs Reservoir and see trout jumping out of the water to feed.
-Follow the access road past the cabins; the trailhead will be ahead on your right with a no-fee permit station. Fill out your permit and take the trail immediately in front of you, not the unmarked trial to your right.
-You'll pass a second sign indicating that you're entering the Mt. Evans Wilderness; don't worry, you're on the right trail.
-I tried finding the trail to the upper lake and was unsuccessful. I ended up following some of the unmarked trails that go around the lake and wound up in a boggy area just before the lake. Maybe avoid that and do more research on picking up the trail to the upper lake than I did.

hiking
2 days ago

We were told by the bus driver that Crater Lake was a lot more dried up this year, and that was completely obvious once we saw the lake. I’m sure it would have been a lot more attractive if the water were higher. But pretty views throughout the hike! Saw a ton of families, so should be doable for most kiddos. And if you have a dog, they’ll probably enjoy cooling off in the lake at the top.

I’m physically active so I thought the trail itself was mostly easy, but we flew in from GA ~18 hours before the hike and I definitely felt some negative affects of the altitude adjustment. If you’re not used to high altitudes, bring plenty of water and remember to take deep breaths.

hiking
2 days ago

Very cool hike! We did the day hike to Lower, Middle, Upper Blue Lakes and to the Sneffels pass. I recommend camping at the trailhead for an early start. The lower lake is beautiful (it's better than the other two) but pretty full of campers. The best view is from near the middle lake looking down on the lower lake. The path can be hard to find going from lower to middle. The trail from upper lake to the pass was narrow and steep and did get boring, so you could definitely skip this and you wouldn't be missing out. The hike is quite steep in beginning sections, so it gets real old on the way back down (we saw two people who appeared to have twisted ankles from sliding or falling in these sections... both of whom were hiking in tevas, so do with that what you will).

3 days ago

Did this on 7/23. Parked at 3:00 AM and was only headlamp I could see on the trail above tree line. There were several cars in the lot and many Long’s Peak hikers. Very windy and steep then when trail splits to Chasm it gets much easier. Views were breathtaking and this is one of my favorite hikes of all time. Add this one to your list and do it. Sunrise on Long’s was worth it all.

Family of 4 with an 11 and 13 year old. One of the best hikes we have ever done. Got there around 8 and got the last marking spot; so arrive early. Gorgeous trail with a gentle grade. Agree with others who recommend going up the left side of the falls. We tried to extend to Ouzel Lake, but the trail was hot and steep. Just too much.

hiking
3 days ago

Great hike! It took us about 4 hours, not including the 20 or so minutes we spend at the top. Great views and plenty of places where the dogs can drink water from streams and lakes.

Great hike. Decently steep towards the top before the lake but gem lake is beautiful. Went further to balanced rock which was an 8 mile round trip and had some good views along the way. Would hike again!!

Amazing hike. Not that hard at all. Saw big horn sheep, mountain goats, and lots of marmots. Spectacular views

Part of the RMNP but start outside of park. Started at donut shop on the way to trail. Great donuts but made hiking a little tougher.

This hike is different than being in the RMNP, the rocks-boulder different shapes and sizes. Made for numerous little caves, which the 2 and 5 year old loved.

On the way up, get some good views of Estes park.

There is a actual toilet near the top. My 5 yr old loved this!!

Lake is very ok. Also leaches in the lake, so don't get all the way in. But plenty of exploring and climbing near the lake for the kids.

Did this hike with wife and kids (2 and 5). 5 yr old hiked off and on.

The hike was really nice. The waterfall was okay though.

The hike is great, lake is underwhelming. Views along the hike are awesome.

For those of us not used to the altitude (we are from GA) this was a pretty difficult hike on the way to Crater Lake. Mostly uphill and very rocky. Took about an hour hike to get to Crater Lake but the view was gorgeous! Plan on packing a lunch or snacks and taking in the view—and a short rest! Definitely want to get there early as it gets very crowded on the narrow, rocky trail as the day progresses. We got to Highlands at about 8:15 to take the bus up to Maroon Bells. Go early—very popular destination! Bring lots of water too.

