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A decent hike with a gradual climb and ascent to a nice view. Some snow on the trail made it slippery in spots, but overall a moderate hike on easy terrain.

hiking
8 days ago

It was a nice and easy hike although covered with fresh snow. This could be a bit boring in the summer because there are only Evergreens around. Ran into few people with bikes, dogs and hikers.

hiking
9 days ago

My favorite trail on the west side of the Rockies. Vista views the entire way and amazing 360° view at the top including Long's Peak and Grand Lake.

Did this hike 11/2/18 and there was quite a bit of snow on the path when we first started, and it melted to muddy slush by the time we came down. It was pretty though! Would definitely do this trail again in the spring when the path is dry

Lots of bikers, great view at the top. Very gradual incline and not too steep

Trail is boot-packed snow and ice the entire way, so yaktrax were helpful. Helene and Odessa were both frozen over, but still well worth the views. Trail earns its moderate rating as you ascend back up to Helene after Odessa (I can see why people one-way this trail and include Fern Lake). This is definitely a less trafficked trail out of the Bear Lake area—didn’t see a soul for over two hours with a sunrise start.

My favorite alpine hike especially in mid July when the wildflowers are out in abundance. STP is across the street from the trailhead for Mt. Beirstadt with all of the beautiful views but far less crowds. Square Top Lakes are below the summit and is another great hike but is far tamer. Both are a great way to spend the day!

The best time to visit is mid- July when the wildflowers are out in abundance and this year, they were spectacular. The trailhead is on the west side of Guanella Pass just opposite the trailhead for the highly trodden 14er Mt. Beirstadt. Square Top Peak is the 111th highest peak in Colorado. The terrain is somewhat rocky but the grade can be steep near the top. Views from the top are like any alpine peak, spectacular. But there is a bonus. Square Top Lakes are below and are also spectacular. For those wishing an easier hike, end the trip at Square Top Lakes. Although difficult, this is my favorite alpine hike. All the beauty of any 14er without the crowds.

hiking
1 month ago

Absolutely amazing hike, but definitely very strenuous. Once you're above the tree line, it gets tricky with the temperature drop, the low air density, and the incessant winds. The trail is fine until the last bit when there's a bit of rock clambering to the peak. Super views but my personal favorite is Sky Pond.

Amazing trail with spectacular views. There is a spectacular glacial lake not on the map, but you have to climb to above 12,000 feet before you get a look at it. It was frozen when we got there. This trail is extremely difficult and mostly over large boulders. You must have excellent footwear, excellent balance, and ample cold weather clothing. If you're unsure if you can tackle this trail, take the easy hike to Lake Isabelle and make your decision once you're there. It took us 8 hours round trip from the long lake parking lot. Don't let the reasonable distance fool you! Watch for cairns, as most of this trail is across boulder fields.

Also be very careful about altitude sickness and understand the signs. I live at 1000 ft and was able to climb to the end of the trail, but had symptoms of altitude sickness into the next day.

There is a bull moose, cow, and a calf living just above the lake. We had the good fortune to see all three from a safe distance. Watch out, as both the bull and cow are known to chase and attack!

There are also ample Pika (endangered) and marmots living in the boulder fields. Keep your eyes open!

Beautiful hike!! It was long and got rough near the end, but the lake and cirque views are worth it!

Alright hike great fall colors great view of little Matterhorn

Just did this trial at the end of September with amazing weather and views.
Keep an eye out to the left once you reach Andrews creek campground to stay on the trail. I lost the trail here for a bit but following the creek up was able to reach the trail again.
The trail was a bit more strenuous than I thought it would be once reaching the rock field. There’s plenty of cairns up to help mark the way but you could still easily wonder off trail if you’re not looking.
Once you come up over the tarn the view of the glacier and pond are absolutely amazing as well as looking back down into the valley. There was a very noticeable increase in wind as well right as you come over the tarn so be ready for another layer if needed.
Highly recommend this route for the more adventurous hikers out there!

this Trail is wonderful. The first one point five miles are very challenging and difficult. However they are in the forest so you're protected from the elements. For a considerable distance once you passed the tree line it is a wonderful Trail to walk on. Unfortunately we didn't make it to the summit. The weather was cloudy and it was incredibly cold, and it is very windy as everyone says. We did make it to Peak 12150. I would do this hike again no doubt. However the next time, I would go more prepared with the proper attire. While we were dressed in the appropriate coat and pant layering, the lack of a hat and gloves made it unbearable. I recommend all of these if you plan to take this hike. Far better to be able to remove them if its cold then to not have them at all. Again, I do plan to make the hike again, so that I can get to the summit of Mount Ida. It's a stunning hike and well worth every step.

Me and my pup loved this like - 2 lakes you can stop at, the perfect views 360, steady incline after you pass the last lake but it is so worth it! It’s all exposed so make sure you start early. I was there at 7:15am on a Sunday and plenty of parking. Like others said, it has its own parking lot!

We started at Bear Lake trailhead to Odessa and then back to Bear Lake. This trail had some outstanding views, and Lake Odessa was gorgeous. I also really enjoyed this because there wasn't a huge crowd on the trail either. Although there was some great scenery, a decent portion of the trail was a bit boring in comparison to other hikes you can do close by. I highly recommend this trail, but after trying Sky Pond and Black Lake.

