Explore the most popular 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.

So. Many. Wildflowers! Busy trail- get there early

1 day ago

Simply beautiful. Good combination of streaky climb with three good inclines. Surprises along the way. Gorgeous wild flowers and when there are no other people the sounds of the running water and run-off waterfalls are incredible.

1 day ago

Second time and always beautiful. Go on a weekday if you can. Great for dogs with water throughout trail.

This is my favorite hike!

This was one of my fave hikes near Denver! The wildflowers were amazing above tree line. We brought our dogs and they were very happy with the creek that we paralleled and crossed most of the way! We got a late start around 12 and were easily able to park by the trailhead.

3 days ago

I did this hike last Thursday (7/5) around 1 pm. It was overcast and cloudy, and I almost turned back near the end due to impending thunderstorms.

I got a late start on this one, as I usually try and start early to avoid the crowds and inclement weather. However, in this particular case I lucked out, as I only saw one other group on the trail and was able to complete the out-and-back before it got too dangerous in terms of weather.

This is a phenomenal hike. I can see why most reviewers give it a 5-star rating. The trek is overflowing with beautiful Colorado wildflowers (including Columbines) all the way to the top. There is also a number of waterfalls, with a magnificent view of their cascading effects near where the treeline ends.

As stated in a few of the previous reviews, the trail is somewhat muddy in a few spots and the stream does run through it in some parts. So sturdy, waterproof hiking boots are recommended.

I would love to return to do this hike early in the morning so that I could spend some more time at the top taking in some of the stupendous surrounding views.

It took me about 2 hours to complete this trek, but I was traveling at a pretty consistent pace and only stopped a few times along the way. Would definitely recommend to any/all hikers looking for a challenge!

Tip: If you're looking for great FREE camping in the area, Jones Pass has some phenomenal camp spots right up the road from the trail. 4x4 vehicle would be advantageous to make it to some of the grounds, but I made it in my Volvo that has an incredibly low clearance.

5 days ago

This hike offers just about everything, except a lake. We hiked Monday - about 6 cars at the parking lot at 7:45 am. Plenty of wilderness, few people.

The wildflowers threw a party, a big one! But the finale is near the end - near and above the treeline.

The first mile of the trail is nothing special and you'll hear I70, but it becomes white noise and eventually disappears. The beauty comes after, including a stream, meadows, trees and mountain views.

We tracked the trail to the saddle at about 3.2 miles one way. At about the 2.1 mile mark (11,400 ft), the trail splits. The more obvious trail is to the left (we didn't see one to the right). We went left. At about 2.5 miles (11,700), the trail peters out. We hiked to the right and picked up a trail and continued on to about 12,300. At that point, the trail ends and you hike to the saddle.

We continued on to Parnassus. Take your time. It's steep. Your knees will thank you if you use poles coming down. The summit offers a spectacular view - Grays, Torreys, Grizzly Peak, Sniktau, Herman Gulch and so much more. With the exception of Grays, you'll see the other 3 peaks on much of the hike.

5 days ago

Nice steady incline, good leg workout. Plenty of water steam access for the dog.
Beautiful scenic views with plenty of wild flowers along the way.

5 days ago

Took our 6 kids up (ages 14 years to 14 mo). Amazing vistas, beautiful wildflowers.

6.6 miles, 1701 ft elevation gain. Incline first and last mile.

We camped out at Square Top lakes basin and hiked Square Top Mountain the next morning. I think the lower lake is more scenic than the upper. To get to peak: Take the trail toward the upper lake, and you’ll see a sharp left turn with a few cairns, heading toward the saddle. At that saddle, a marked sign points to Square Top mountain. You climb up NW, toward the ridge and follow that ridge. Be prepared for 3 or so false summits and lots of breathing breaks. Carry plenty of water, no access after the lakes. You gain about 1500’ in a mile. It’s steep! The top of Square Top stretches out West for a long time. We descended down the talus filled backside and dropped in to the basin of Naylor Lake and finally climbed that ridge (unmarked trail) which brought us back to Square Top lake. It was a tough day, about 3000’ gain total. I’ve done nearby Bierstadt several times, and this hike was much more strenuous. Loved it.

Great hike. We did this today, arriving at 8:15am and the parking lot was almost full. The trail map doesn’t lie - very steep for the first and third miles. Wonderfully varied terrain from steep wooded path to meadowland to quite muddy when crossing water. Tons of wildflowers. Once you reach the pond at the top, keep going to eventually arrive at a beautiful lake, about another half mile at most. The trail was busy, but people were generally fairly spread out. My only complaint is that the two portapotties were literally nearly full to the top. Also, the trash can near the trail sign was filled to overflowing with dog poop bags. These sanitation issues really should be addressed. Thanks.

6 days ago

The flowers were at their peak. Gorgeous!

