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1 day ago

Very difficult trail. Could use poles for sure. Amazing fall colors and amazing views at the top of the mountain.

1 day ago

This trail has it all, in my opinion. Very challenging at the beginning, levels off for awhile then hard again (for someone not acclimated to altitude or used to hill climbing - came from Indiana). Open meadow, forest, rushing stream and waterfall off in the distance. Didn’t have enough time to get to the lake but the Fall colors were incredibly beautiful! Loved this hike! Only did about 6 miles round trip but had done 3 earlier in the day so my knees were ready to be done hiking (poles came in very handy).

Good trail. Did this for my first backpacking trip and had a great time. Being from the Midwest, it took me some time to adjust to the altitude, which made the hike a bit more difficult than I thought it would be. The first 1.5 miles on the Salmon Lake trail is grueling, particularly after we had hiked close to 8 miles before (we did a portion of the Rock Creek trail in the morning). Found a few great campsites toward the top with views of distant peaks and closer ones. Great for the sunset and sunrise. We even had a moose walk through our campsite. The views at the top are breathtaking and well worth the hike.

There is a point about mile 5 where you are walking in a blown out area filled with dead and fallen trees. The trail remained very clear (had to climb over a few) but I would be wary of doing this section on a windy day for fear of falling trees.

In all, a great experience.

2 days ago

What an amazing hike! Pitkin lake is so beautiful during the fall. It is not as hard as you think. First mile is pretty tough but after that you can see very beautiful valley. Steady incline when you approach lake. Just bring enough water and a good snack. Must do if you in Vail area!

After 30 years in Summit County this Was an unexpected jewel. Particularly late in mid September with the foliage. Oh yeah we ran into a couple bull Moose having a little fun :)

Hiked nearly to the lake, had to turn around due to time. The last portion of hike (past the tree with grave marker/cant miss it) is mostly uphill. Lots to see on this hike, variety of terrain, plenty of shade, beautiful views.

I am a Summit County resident and have hiked many of the surrounding peaks. I think Buffalo offers some of the most stunning views. I completed the hike in just under 4 hours round trip. The Boulder field was not that bad and the carins were pretty easy to follow. Over all, this was a very nice hike.

Beautiful hike with golden aspen hills, blue skies, and majestic mountains in full view. Toughest part of the day is the drive to the walk. We made it in a non suv, but it’s slow, bumpy, and dusty. You are exposed in sun for most of the hike, so come early or enjoy the heat (and the crowds). But despite all that one of the most beautiful hikes ever

We snowshoed and it was a lovely hike, as described.

not a steep hike, very beautiful

Pretty steady hike up. Great camping at both lakes

Great round trip hike. Take a lunch and sit next to one of the two lakes. Creek is dry. Be sure to take plenty of water as the trail is on the sunnier side of the mountain face. If you are overnighting, be sure to register at the base of the trail.

10 days ago

A little bit of everything! Aspens, pines, water, and big views. We were first people in the lot at 630. The aspens are starting to turn and there was frost on the ground cover. 4.5 hours round trip for us with lot of stops for pictures

Hard is hard, beautiful is beautiful. The lake is rewarding.

11 days ago

Great easy trail, all the elevation is at the trailhead. Nice pines and watch for the chipmunks.

14 days ago

What a great little hike! Easy to get to from Denver, leave early. Hike has moderate elevation gains and is never too difficult. I would suggest being on the trail no later than 8 am as it starts to get a little busy and the trail is very narrow. One additional note, keep to the right at the Gore Trail/Eaglesmere signpost.

14 days ago

Great short moderate hike mostly in the trees. Some aspen groves. Trails well maintained It’s about a 2-3 hr round trip hike with time spent for lunch looking over the small lakes.

I would give 5 stars but the enormous, uphill boulder field brought it down for me. We ended going straight up the boulders because we lost sight of the cairns. I would suggest wearing gloves, I beat up my hands climbing up and down the rough boulders. This was more challenging then the 14rs I've climbed so don't be decieved into thinking it's easier due to only being13,000 feet. Watch for the cairns they're easy to miss. We were disappointed that there weren't any mountain goats visible, since it seemed as if most people would see them that have climb this mountain.We did see some medium sized birds running around that looked like large mourning doves. The views at the top made navigating the boulder field worth it.

15 days ago

always enjoyable! easy hike with continous steady incline making it moderate. Bring bug spray - about half way mark is Mosquito haven in short switchback area next to creek. Go past lake for scenic long range ridge views.

Of all the hikes I have done I would do this again and again. It is a challenge with the rocks and changes to terrain. Once you get through the first few minutes it gets easier The views are incredible and even the thunderstorm did not seem to bother anyone
And it was short lived and we all carried on. The beauty all along the entire trail was amazing and I will be back.

15 days ago

Amazing trail. Super beautiful. Took us a little under 5 hours.

16 days ago

Incredible hike!!!! A must do. Took my sister and I 5.5 hrs round trip (we're in our late twenties and fairly athletic/experienced hikers) and we clocked it at more like 13.75 miles to the lake and back! We hit the trail around 6:30am and had the lake to ourselves, although we saw quite a bit of traffic on our way down. Definitely have to come back and camp up there, it was absolutely stunning.

5.9 miles and 2362’ gain from Surprise Lake TH to Upper Cataract lake. Although steep in the beginning, the trail mellows out around 3 miles and it is so beautiful.

We backpacked one night. There’s a permit to fill out at the TH—please read the rules. All of the lakes here have a 100 foot minimum perimeter to camp nearby. Even though you see a spot right next to the lake, you should move back and away from the water.

We observed several groups of people and dogs camping a mere 4 feet from the lake shore. Please follow backcountry rules! Keep it beautiful.

We found plenty of great spots tucked up above the lake and in the trees, you just have to look for them. Great spot for fishing and set in a beautiful basin.

This definitely had a lot of different scenery from a burnt out section to lush green to a waterfall. Loved it!! There were a few times we were not sure where the right path was so that made it challenging, but overall I would do it again.

Perfect for an average hiker looking for a moderate hike to get some exercise with breaks of flat open meadows. Gives you a little bit of everything!

It was beautiful, but poorly marked. About a mile in the trail comes to a rocky area filled with large boulders. The trail continues directly across, but is not visible from the other side. We got lost, going up another path that appeared to be the trail and was marked with pink tape, which we removed. Coming back we had the same problem, losing the trail in a rocky area, going below the rocks instead of above, where the trail appears to have continued. The trail was moderate, a good workout, and beautiful all the way through. The falls were also lovely!

17 days ago

Great hike. Nice mix of hiking terrain: some soft padded Forest floor in the forest, some rock scrambling, some open terrain with nice views.
Did not make it to the lake - hopefully another time

Awesome. But 12.6 miles! Tough first mile, then steady incline. 3000 ft elevation gain. Gorgeous!!!!!!!

We did this hike late May 2016. It was tough because the first part of the trail was summer trail and the 2nd half was the winter trail. We postholed for about 5 miles and got fairly off the path and ended up making this 16miles instead. But we went all the way to the frozen lake when most folks did not (I don’t think any did besides us due to snow. Everyone was asking if we went to the top and were shocked that we did.) I would love to do this again when all the snow melts!!

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