Explore the most popular cross country skiing 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.

This is one of my favorite hikes and I plan to come back! The scenery is stunning, the trail is well maintained but still natural. The lake is kept quiet and peaceful and even though it’s busy I never felt crowded. We started to the left this time and the shady trees were perfect for the afternoon in September 2017. Highly recommend! Now I want to paddle board the lake itself. We also saw a juvenile moose in the marsh to the south of the trail near the parking area.

We saw 3 moose on this trip! It was fabulous! We started out left too with other hiker’s advice. The other side had more ice and snow. It was much dryer than 10 days ago. Right side did have some ice but not too much. The marsh lands on the back side of the lake were amazing. Found a nice log to grab a bite to eat on next to the river. There were several man made bridges to go over so good balance is required on some. It was a lovely trail. We will be back!

on St. Mary's Glacier

hiking
6 days ago

I usually agree with the average rating on AllTrails but not in this case. Yes it is close to Denver but this is overrated on all accounts. Drive an extra 20-30 minutes for many more options.

Super cool to see a glacier! Great hike for someone who wants epic views without it taking a chunk of your day. The trail was icy/slushy when we went 5/13/18 but nothing terrible in hiking boots!

hiking
7 days ago

I hiked grays to torreys and whent down Kelso ridge. it was covered in snow about 75 80% got off trail and post holed it back for cuple miles... ;) next time it's kelso.to.torreys to Gray's then out ..

hiking
7 days ago

Bring your yaktrax and poles to make your life easier during this time of the year. The lower section, for about 2 miles, has a nice pack and is pretty breezy. Once you get past the “1 mile to Lower Mohawk” sign, you will run into soft snow and deep post holes. I would definitely go early, when the snow is more stiff, if you plan on making it to Mohawk Lakes without snowshoes. Wasn’t able to make it past Lower Mohawk since I didn’t bring my snowshoes. It’s gonna be an awesome summer hike!! Looking forward to getting back on this trail.

Trail head has Portal Potties (not the cleanest). $5 fee to park (Honor System). The trail is pretty steep and rocky in the beginning but not bad at all. Once you reach the top it's amazing. Mountains were covered in snow. The trail is covered in snow, some slush but no ice..snow is very very slippery in sneakers so wear boots. At the top you can ski down, snow board or just slide down. The lake was half frozen. Beautiful pictures on this trail. Trail had moderate traffic. Definitely coming back when snow is melted.

fun trash bag sledding!

hiking
11 days ago

Went on May 7 2018. We went clock-wise around the lake. The left side was a lot easier and drier. The right side still had snow on many parts of the trail. We saw many tracks (and scate) on the right side, I'm not an expert but several looked like moose & elk , but pointed out to my wife a couple in the soft mud looked like fresh bear tracks, which got my attention. Due to the many patches of snow still on the trail on the right side of the lake it was a lot harder walk. We never saw a moose while on the trail, but someone we passed latter told us they saw one right on the trail on the right side around the 4-5 o'clock position of the trail right after they passed us. On the walk back down the road from the trail head to the campground we saw a moose on the left side right where a stream or creak dumps into a very large Creek that makes a large bend next to the gravel road. It was a bull with no antlers. We watched him for about 15 min as he crossed the little stream and came towards the road eating brush along the way. The trail will be a bit easier in late spring, summer and fall, without the snow. Pay close attention to the signs at trail junctions, they don't always call out Monarch Lake Trail Loop by name, (they should), so make sure you're going the right way to stay on the loop trail. Bring snacks and water.

hiking
11 days ago

Simple, beautiful hike. My favorite to do with family and friends coming in from out of state because even the out of shape of us can handle it and it’s an incredible pay off.

hiking
11 days ago

Beautiful little trail. Definitely wear some waterproof boots.. lots of little streams and snow on the trail. Otherwise great views ! 5$ parking bring exact change !

