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Did park and ride which took any stress out of that situation. The aspens decided to turn early and made the beginning of the trail even more gorgeous. The hike to Mills Lake was well travelled and pretty easy (and very pretty). Had a good rest and a snack before pushing on to Black Lake. Wow, that trail was almost empty and much harder. Significant elevation change and lots of rocks/stairs meant oxygen breaks for me, but my daughter was completely fine. But the difficult waterfall climb right below Black Lake was amazing. The views were stunning. Took us 5 hours to do both with decent breaks at both lakes.

hiking
21 hours ago

I did this hike a week ago with my friend and our two dogs, a Lab and a Sheppard. We got started shortly after the sun came upon the Bells, mostly to start the hike before the trail got too crowded (it was a Monday) it was so beautiful with most of the aspens in full color. Our dogs did fine on the terrain and yes, some parts were very rocky but wasn’t an issue for any of us. We got to Crater Lake which we knew was dry, but it was a nice spot to sit for a bit and have some snacks before heading back. We encountered ALOT more people coming up the trail, especially as we were almost at the end. Good move on our part to start early. Would have given 5 stars if the lake wasn’t dry

Did this and chief mountain together. Loved chief. Fire tower and views from squaw are great. Hate that there’s a firing range halfway up the road to the tower. Why ruin peaceful nature?

good hike, lake was a bit low. lovely views throughout the hike.

I did this hike on Friday. Getting to Mills lake was relatively easy, and totally worth it It's a heavily trafficked trail. After Mills the hike to Black Lake is more challenging, but even more worth it. Up to this point, the trail is well marked. My intention was to go all the way to Frozen Lake. After Black Lake, the trail winds up some boulders and a waterfall. It's really pretty, and worth it to go up for a better view of Black Lake. After that, it becomes incredibly frustrating. I was told to 'follow the cairns.' They are few and far between. There is no well worn trail, and there are no signs. After finding some cairns and following them a bit of a distance, I ended up at Green Lake instead. I'm all for "keeping it wild," but I guess I'm just not sure why there can be signs for some of the trails and not others.

hiking
1 day ago

Absolutely gorgeous views. Dream Lake is slightly prettier than Emerald Lake IMO. I'd recommend arriving at sunrise or a little earlier because this trail get ridiculously crowded. We started at around 7:45 AM on a weekday in July, and even that early it was very crowded going up. By the time we were coming down there were HOARDS of people. I've never seen such a crowded trail in my life. It's unfortunate because it really ruins the experience of being able to take in the natural beauty you will see on this hike.

on Deer Mountain Trail

hiking
1 day ago

Good hike for families. Beautiful views!

Great “warm up” for Emerald Lake! Great hike / almost all flat / beautiful views / very well maintained trails - loved it!

Great hike! Lakes were beautiful! We had packs with 16 month old twins in them so this trail, while labeled “easy”, was more than we expected. The way to Emerald Lake was uphill almost the entire time. The way back down was much easier since it was almost all downhill. Beautiful views! Very well maintained trail!
We arrived at 730a Saturday morning and the parking lot had just filled up. We went to Park and Ride and shuttle was just fine.

Tried to go to Dream lake but the parking lot was already full at 730am on a Saturday. Went down to a lot that had some spots and we are glad we did. This trail was long but had amazing views along the way. Trail is mostly sand/dirt, rock steps, and rocks.

hiking
2 days ago

Beautiful! Definitely a heavily trafficked trail. While there was no water in the lake, we knew that ahead of time. The trees are GORGEOUS right now. Moderate is a very accurate description for this trail. We plan to do this trail again after it opens next year!

At 530am, I was stopped by the rangers and told that the overnight parking was full. They directed me to park at Aspen Highlands. On Saturday and Sunday, parking at Aspen Highlands Parking lot is: 0-3 hours $10, 3-8 hours $15, 8+hours $25.

Long line to buy bus tickets to trailhead. Would recommend buying them the night before to skip the ticket line. I did see some call the local taxi because they didn’t want to wait until 7am for the ticket office to open. I called the taxi service and was told they were completely booked until 7am. There is also another line for the buses.

The Aspens are a gorgeous mixture of green, yellow, and orange right now! Crater Lake is completely dry and you can walk around where it would be filled. As soon as the sun comes out, the temp rises. Dress in layers. It was 35 degrees at 5am and warmed up to 72 degrees by 10am.

I hiked with my husky. It’s rocky, but not harsh enough for little dog booties for a medium or large dog. After reading a few reviews mentioning the harsh terrain, I got booties for my dog. I took them off her after 0.5 mile. Not necessary unless you have a small dog. Most small dogs were carried.

Moderate hike especially the first 1 1/2. Stop to see all the different Vally views on the way up. Once on top, enjoy the great views of Estes Park. Good for a 3 to 4 hour hike.

hiking
2 days ago

Great view

Be there before sunrise to experience the AlpenGlow.

love this hike. the views are amazing! my husband and I loved it.

Go early on a weekday to avoid crowds and be sure to do the Lake Hiyaha trail if you don’t mind an extra few miles! (Its worth it). Fairly easy trail with amazing views throughout.

hiking
3 days ago

Colors were great.

beautiful trail, and an easy hike for all skill levels.

Beautiful! Pretty easy hike with some incredible views.

hiking
4 days ago

I hate this hike. It’s all up hill, on lose rocks, FULL OF PEOPLE, you have to pay $8 just to get there, and the lake is more like a dried up small bog. Next!

Gorgeous day today. This trail is as amazing but it is extremely rocky. The leaves could not have been more splendid. Highly recommend this hike.

Wonderful hike mostly shaded by the aspens. This is a perfect time to capture the colors of fall! Rocky the last quarter. Crater Lake is dry, but the location offers a spectacular view of the Maroon Bells and the glorious, brilliant aspens.

Loved it. Had to take the shuttle to the trailhead due to crowds. Definitely had some people on the trail but it didn’t impede the hike. Emerald Lake felt good on tired feet!

Great hike. We did it with a toddler in the carrier. Definitely a workout but doable. Beautiful up top but high winds!

4 days ago

Easy hike with great views both in summer and winter!

My wife and I arrived about 2:20 pm and found parking that Sunday at the trail head (9/16/18). It was a little packed on the trail, but as the hike continued the crowds thinned out. I think dream lake would be a better place to sit and have lunch rather than at nymph lake or emerald lake. Nymph lake had a lot of people while emerald lake didn’t have much room. This is a great fast hike with a very well built trail.

Great views. Good trail to acclimate to altitude gradually.

Gorgeous trail once you get past Nymph Lake.

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