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Challenging trail, but the views are worth it! My dog and I did not make it all the way, as (we should have read previous reviews) the lack of water and blazing sun drained us by the time we were 3/4 of the way there. As others have said, bring extra water and pile on the sun screen if you're going to be hiking mid-day. The trail starts off pretty moderate but gets quite steep and more difficult after you pass the Ptarmigan sign. This is the first time my dog has ever stopped and needed rest on a trail. There is a lovely tree in a large clearing as it gets very steep that is perfect to catch some shade and some rest, as well as some great panoramic photos! Glutes and legs were on fire for days after this one! Looking forward to tackling the whole trail next time, with more water in tow!

Followed directions to trailhead. Used app recording to insure we were on the correct path. First surprise was a steeper descent to the stream from the start. Trail narrows at the stream so we backed up and aborted this trip.

Challenging (moderate/difficult) to Surprise Lake and a more moderate second half to Upper Cataract Lake. We left the TH at 6:30am, arrived at Upper Cataract shortly after 9:00am. We fished with small spinners and spoons and caught four brook trout. Great hike, we will be back to camp at Surprise Lake!

Nice easy hike around the lower lake. Tried fishing, but didnt even see a fish. Very busy trail. Perfect for families.

hiking
4 days ago

Pleasant meandering trail. I recommend taking the free gondola from the base to the second stop at Grand Lodge. It's a short walk from there to the trailhead. Hike down to the Shock Hill gondola stop and get back on the gondola to return to the base. This avoids walking on the confusing streets in that last segment down.

hiking
4 days ago

Lots of development and roads cross the trails. Dust abounds.

I’m not an experienced hiker so not sure how to rate... but very enjoyable... 2 hours ( for me) up to Gore Ridge Trail... then turned around ... I went slowly with plenty of rest stops .... beautiful views along the way... and wonderful smell of the lodge pole pines ... 1 hour 15 minutes down ... although parking lot at trailhead was just about full I really didn’t encounter many people ... the people I did see along the way just gave a friendly “Hi” and carried on ... I post a pic I took at the bottom... pretty much says it all ... steep initially but levels out ... don’t get discouraged! Some areas require navigating over tree roots and rocks but nothing too daunting .... after you get to the Eagles Nest Wilderness Area the trail becomes more interesting... passes in and out of meadows and trees ... very nice!

Begins with incline and becomes more gradual. Along creek for most of hike.

Super easy, well maintained, nice little bridges. Connected with the Nordic center trails and made it over to peak 8 adventure park. Dry @11:00 after rains last night and this am.

Took the Rock Creek Trail for about 1.2 miles before a fellow hiker told us we were taking the much longer route with lots of bush whacking. Decided to turn around and take the Gore Trail instead. This trail was about 6 miles round trip from the trailhead to the lake. The trail itself wasn’t exceptionally interesting but the lake is well worth the trek. Beautiful views!

Sweet, simple, and to the point.

hiking
15 days ago

Nice day 1 hike. Easy to navigate and some beautiful views.

backpacking
19 days ago

Spent 5 days at Upper Cataract lake. As others have said, the hike is not exactly easy but if I can do it it's not impossible (I was clocking a 40-50 minute mile). The lake is spectacular. Especially the side that has the shear cliffs. That side also has incredible fishing. Caught many brookies, browns, and hybrids.

Mirror lake, in my opinion, is okay but not nearly as nice as Upper Cataract. If you hike to Mirror lake be sure to cross the stream that runs out of Mirror lake even though you probably won't see the trail on the other side. Don't be tempted by the trail to your left unless you really, really like making your way over a very large boulder field. Don't ask me how I know.

This 2.3 mile loop trail around the lake is an easy trail (only 230 feet elevation gain) that offers a view of a waterfall cascading from perhaps 200-300 feet above. The sound of the waterfall accompanied us on most of the hike. The start of the hike (8:40am) was the most exciting....we were met early-on by a skinny fox who had just caught a chipmunk. I would have expected the fox to run away quickly, but he was much more intent upon securing the chipmunk in his mouth before making his exit. We also enjoyed seeing a huge beaver dam, but...no beavers. We completed the hike in about 1-1/2 hours, stopping to talk to a few couples along the way.