Plenty of parking at the lot of Berthoud Pass. Cross the highway and the trailhead is there. Starting in the beautiful forest, then above tree line the elevation picks up with steep switch backs. Once on the divide, the views are amazing and the trail is pretty flat. A must hike!

7 days ago

Beautiful hike! Get there early to miss the traffic, people and heat. Lots of wildflowers blooming. Very dog friendly.

7 days ago

Great hike. Stunning hike with beautiful wildflowers of all kinds, a lovely lake, and a good hill-climb and ascent. The only disappointment is that irresponsible dog owners left poop bags scattered along the trail. Is it that hard to haul it out? The State should put a trash can at the base of the trailhead to try to curb the problem.

Beautiful! Sign says 2 miles each way but it’s more like 3+. Took us 4 hours. Keep right at the fork near the end of the trail if you want to go higher up to get a better view. Trail just kind of ends- you can keep going to get to the saddle. Steep hike in several areas.

7 days ago

This is definitely a beautiful hike with tons of wildflowers. For the most part there were few people. Ran into most of them close to the trailhead around 8:30.

The hike to the saddle of Mt Parnassus took about two hours round trip. I left the car around bud 6:20 and the trailhead was already busy. Its a pretty steep climb from where the trail splits on the other side of the creek about 1.5 miles up the trail. Ran out of time to make the Mt Parnassus summit, but it probably would have been another 45-60 minutes to summit from the saddle

The views were amazing. It is steep most of the hike but it is so worth it.

Perfect day. Hiked first hour by moonlight. Not much parking. Get here early.

7 days ago

This is one of my favorite hikes!

Great hike, I saw more Columbines here today than on any other hike. Top lake view isn’t as picturesque as other alpine lakes but the gulch view and wildflowers make up for it.

Fun day! The last third of the hike is pretty challenging with multiple false summits, but it’s a great hike! The views are pretty fantastic, the crowds are minimal (comparatively), and tons of quartz all around! Plus going up Guanella Pass through Georgetown is fun.

9 days ago

Hiked Butler Gulch today, 7/6. Excellent weather for a lovely hike! The wildflowers are amazing and plentiful all along the trail. Creek spills over in one spot and runs down the trial, but there is a nice, dry bypass you can use. Creek crossings are manageable. Very few hikers going up in the morning, but several, including small groups, heading up around noon. Agree with previous comment to be sure to wear sturdy hiking boots, poles, bug spray, and bring lots of water. Enjoy!

Beautiful trail. Went on 7/3. We started at 12:30, and got back to the car at 5:30.
The trail had about 40 people on it. You'll definitely need some hiking boots, we had to cross water on the trail about 3 or 4 times. At the top, by the 2 nickel mines, there was still snow. We saw lots of wild flowers around the trail, and above the tree line. (Dont forget to stop and smell a few)
Bug spray and a walking stick are recommended. Lots of skeeters by the top.
We tested the water, to drink, and the river at the top showed 25-37 ppm (cleaner than ANY tap water)

Great trail to experience at least once. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

This hike was incredible!!!! It’s a bit longer than 5.4 mi, I think I tracked it just over 7. Definitely difficult but so very rewarding. The view from the top of Grizzly is just phenomenal. Great view of Torrey’s peak and Chihuahua lake below. On the hike I saw several marmots and some mountain goats. No snow on the trail but there were a few patches off trail that my dog was ecstatic about and had a great time playing in. I went on a Thursday morning and only saw one other person during my hike, coming down from the summit as I was approaching. When I was about half a mile from the parking area on my way back, I did see a couple more people beginning their hike, although a storm was rolling in so I can’t imagine they got too far. As with any big mountain hike I recommend starting early to avoid the afternoon storms. I started around 7:30am and got back to my car around 11:45am. Can’t wait to do this one again!

10 days ago

Okay, so this map is wrong. I tried to summit today following Alltrails GPS tracking, but it directed us to hike via tundra at 12024 ft/miles in, and we had to go off trail and turn back as there was no trail where the All trails GPS was directing us. I am not sure how the folks below summitted- if U followed All Trails GPS. Nonetheless the hike was amazing and had a wonderful time. Also Park in the first dirt parking lot and start at the Little Sign that says "Trail". There are no other signs along the trail upto where I hiked- 4 miles up. Lots of Elevation gain- loved it.

Beautiful wildflowers!

Outstanding send. Steep incline at both the start and the end but smooth and shaded towards the middle. Vast open fields of wildflowers... running water pretty consistently within site. Flat and marshy at the top with a great view of the lake

Beautiful trail and awesome workout. We started at 7:30am and were done by 12pm, taking a pretty generous lunch break at the top and a few photo stops on the way back. The reviews on here don't exaggerate the incline. Boots with good traction are a must, we managed fine without poles. Didn't run into anyone on the trail until heading back. We'll definitely do it again.

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