Explore the most popular backpacking trails in Arapaho National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

2 months ago

how much is camping?

hiking
2 months ago

Awesome views, less traveled than Herman Gulch Trail which leaves from the same trailhead. Definitely need snowshoes though even with the meager snowfalls this year. Steady incline. Had to turn around about 2/3 of the way in due to deep snow and constant post-holing. Still saw some great mountain view’s but I bet they’re only more stunning the farther you ascend.

snowshoeing
3 months ago

Not accessible unless you want to drive past a danger closed road sign, or walk from there (still a few miles from trailhead from what I saw). Looks like plenty of people got up there but my car was not equipped.

hiking
5 months ago

Awesome hike with awesome views. I was a little unprepared, however. Definitely bring sunglasses because the snow will sear your retinas as soon as you get out in the sun. Also, some trekking poles, additional traction for your boots, or both will help immensely. I went without but I did fall on my butt a few times. Again, very beautiful though. Went 12/2

7 months ago

Great hike, started around 8:30am and only ran into a couple of groups there and back. Lot was totally full by noon with lots of people and, unfortunately, lots of dog poop bags everywhere.

There was about 3-4 inches of snow near the end but the pups didn't seem to mind. Plenty of great scenary along the way.

Interesting hike, not sure we ever found the loop, but we got up to about 12,200 ft and the views were gorgeous. The day, 9/16, we went it was snowing when we arrived at the trailhead and extremely windy and cold at the top when we turned around. Fun! See photo above.

hiking
8 months ago

Beautiful hike and easy to get to from Denver!

Tough, but worth it for the views.

The trail up wasn't well-defined after you branch off to head up to the summit. It wasn't crowded, but busier than you might expect given the reviews.

I'd love to do this one again as a peak to peak with Woods and Bard!

Amazing hike. Didn't see a single person until we were almost back at the car. Scenery is beautiful and apart from the elevation gain the hike is relatively easy. Once you're hiking out of the gulch there's no official trail but there are many ways to get to the summit. The second half of the hike is above tree line so watch the weather.

backpacking
9 months ago

Good lake for a quick acclimating backpacking trip for the season. We camped overnight at Hassel lake just to get ready for the season. I caught a 4in brookie on worms. Bring bug spray.

hiking
9 months ago

Great hike. Out and back trail with an optional loop at end. Kind of confusing at the end with a couple different forks if you haven't been before. Fantastic views for sure, worth the uphill hike.

hiking
9 months ago

Loved this hike. The views were amazing and the trail is in great shape. Much of the elevation gain felt like in first half of hike. Trail kind of fades away at end and it appears people will explore in various directions at the end.

hiking
10 months ago

WHY DIDN'T ANYONE MENTION THE MOSQUITO?! Oh my gosh you guys, I've never been in such big swarms of mosquitoes in my life....take a flame thrower...wait no there is a fire ban. You must bathe in mosquito spray before going. Just full submersion in the OFF.

Otherwise this lake is quite glorious.

42 mosquito bites later.

Tough hike, but worth it. Only saw 2 other people on the mountain, maybe 20 on the whole trail, and just me and the marmots at the top.

hiking
10 months ago

Excellent hike up Watrous as always. There are a couple of steep parts and a couple of muddy parts but the views are stunning and worth it. Get to the trailhead early - the parking lot fills up.

hiking
10 months ago

Great hike. Beautiful at the top, although a little hard to follow once it opens above the trees. Only trails Hermann Gulch because there isn't a lake, but HG is much more crowded, so do this one if you feel like ditching people.

7/3/17

https://youtu.be/wFXyUnhEkJk

Wildflowers everywhere and the gulch is endless eye candy in all directions. Climb up Parnassus is challenging, but the loose gravel and steep angle really makes the descent the tougher part of the hike. Sore legs for days, but worth it for the views.

hiking
10 months ago

great hike! difficult in some areas and the trail at the top randomly stopped so we had to hike up the side of the mountain to find it again, but great views if you make it to the very top!

hiking
10 months ago

7/3/17

https://youtu.be/wFXyUnhEkJk

Wildflowers everywhere and once in the gulch it is endless eye candy. Couple muddy spots towards the start but easy to rock hop through. Stream is flowing well, so ample water to be had. Numerous 13ers to be bagged if you are so inclined.