hiking
5 days ago

Great trail if you love water! The stream and various falls are all along the trail up to Ouzel Falls. At Ouzel, venture to the left to get up close to the falls ... find a good rock and enjoy the beauty. Instead of doing this as an out and back, we continued on past the falls, picked up the Wild Basin Trail and then at the Thunder Lake Trail junction turned right. This will take you past several campsites and connect back into the main trail. We really enjoyed this added section. (made the total distance a little over 6 miles) We arrived at 7:45 am and there were still 10+ parking spots left. Recommend getting there early to get ahead of the crowds.

hiking
6 days ago

Second time doing this hike. We got to trailhead at 6 am. Parking lots was full but I parked on the side along the entrance so didn’t have to park down the road. We got to lake at 9am. So took us 3 hrs to get there with minimal breaks. It was sunny and no clouds in the sky. Couldn’t hAve asked for a more perfect weather. There’s definitely an incline and last half mile requires scrambling up rocks but it’s so worth it!! One the best and moderate trails to do!

Nice hike, relatively easy with lots of flatter areas. The reservoir and Chicago lakes themselves are pretty. Relatively quiet on a Thursday am. Took me 4 hours rt

hiking
6 days ago

Absolutely beautiful - one of the best, if not the best lake hike in Colorado!

We arrived 6am Wed. Parking lot was full. We parked 1/4 mile down the road from the trailhead.

The trail runs 8.4 miles roundtrip per Rocky Mtn Natl park website. It is a moderate hike, IMO (some will find it easy, some hard, depending on conditioning). The final climb to the lake is a steep rock scramble, under 0.2 miles. This portion of the trail is generally intuitive and partially marked by cairns. If you can't ascend, you'll miss the lake but still be treated to the majesty and splendor that lies before you.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE respect the mountain and weather. I saw one person who had no water or backpack, and people hiking in sandals and one in overalls. If the weather holds, you'll be ok. But cotton is the worst thing you can be wearing if you get wet. Rain means windy and temps in the 40s, or lower.

Be prepared, that includes but not limited to, hiking shoes, plenty of water, food, trail mix, energy bars, rain gear, sunscreen, jacket. Enjoy!

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.

Beautiful hike.

hiking
7 days ago

Very pleasant & fairly easy hike, mostly in the woods, past several nice waterfalls (Copeland Falls and Calypso Cascades) and culminating at the best of the bunch, Ouzel Falls. Nice views of Longs towards the end as well. We went in the late afternoon and had no trouble finding parking at the Wild Basin trailhead or in navigating the dirt road in a 2WD. All in all, a great alternative to the Bear Lake craziness at RMNP.

hiking
7 days ago

This was our last RMNP hike ☹️. I wanted something easy (after having done a few days of alpine mountain hikes) and yet has good views. We also wanted to sleep in for the day so I have to avoid overly popular and crowded trails. This trail fits the bill.
We arrived close to 11am and was able to park at the trail head since the early birds are just done with their hikes then. Much nicer to be right at the trail head than have to park on the dirt road where you may end up walking close to 1 mile to get to the trail head.
Most of the trail is along the river which is very nice and you can hear the sound of waterfall which is very refreshing. The last mile is more technical. Once you get to the bridge at the base of Ouzel falls, I took the advise of other reviewers and walked to the left of the bridge and up an unmarked trail to get up close and next to the fall. Quite amazing. Since we started off late, we were caught in a bit of rain and slight hail but it was nothing too bad as the walk down was fairly easy and not technical.

Was a pretty good workout for this Nebraska boy, but enjoyed the views and the little rain shower. Recommend the hike overall!

on Crater Lake Trail

hiking
7 days ago

I found the low level of the lake and the dirty water to be a little underwhelming. The view of the surrounding mountains is very nice, as is the aspen forest on the way in.

Great trail and agree with other reviewers that you must walk/ climb through the trees to the left of the falls to see the Ouzel Falls which would be pretty easy to miss. I don't find the falls to be INCREDIBLE, but the trail was great and there are quite a few other water features along the way. We saw a moose just over a mile in! We were at the trailhead by 645am and there was plenty of parking.

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!

One of my favorites. Hiked 9/2014 and again 7/2018 and the wild basin area continues to be my favorite areas. In 2014 I did not climb the top of the ozual falls, tho this past trip in 2018 I did and wow what a view. At ozual falls keep hiking left into that boulder collective valley, there is a trail you will come across but if not just keep hiking along the rock ridge to a point and theres where you turn right and start making your way back to the waterfall to see 2 amazing views, one down the falls and the mountain view behind you. Def my new favorite lunch spot

Load More