Explore the most popular rock climbing 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.

Great hike. Beautiful view up at lake.

walking
2 days ago

Nice hike for the whole family (including dogs). Short uphill climb to the glacier and a great view, you can spend more time hanging out or walking up and around the glacier if you want. Parking lots are a little rocky and have a $5 fee.

Third time hiking this trail (first during winter and the second during summer). Despite it being mid-October, there was still a lot of snow on the upper two-thirds of the trail, so definitely bring appropriate gear and be prepared to stay out all day; it's a very long trek. Mirror Lake was frozen over but there are some nearby streams to get fresh water, if needed. Also, the gate to access Monarch Lake trailhead was open, but I know they close it as it gets close to winter so double-check this before heading out, as it can add an extra 2 miles (round trip) to the hike. Otherwise, beautiful hike - one of my favorites in Colorado.

This is our go to hike for visitors. It is easy enough for children and the views are exquisite.

awesome views

great views

Super packed, but the lake is incredible.

hiking
10 days ago

We hiked Saint Mary’s Glacier a few weeks ago. It’s a short, rocky climb, but the reward is breathtaking. The alpine lake, glacier and surrounding foliage is beautiful! We’re definitely making a return trip!

We were looking for a lake hike not far from our house and this looked like a good candidate. The Guanella pass road was still open so we took it, and then drove the Naylor Lake Road up to the upper parking lot, shaving about a mile off of the total distance of the trail. I'd highly recommend AWD or 4WD. We did it in our Jeep in 2WD but that road can get slick really quick. As we were driving through the Guanella pass road we realized that there was a light coating of snow at the top, and assumed that there would be a little snow up where we were headed, glad we packed warm. The hike was fairly easy, with a skim coat of ice on some of the areas where water came off the mountain and pooled in the low spots. We were glad that we had our trekking poles if only for a couple extra points of contact. About 2/3rds of the trail is above treeline and is exposed to the elements. The wind started to kick up fiercely as we made it to Silver Dollar lake and continued to Murray Reservoir. The views were obstructed somewhat from the low ceiling, but it was still worth the hike.

I'll have to come back sometime in the spring to check and see if there are any nice looking trout in those lakes!

We veered left at the lake and climbed a rather steep, moderately dangerous unmarked trail to the summit. Beautiful. Continuing clockwise down to the glacier was fine in trail running shoes. Total hike 3.5 hours.

Very rocky and sometimes steep all uphill to reach the lake/glacier. A little tough, but doable, for a lowlander who hasn't acclimatized to the altitude yet. Beautiful vistas.

hiking
20 days ago

Beautiful hike. Surprisingly the glacier was still there in mid Sept.

Great hike with beautiful views. If you have to park in the lower lot, plan on walking an extra mile or so RT. We arrived around 8:30 on a Sunday morning and the lot and path were pretty empty on the way up—not so much on the way down. Lots of friendly dogs, too!

hiking
21 days ago

Not “easy” as it’s a rocky climb up. Steep but short. Pretty lake near the top. Glacier and views were pretty. FYI the permit station is by the porta potties, not at trailhead as parking signs say ($5 day permit).

Probably one of the best hikes I’ve done in CO. Like others have said, makes for a LONG day hike - still so worth it. Wish I had 2 or 3 nights to explore the surrounding Crater Lakes area.

There are 12 designated camping spots around crater lake. On a Saturday the place was packed with campers. The ranger must’ve given out at least a dozen citations. Even though permits are not required at this time of year, got to get up there early to claim a spot.

Will definitely be bringing the pack for next time!

If you want to go to Crater Lake I would definitely suggest doing an overnight backpacking trip. Its too far for one day. I think its also longer than listed. I saw a lot of HUGE moose. Bring tons of water. Don’t do it alone like I did.

hiking
23 days ago

We enjoyed the hike to the glacier, but didn’t realize the pathway would be so very rocky! We knew it would be steep from the reviews but there were so many rocks and loose gravel that made it more difficult to go up. For some silly reason we didn’t wear appropriate shoes which made it that much more difficult. Next time we will make sure we do it right. There really isn’t much signage to direct you where to go, we started going off on a different trail but turned around when it “didn’t feel right”. Also, people...if you bring your dog - scoop the poop!! And take the darn baggie back to the parking lot or just take it with you - yeah it’s gross but I’m doubtful they send anyone to “clean up” this trail when it gets dark! There were several poop bags just chillin there all up the trail on our way up, and they were still there on the way down! You people are the reason they close trails to dogs. Keep it clean so we can all enjoy!!