We parked right at the end of the road by the signs that point towards the lake. The trail was doable without snowshoes but we definitely wished we had them as we got to the top third or so of the trail. We sank up to knees and hips every 5 or 6 steps or so in spots. Windy at the top. Really beautiful! Will definitely go back his summer so we can see the water!

hiking
14 days ago

The weather was great today! We hiked the trail in hiking boots which was a mistake! Please bring snow shoes. The trial is covered with 2-3 feet of snow and it is just warm enough that you sink through. Still, we had a great time laughing as we fell through the snow! Can’t wait to do it again later in the summer.

Amazing views! Lots of snow, bring water proof boots

Breath- taking hike, and didn’t see a single other person. 4 wheel drive road is closed, adds a little under a mile each way to the hike. Snowshoes helpful, but not necessary. Pretty easy trail to follow, but helpful to have a gps/map to find the last lake, as the trail was unmarked.

Hiked from I-70 in mid April as the road to trailhead was not accessible even with a 4x4 due to mix of snow and Ice. But as Temps rise it should clear. Check with Ranger's office to get updated information on the road conditions. Amazing views from the trailhead to the peak. Recommend snowshoes and microspikes if hiking in winter conditions. Definitely worth giving a try.

Winter trailhead still in play. Started early and was solid boot-pack up to the summit, coming down was another story and you will need flotation. Didn’t have time to do both, Grays and Torreys, but overall awesome hike

beautiful! hiked today with some friends - most of them just had regular tennis shoes on and did fine. it’s definitely slick, but it’s a fun challenge..and you’re not close to a cliff or anything, so if you slip it’s no biggie. tons of people out today! absolutely gorgeous hike.

Please read this before going, as none of these reviews fully prepared us! There is NO trail to follow. Only footprints if you are lucky. This hike is very dangerous. We were up to our waist in snow at some points, even when Denver was having an 80 degree day. We passed a bunch of hikers in shorts and T-shirt’s. Again, no one was prepared. The hike up to the trailhead was steep, but that’s not even the beginning. If you are lucky to make it to the first frozen over lake, the views are stunning. We went a little further but had to stop due to too many risks involved. There were several pairs of hikers that did the same, even a group of guys with snowshoes.

This is a nice hike though pine forest with great views of the snow-covered mountain . Trail still covered in snow; the first section was a bit slushy and icy but doable if you take it slow (earlier in the day seemed better); snow past the 'lake' is less compacted and less slippery.

hiking
23 days ago

Has anyone hiked this trail in the past few days? Curious what the conditions are like up there.

23 days ago

No parking at the trail head or surrounding residential area. Someone was there towing people out of the snow a couple yards into the start of the trail. Said nearest parking is st Mary’s glacier which has a fee

snowshoeing
27 days ago

Hiked 4/21. Broke fresh trail as it had snowed about 5 inches overnight. Definitely needed snowshoes for the top 1/3. This trail is far more beautiful covered in snow than in the summer time, so get it while you can!

cross country skiing
29 days ago

Really pretty trail with fresh powder in late April, but like much of experimental forest maps are not updated. Did what others have done and missed loop, just climbed up a steep road for 3.5 on skis, then came down.

A little difficult for an easy trail but well worth it.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful hike today on 4/19. Packed snow and ice almost completely covering entire trail up to the end of the trail. Definitely helped to use my yak tracks. I didn’t slip at all or have any difficulty while using them (besides the altitude and the entirely uphill trail-lol). Not too much of an elevation gain but the altitude definitely makes it more challenging. I was truly surprised by how many other people were on the trail and the fact that 95% of those people were very ill prepared for hiking. I’m here were people in shorts and almost everyone else was wearing either tennis shoes or casual shoes. No wonder I saw so many people falling. Please be prepared for the ice/snow and weather

Love this trail, very easy and has a few cool spots to hang and have a picnic by the water

Went first week of April. Had a wonderful hike. Cliffs on the north side, creek crossing, heavy forest on south side. Beautiful views. Lots of moose tracks. Trail packed down. .8 mile walk to start of trail during winter.

Beautiful snow covered trail just don't venture off snow is about 3-4 feet deep. hiked it today in just normal hiking boots.

hiking
1 month ago

Went today, it was a wonderful hike. In the icy spots just stay on the snow along the edges.

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