Explore With Dogs - 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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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.

1 day 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.

4 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.

The first mile was OK but after that it is just cut down dead trees and not very pretty. We turned around after two miles in...kind of a disappointing hike. Maybe further in it gets better but not from what we could see.

8 days ago

Backpacked in to Helms lake 8/6 - 8/7. A bit marshy getting around helms lake but the trail was in good condition and relatively easy to follow otherwise. Lost a blue nalgene somewhere in the helms lake area.

8 days ago

Awesome trail with dispersed camping spots easy to find. Light elevation gain for first 2.5 miles and then it increases significantly thereafter. Excellent camping right after the first creek crossing at 2 miles in. There are flattened logs to walk across so no getting wet during the creek crossings. We went further and camped just short of Helms Lake (5.25 miles in) in the tree-covered area. Wonderful views and a few dispersed campsites easy to find.

8 days ago

We did two miles in and two back after finding ourselves with some extra time. Nice hike, not too challenging. In the sun a lot, so starting earlier is better. Views of the ridges above you are very impressive. Otherwise nice but not spectacular. Not crowded.

Beautiful hike! Loved the changing landscape. Was definitely closer to hard trails I have hiked rather than moderate, as rated by AllTrails. The cabin was at 3.85 miles by my GPS and I went another 1/3 mile (mostly uphill) to the bowl and turned around at 4.2 miles. Started at 8 am and didn't see anyone until I was coming back down and about 2 miles from the trail head.

10 days ago

Beautiful hike!! Not too hard and goes through several types of terrain.

Lake is gorgeous and refreshing! Easy hike and worth circling the lake.

It was a beautiful day for a great hike through the aspens and the lodgepole pine forest. We did not make it to the falls because they were working on building a new bridge. It was not a challenging hike but was a well marked path. To get to this trail head you take Royal Buffalo up to a Y in the road and stay right. You will be on a gravel road. At the top you take a right and it will take you to the trailhead at the end.

Beautiful lake but mediocre hike in

Wonderful half day hike, with moderate elevation gain. Trail is rocky and loose up to the lake. Would recommend going around the lake for great view!

18 days ago

Nice a steady climb to the lake. It was little hard for me coming straight from Illinois to the mountains. But i would say this is a good one for Plenty of campsites along the lake. We camped on a Sunday night in July and there were 3 other campsites along the lake. Even with the other campers it was very quiet, and scenery was beautiful Seemed like there was good fishing too. I don't fish often, but I caught a couple. It got pretty chilly at night and in the morning, so bring some layers if staying overnight.

Headed out about 5 pm on a Sunday. Saw a few hikers but mostly on our own. My 2nd hike since moving here and really enjoyed it. Was a little leery of the moderate label, but it wasn’t too much - although steady incline throughout and definitely a workout for me. We hiked to Greenfield Meadow and back. Would’ve been perfect if the stream had water, but still a nice peaceful hike. Will do this one again.

19 days ago

Beautiful and not crowded!!

Nice hike with good fishing at the end. Went mid-July, so there were plenty of other campers around the lake, but my campsite was definitely peaceful and solitary. You can bank on having afternoon storms and rain, so bring an extra tarp to sit under and plenty of warm clothes.

Great challenging trail with an awesome payoff at the end with the falls. Climbed some rocks near the falls to get a beautiful view from the top. Finished in about 4 hours with stopping, but didn’t see any wildlife.

20 days ago

July 28 - Wonderful hike!

20 days ago

We hiked this trail on July 28th 2018. Creek was running nice for the first 1.5 miles then mostly dry except a small trickle in a few spots. All in all the hike was very nice and the other hikers we encountered (probably 10-12 people) were all very friendly. We went to the top which is about 1.25 miles past the sawmill. The hiking past the sawmill was a little steeper but the view was very nice at the top.

20 days ago

Nice hike, very gradual uphill until two steep sections near lake. LOTS of people (July Saturday). Dry around lake. Seems like a bit over 6 miles to me.

A good moderate hike. We got to the trailhead around 6:30 am and there was one spot. However, plenty of parking on the street. Wish we had spent more time at the lake, but a storm rolled in and we got worried and left. Next time we will stay for lunch. Not too crowded for early in the morning, but plenty of campers at the lake.

Only completed a couple of miles of this trail completely unplanned as we were on our way through Colorado to get to Utah, but I would definitely make an effort to get back there one day so I can make it further on seeing this trail. Between the pine-rowed canyon cliffs, the sights and sounds of the streams, and the mix of sunshine and shade, I felt that this trail in summertime embodies about everything I have always loved about Colorado. Seemed very family friendly also.

The wildflowers and aspens along the trail were beautiful! Remember you need a state park pass for this one.

22 days ago

This trail was great! The sawmill along the route is a very neat part of it, and the view at the top is pretty! Giving 4 stars because it is a bit overgrown in some places, and has lots of loose dirt/rocks (my boyfriend actually twisted his ankle pretty bad coming down because of a loose rock). Definitely recommend! It was great for the dogs as well

24 days ago

Well kept trail with beautiful views around lake, not too strenuous . Enjoyed it as much as my son.

I backpacked into Frazier Meadows for a short overnight in late June. The wildflowers were gorgeous- irises and columbines everywhere. The elevation was constant but worth the efforts. Staying overnight I didn’t see anyone else but could hear one other backpacker somewhere near by. I’d for sure do this as a day hike again!

26 days ago

I took my mother who is visiting from the east coast on this hike as an intro/easier hike at altitude so she could acclimate. We started around 8:30am on a Sunday morning and there was no one around. For the duration of the hike, we only saw 4 people total, which is rare for this time of year and type of hike.

Specific directions and tips:
— If you don’t have a high-clearance vehicle, I would park at the base of the road and walk up the 0.9 miles to the sign reading “3 Elk Trail.” I have a Honda Accord and didn’t want to risk it.
— Nowhere on the hike will you find any signage saying “Harvard Lakes trail.”
— At the sign reading 3 Elk Trail, turn left and continue along the logging trail.
— You’ll cross the creek a few times and meander through the woods, before the trail intersects the Colorado Trail. This is about 1.7 miles from the 3 Elk Trail sign.
— Turn left (West) onto the Colorado Trail, and you’ll hit the first, smaller lake on your right. Continue along the trail and you’ll soon see the second, larger lake on your left.
— There’s an unofficial trail that loops the lake, with a few remnants of campsites.

There weren’t many wildflowers along the trail since the climate has been so dry. Still a wonderful, beautiful hike. I recommend getting an early start since it gets hot quite quickly.

Hiked this trail on a whim. Fairly easy going, but same view of creek for most of the hike. Not incredibly busy, but still a lot of people on the trail. Not a bad way to spend the morning.

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