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

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great views, great trails, quiet for most park. come early because after 9 its a little congested.

Truthfully, this hike isn’t that special and the experience is dulled by all the folks near the lake this time of year. Look for other hiking opportunities from the trailhead: I.e Bear Lake.

nice quick hike up to the lake, not too challenging. awesome views at the top with a second lake if you continue which we didn't have time to do. the road up to the trailhead is very rocky so be careful driving. highly recommend.

Great stop for kids to explore.

Took a few friends here who have never been backpacking at it was great. Easy in and out and they loved it. The lake was great. I wouldnt really recommend trying to hike Mt. Yale from this location. It was all bouldering and sheer cliffs with no trail. That's not to say it wasnt do-able. We made it to the top in about 3.5 hours, and had to scramble down bc of an incoming thunderstorm. Overall, it was a great introductory trip and we were able to get some adventure in trying to conquere Yale.

hiking
2 days ago

We never saw any signs for this on the road until the actual trail head. Really enjoyed it though. Hit the trail about 1pm and saw pretty heavy traffic early on, but thinned out later, everyone was super nice. Had 4 or 5 creek crossing and several river/creek access points prior to lake access which our dog enjoyed. Road in and out made me a little nervous but was totally doable.

hiking
2 days ago

On a whim I was looking for something relatively short with some elevation gain since I just moved to Denver and hunting season will soon be upon us. Driving there was pretty easy as the road looks like it was just graded this spring or early summer. don't get going too fast or your tail end will try to come around! There's a five mile dirt road approach that looks highly seasonal, but is fine for all but the lowest cars if you're careful and avoid the potholes and go slowly over washboarding.

The hike itself is nice and relatively gentle elevation gain. I'd recommend some trekking poles for the rocky path you have to take, or perhaps just some sturdy ankle support wielding boots. I'd absolutely come back here, it looks like the trail goes further than the last lake but I didn't have a GPS and it began to look like a goat path. For another day then.

Has anyone ever made it to the lake?

hiking
2 days ago

I'm heading to Echo Lake this weekend to hike to Idaho Springs Reservoir. Can anyone tell me the water level of Chicago Creek as it enters the reservoir? We are looking to fly fish and don't want to waste time if the water levels are too low. Thanks! I'll leave an official comment after we return.

Beautiful trail with spectacular waterfall

Great trail! Make sure you do the sleepy lion trail up. When you hit Hull ranch do not go that way go to the right where you will find the summit of the trail and a gorgeous view of the lake. We almost missed it and went the Hull route. There’s not a lot of shade on the last 2 miles back so be prepared for that.

hiking
3 days ago

This is a difficult hike, but very rewarding once you get to the top. The views are worth it! There were some wildflowers when I went, but I think I missed the peak time for flowers this year.

on Middle St. Vrain Trail

hiking
3 days ago

WOW. This is definitely one of my favorite hikes and I will hope to be doing this one again before the snow flies. Loads of wildflowers and several water crossings. The trail follows the river, so there you get to enjoy the sound of rushing water the entire way. My 7 and 10 year old hiked 6 miles no problem. Lovely family friendly hike. Lots of dogs. Please keep them on a leash as we had a few encounters with some overly friendly dogs.

Pay the $7.00 to use the toilets at the campground. It is worth it and clean! Best kept vault bathrooms I've seen!

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
4 days ago

a beautiful hike

beautiful, moderate hike, very crowded on the weekends. recommend arriving at trailhead before 730am. diamond lake has plenty of space for the masses but is busy by 930am. recommended!

hiking
4 days 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.

backpacking
5 days ago

Lot was full by 10am but we squeezed on the road. We read there wasn’t many backpacking spots - and I found maybe 3, but were too close to water or the trail. We found if you go past (between) the final lakes and keep going (careful, the trails spur and we got turned around), you follow a stream on your right after 1/2 mi to approx 3 sites spread by a few hundred feet. It was a good first backpacking trip for my 7yo. There was plenty of water, moderate temps, and while we saw a bunch of bugs, only really got one or two bites. We encountered a cow moose about 30 feet off the trail about half way up!

I think technically this is in the Indian Peaks Wilderness and you need a permit in summer, but, sorry, it is ridiculous to print a form and mail a $5 check or to go to the office. Let me do it online. https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/arp/recarea/?recid=80803

hiking
5 days ago

Great hike! Definitely not too difficult... fairly trafficked on the weekend as of you approach the Lake. Lots of fun waterfalls and little features along the way.... If you’re doing this on a weekend definitely make it to the trail head by 7-7:15AM or you’ll be in a jam to find parking! We made it at 8 and parked about a half mile down!

Overall it's not a trail I'd be super excited to get back to or take anyone to, but it was a nice short hike with shade most of the way. The final lakes/ponds are pretty with some views of the surrounding ridges. The lakes are small with quite a few people crowded around fishing or lounging. The first lake you pass is mosquito heaven and pretty yucky.

Did this hike from Base Camp Trailhead to Fish Creek Trailhead down in town. Around 13 miles via Wyoming Trail(CDT)(trail 1101) and Fish Creek Trail(1102). Fish creek canyon is amazing. The lakes are okay, not what I was expecting.

backpacking
5 days ago

I just got back from a backpack trip to Kroenke Lake August 12th. kroenke is no longer the pristine alpine lake it once was. it is over used and trampled with little fire wood. People are camping and building fire rings within a few feet of the lake. What is more distressing is that there is used toilet paper everywhere in the forested areas along the east and south sides of the Lake. When did the hiking/backpacking community decide its ok to just leave their toilet paper behind? Come On People! Its easy to pack out your toilet paper with your other trash, or burn it in your fire pit. If you love the outdoors enough to drive to a trailhead and hike somewhere, you should care enough not to degrade the environment and diminish the experience of others.

hiking
6 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.

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.

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

Great distance and elevation for beginners who want to get some incline!

This hike was absolutely beautiful! The falls and the views were totally worth the above moderate climb.

One of my favorite hikes. It does have a bit of a steep start and it's exposed so the sun can feel really intense. After it levels out it's a great hike through rocks and trees, over a few small streams. You come to a small meadow with amazing views then the waterfall...so gorgeous!
We timed it right and had it too ourselves for about 20 minutes. The water was cold and refreshing.
We have horses and don't care that there's poop on the trail.
We also don't mind people because they're just out enjoying it too.

hiking
8 days ago

Awesome hike. I would rate this hike as difficult. I did it as a youth more than 40 years ago and it hard then. I am 57 years old my wife and I did this beautifull hike today. it took us 6.5 hours to complete. We took our time a we were rewarded with breath taking views just above timberline. I would highly recommend this lightly traveled trail.

hiking
9 days ago

I took a friend from out of town on this trail on Tuesday and we were almost completely alone. We saw one other couple on mile one then no one for the entire rest of it. It was great, the views form the pass were awesome. We sat on a rock and ate lunch, you have a great view of Mount Evans from there. The 4 solid miles of climbing wasn't the easiest but certainly not too bad. I took someone who lives at sea level and he did just fine with it.

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