Nice first hike with the kid and dog. While neither difficult nor steep, my kid didn't care for the climb, which is pretty steady the whole way. But the creek with little waterfall were nice and the mine was cool.

Great hike. What a workout! Almost had the hike to myself and my dog. Steep and steady incline. Gets hot and limited water for dogs so pack in their water. Gorgeous views all the way!!

amazing views, fairly easy hike with changing views at every turn! took a little longer than we had planned! pack plenty of water. my 4 yr old was getting tired but not to steep to ride on her dads shoulders off and on! wear sunscreen and take bug spray. only downfall were the mosquitos were pretty thick. the views were spectacular and well worth the drive off the beaten path! would definitely do it again!

backpacking
1 month ago

We hit the trail around 7:30pm and made Surprise lake just at dusk. Recommend starting earlier as the this section is pretty steep. Surprise is very pretty but the upper lake is pretty stunning.
However, busy season and there were campers everywhere. Campers clean up your toilet paper!
5 star beauty but busy, busy. Not a secluded mountain.
4 stars overall
Easy to hike the 5.7 miles out

Easy to find, actually found it by accident. It’s really a dirt road leading up to an old mine. The mine was interesting and we actually took the Trail of Tears back towards the start. Good for families and dogs. The area around the hike is pretty wooded so the views are somewhat obstructed.

Loved stopping along the trail to take breaks and enjoy skipping rocks in the stream. Wouldn’t say it’s a super hard trail, but coming back down definitely did a number on our feet because of all the rocks. Bring plenty of sunscreen though because I felt like only about 25-35% of it was shaded. Beautiful meadows and wildflowers, beautiful streams and water spots. Lots of birds to see. Also saw a moose about a minute into the hike. The trail ends when it intersects with another trail. Nothing too special at the end, but still a lot of great views throughout the hike.

Nice hike, great workout, and not too much foot traffic! I stopped a few times along the way to enjoy the water. The trail is very dog friendly and the views of the mountains are gorgeous! Flowers, butterflies, and dragonflies are everywhere...so are amazing views!

We hiked this on Monday July 9, the day it re-opened. We started from the Peak 7 gondola and followed a trail behind a resort until we met up with this trail. I used the map to get us there, not sure where the exact trailhead is. We hiked down through a beautiful forest and meadow to Shock Hill, and took the gondola down from there.
We didn't see any moose, but I bet odds are better earlier in the morning.
Great trail for kids and acclimation, or if you're short on time.

Spectacular views, tons of variety in the landscape (valleys, mountain surround, waterfall, wildflowers, pine and aspen forests) and worth every bit of a trip to Colorado. My family including 3 kids ages 11, 9 and a very strong 5 year old made it around in about 3.5 hours with lunch, snack and several rest stops. There’s a lot of sun and some bugs, but neither were too bad.

There was a slightly tricky part for our 5 year old while climbing (2/3 of the way, we went left along the creek at the beginning) where there were lots of stones and roots to step over along a high, narrow ridge. If kids are young, timid or too rowdy, it would still be a worthwhile hike to turn back shortly after the waterfall.

hiking
1 month ago

Nice, easy hike for the family. Lightly traveled, only saw three bikes, a party of 2(on horse), and a party of 3. Lots of beautiful areas to enjoy!

Beautiful hike around the lake. Bring bug spray!!

This hike is beautiful and fairly easy. I would suggest bug spray, the mosquitos are ridiculously abundant and hungry.

Tough but beautiful hike almost every step of the way. Steady steep incline but the views are spectacular. Creek was dry on July 4th so bring plenty of water!

Hard and up hill beautiful

great trail. beautiful views with amazing wild flowers; there was a section of a field full of Columbine flowers.

Great trail, not tough at all and a great distance. Gorgeous views of the lake and lots of wildflowers... they were beautiful! In the wooded area there were a lot of mosquitos so beware of that. Great trail and I would highly recommend it!

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