Mod due to the incline but easy due to the distance. I moved from FL recently so having a place like this in my backyard is amazing!!! Never moving back!

Nice hike accurately described. Great views once above tree line (about 2/3 of the trail, each way).

Pretty busy at the bottom, but we’re able to get to the peak, and found a little goat path back down so we were able to make it a loop and get away from all the people.

very short steep hike. only took us 15 minutes to get to the lake. we ended up climbing up the rocks to the very top of the mountain which was worth the view!!

short hike great place to spend the day

This trail does get packed later into the day and holidays, so the earlier you go the better and there are two parking lots (north and south of the trail) that cost $5.00 cash to access. The trail head is in between the two lots. While I was there, there weren't many people on the trail and it was very peaceful. If you take the trail to access the lake just follow the main trail, don't veer right until you start to see the lake through the trees on your right hand side, then you can climb down to it using the paths.

The drive up to the trail head is beautiful in the fall, aspens cascade down both sides of the road (which has been newly paved at the time of writing this). The trail starts off wide with some loose rocks, but it is not difficult to hike and it's a short hike if you're just trying to make it to the lake itself. The main trail is nice with lots of foliage and boulders to rest on if you need to catch your breath due to altitude. Once you get to the lake the landscape becomes absolutely breath taking! While my husband I were there the water was unbelievably cold and it's colors were beautiful! Shallow parts of the lake were tan, but then others had a beautiful blue hue and it was completely clear!

If you want the hike to be a little more challenging (and a bit longer) hang a right and walk around the bank of the lake and go up towards the glacier. There is a trail to follow that goes up to the glacier and then up to the very top of the mountain itself. There is a warning sign saying it's not an official part of the trail, so take caution. There is wet ground and slippery rocks around due to the glacier and you may lose footing if you aren't careful or wearing proper shoes. My husband and I climbed up to the glacier bit and looking out over the lake and physically feeling the glacier was a wonderful experience. Pictures will be posted on here soon! Over all, this trail is easy, but you can make it more challenging and looking out over the scenery next to a glacier is not a bad way to spend your morning!

Not sure where the main trail head is, we walked 20 minutes over all rock. Tried to hike up next to a waterfall like stream and had to turn around. Terrain and climb was moderate to difficult with little or no payoff. Many people around us were really confused too-very disappointing.

Amazing hike and just the right amount of distance to keep the rest of the day open for more adventures!
Got to the upper lot around 630am and there were about 4 other cars there from folks backpacking and also starting early. The first quarter of the drive from the lower to upper lots is the worst of the entire part but it is nothing compared to how bad Grays and Torreys road is. Just take it slow on the bad parts. Even though the lower lots were jammed up, there were a few spots at the top when we finished around 10am.
Great colors with the fall foliage change on the bushes as well as the trees. Silver Dollar Lake(middle lake) was amazing and Murray Lake was about 300ft of elevation gain from there. Dont skip the third lake! There is a rock formation on one side that can be hiked from the backside which will give you a great topside view of the landscape.
As most hiking at this time, start as early as you can! The next few weeks will be jam packed with folks looking at the changing trees. This trail would be incredible with a little snow on the ground.

hiking
1 month ago

Great easy, short hike for out of towners with a high reward. Extremely crowded which is to be expected for such an easy hike. I highly recommend continuing up to the glacier for a bit more of a challenge plus some great views.

Such a beautiful and fun hike! So many water features on the way up and beautiful foliage. Love every mile!

Great place!

My car doesn't have AWD so I parked at the lower lot. When I arrived at 7:45am on Saturday there was still plenting of parking spaces. This trail packs a lot of great views in its short length. I found this trail easy except for the short but steep climb to the third lake, which is worth it for the views from the top. I recommend coming early to this hike, when I left at 10:30am the trail and the parking lots had become very crowded.

we hiked this trail with our 3 and 5 year olds and it was great! easy enough for them to do without complaining. it took us about 25 minutes to get from the trailhead to the lake. the views from the top were beautiful! the actual hike is fine but not particularly scenic and quite a few people which is to be expected for a beautiful Saturday. we will definitely do this hike again!

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