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked this route on Friday, September 21 on a clear sunny day when Denver was in the 80's. I arrived at the parking lot at 6.45 and was the first car there. Saw no one along the route until close to the first summit (there are two "summits") so my thought of being the first to the top that day were dashed. The hike to the first lake is easy and there is a second lake about half a mile further on. On reaching that lake I lost the path and so bushwacked up a steep slope to the left of the lake. I eventually reached the main track again. What I should have done was to turn left along the trail marked South Park 160 at the first lake. A short way along this track is the junction point for the start of the real ascent to Square Top Mountain. I only realized this during my return journey. From the lakes the hike is a real grunt up a steep slope. This will test your legs and fitness. I am 65 so my days of long hard hikes are coming to an end but I am proud to still be fit enough for this one. I had to stop frequently on the way up for short (30-60 second) breathers. We are talking about 13000 feet here so that should be no surprise even though I have lived at altitude for the last 30 years. The trail is not always well marked or easy to see and it is easy to end up tramping across the tundra - something I was loathe to do but there wasn't much choice about this. On reaching the first rocky summit the views are so amazing that one is tempted to stop right there. My All Trails app indicated that the end of the trail was further on at the second peak. That peak looks quite a ways off but it only took 15 minutes to get there and the extra uphill was a lot easier than it looked. I do tend to stop for photographs so my journey times are longer than if I solely hiked the route. I took 3 1/2 hours to get to the top and 2h 20 minutes to come down. The down part is about right but without stopping for photos I reckon 3 hours to the top would be more accurate. The descent will test your quads. I saw no large wildlife (bummer) but the solitude I had on this hike was totally worth it. Bierstadt was so much more crowded even at 6.45am. Ah the naiivety of youth! All in all, this is a quiet and beautiful hike although I rate it as HARD, at least by my standards.

hiking
2 months ago

Take two. We hiked this trail Saturday morning. Incredible views! SPF!!! you are being blasted by the sun on this hike (weather permitting). I would not want to try this hike in early/mid-summer with afternoon thunderstorms because there is no protection once above treeline. I did post pics too. We saw a Ptarmigan as well as pika's, marrmots.

Great views at end

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike, tough on lungs and legs. No scrambling at all. The pup loved it as it wasn’t all too rocky until the summit

hiking
2 months ago

This was the first long trail I have done in Colorado. Have to say overall a great experience. The trail in the beginning is well maintained and easy to find, however when you get to the rocky portion of the hike it is a bit tough to find the actual trail. The last hour or so was a bit hard for me as I am still not used to the elevation so we had to take breaks. We did not see a lot of people on the trail either which was nice. Took us about 5h45min with a lunch on the summit. The views are amazing and the trail is rewarding. Make sure you have a wind jacket as it was very windy when we did it. Great hike! Highly recommend it.

hiking
2 months ago

Well maintained trail & not many people! Summit views are stunning!!!

Up to Cirque Meadows is very easy. The aspens are changed, making much of the path very colourful.
We were confused at first about the marked campsites which are farther up the trail past the meadow-the sites were nice, site 3 has a good view.
The rest of the way was tougher, and some places we lost the trail as it wound up the boulders.
The end views are breathtaking, and great photo opportunities. I plan on going again in June when the wildflowers are bloomed.

One of our most favorite hikes. Started at Bear Lake, sun just rising and the Aspen were “on fire.” We’re flat landers from Ohio and seniors, so took our time and enjoyed it immensely. The only tricky part for us was the last mile down to the lake. Pretty steep with lots of loose rocks. The lake is pristine. Enjoyed our lunch on the shore and headed back the way we came. AllTrails said 8.6 miles and took us just under 5 hours. Lots of rest breaks and photos. Highly recommended.

this trail was amazing. parked at the trail head the night before and slept in my car. the lakes were cool and the summit even better. went on a Saturday and only ran into a handful of hikers. when we got back to the parking lot it was packed with the bierstadt crowd. definitely recommend for a challenging, rewarding, and less crowded hike.

hiking
2 months ago

mother nature made me work for this trail, especially on the alpine tundra portion— exposed and windy and brief rain. took ~5.5 hrs.

Amazing trail with fantastic view at the end! Not a full 8 miles around the lake, we did the full thing and it came out to under 7 with a lot of exploring. Absolutely breathtaking views at the end. The trail is pretty flat, with maybe max of 0.5 miles uphill. Great for out of towners. Parking fills up early, be prepared to walk extra mileage if you’re after 9 even on a weekday.
Lots of moose in the area, spotted two at the lake on the way in.

Great hike and not crowded. We got to the trail head around 7 am, once you pass the lower lake and go around on the trail, the trail is hard to find/see (we could see the trail above - we just started hiking up until we found it again). Great incline in a short period of time. You do hit a couple false summits as well. Great views at the top.

hiking
2 months ago

beautiful trip, not too tiring. the slope is not very steep. keep something warm to wear bc the last hr of walk is exposed to wind.

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful and uncrowded. View from the summit is fantastic. Encountered a herd of Mountain Goats at the top. A few sections of the trail to the summit are faintly marked and steep.

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