hiking
11 months ago

I would rate this hike moderate to difficult based on the quick elevation gain after you pass Urad lake. You climb quickly through forest cover and aspen groves with great views of Urad lake. This is the steepest section which with a 35 lb backpack was a little tough. After you get past the 3/4 to a 1 mile pretty steep climb, the trail starts to level out and runs next to a stream all the way up to Hassell Lake. Still a little snow to navigate through but not bad at all. Once to the lake you can go left or right to navigate around the lake. He far side still has deep snow right now which made looping the whole lake difficult. We fished here for quite a while and had zero luck. Never even saw a fish. I would say say this is a great day hike, but not the best place to backpack to just bc there are not a ton of places to camp at the lake. You'll see some fire pits close to the lake, but remember you shouldn't camp right next to the lake. Good spot overall!

hiking
11 months ago

Beautiful hike. Moderate incline the entire way up. towards the end hit patches of snow. Slippery but still doable. Yaktracks would do ya justice in some areas. River is flowing strong which adds to the scenery. Once you get to the loop they're are portions of the trail under shallow water due to snow melt. Feet got wet in some areas but nothing bad. You have to cross the river a few times to remain on the trail.. one section via a downed tree & the other two I jumped. The mountain range that is to your back is incredible... keeps revealing more & more the further ya go. Picture is attached.

hiking
11 months ago

I'm sure this lake is gorgeous but the snow is still probably 4-5' deep once you get within a 1/4 mile of the lake. The trail was impossible to find and I kept falling through the snow to my waist.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Gorgeous views. Only passed 2 other hikers on the trail. Very peaceful!

Monday, February 27, 2017

great trail on a great day. perfect for snowshoe and skis in the winter. it is equipped with outhouses at the trailhead.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Great views. Not too many other hikers. Nice creek running along side for most of the hike.

hiking
Monday, September 19, 2016

Great alternative to avoid the crowds at Herman Gulch. The first mile gets a lot of highway noise, is all incline and mostly exposed – which made for a disgruntled beginning on an unseasonably hot day. :) After the first mile the trail begins to feels much more secluded and you get short breaks between elevation gains. Gorgeous views the entire way! Trail is rather narrow and rocky in some spots. The peaks that the trail leads you to are more than tempting, can't wait to return!

hiking
Friday, September 09, 2016

This was a lovely hike yesterday. Pretty aspen and spruce trees along much of the trail. The gravel road up is eventually blocked by a red gate, which is where you will turn right into the parking lot. By foot you will continue up the road beyond the red gate and after about 500 steps you find yourself above the left side of Urad Lake. The road/trail continues to the far side of the lake and around to the other side and starts heading back. That is where you will see the small trail sign (sitting above a larger blank sign). Just a little further you will see a very rocky stream crossing ahead and a small trail to the left that heads up the hill. Take that trail up the hill. You will soon cross the stream on a 2 plank bridge. After crossing you will find the trail registration box (that only had scraps of paper in it.) In a bit the trail starts getting steeper. Once you get to the very steep part you will continue to encounter other very steep parts for about 400 footsteps going up...or 500 steps going down. (Just to give you a clue as to how long the somewhat dangerous part lasts.) The big rock that signals Hassell lake is near is about 6 feet tall. Just a few feet past that take the small trail to the left through the lakeside grass to get to the lake. You will encounter a small bridge made up of about 3 logs a bit before the lake. I had the lake to myself.
I was able to walk all the way around the lake but in places I lost the trail, then found it again. The trail goes into the trees past the grassy area at the far side of the lake and crosses 2 or 3 feeder streams. The grassy area is quite marshy.
On the return trail when I got back to Urad lake, I thought I'd turn left and see if I could cross the very rocky stream and walk along Urad lake to the dam. The trail was very narrow in places (about the width of a shoe) but it was do-able. I walked across the dam to get back to the road/trail and back to the car (since It didn't look like there was a trail down the hill on the left side of the dam that could take you back to the parking lot.) Back at the car I explored the area behind the yellow gate and that road peters out at the first of a pair of streams. The one from the spillway maybe had one feasible crossing place but there was a lot of thick brush on much of the far side so I didn't explore further. Just nice to sit there and look at the pretty aspen groves on the hillside beyond the stream.

hiking
Saturday, June 25, 2016

Decent trail to a beautiful alpine lake. Not very crowded up to the lake, which I appreciated. Thanks to others for their specific instructions on how to find the trail.

camping
Thursday, November 12, 2015

Great lake for backpacking if you want to carry a lot of extra gear, hike is manageable. Fish weren't really biting.

snowshoeing
Friday, August 28, 2015

Great winter snowshoeing hike! Awesome views of the divide.

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