Explore the most popular nature trips trails in Eagles Nest Wilderness with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
1 day ago

Excellent hike. Agree that 3 hours to the lake is a good time estimate. Gorgeous lake, especially this time of year with the snow. 10/21/2018, intermittent snow above the falls (about 2 hours from falls to lake, I am a slow/moderate paced hiker). Snow is hard packed and surprisingly very manageable. Poles are useful nonetheless. Weather was warm all the way up to the lake. Trail visibility excellent.Highly recommend going on from falls to lake if in doubt. Trailhead parking lot almost filled up on a Sunday (my start time was 11:00 am, very late). Was back at the car 5 PM easily.

Beautiful views of the mountains and aspen colors. Got lucky with the weather, leaves we're peaking and mountains we're snow dusted.

hiking
16 days ago

I started in Vail Village, so I took the Strawberry Lane trail to Berrypicker up to Eagle's Nest. It is steep but beautiful patches of aspens everywhere even though the valley is past peak. It rained with a little snow on October 4th, so poles were necessary on the slippery terrain.

on Gore Lake

backpacking
18 days ago

Beautiful fall hike, low traffic, no bikes, plenty of breathtaking views! The full out-and-back loop is more like 14.4mi. The route to the lake is tough, and slow going, even for experienced hikers.

There are mountain goats up at the lake, please don’t feed them!!

Beautiful

9/30/18: Beautiful and challenging for a backpack trek. Aspens are great all the way up to the lake. The trail is steep, but not too painful. The trail is very narrow in sections and one portion is cut into a hill and you feel as though you might slide off. Trees were great this weekend. If you’re going up to camp, please mind the 100’ from the lake expectation, even if you see an established camp. Also, to those with dogs: the first few miles are on a southern slope and it was hot. No water access until the lake.

Great fall foliage!

22 days ago

Beautiful hike, but challenging. It was a great character builder for my eight-year-old son , 11-year-old daughter and wife. Coming from sea level the day before added to the challenge, but the kids made the trek in 7:30 hours with a stop for lunch at the lake. Can’t wait to do it again.

backpacking
22 days ago

Really fantastic hike from Surprise Trailhead to Upper Cataract Lake. About 11 miles round trip. From Surprise Trailhead to Surprise Lake, it is 3 miles of steady uphill. Then gets easy the rest of the way.

From Upper Cataract to Mirror it is about 2 miles, mostly downhill. Total, if you go a little past Upper Cataract to Mirror Lake you're looking at 14 miles round trip, with only about 3 miles of difficulty in the beginning.

Once you get to Upper Cataract Lake the trail diverges in multiple places but it finally comes together on the way to Mirror Lake. We found a campsite about .33 miles from Mirror Lake and used that but there are plenty of spaces around Mirror Lake and it is less crowded than Upper Cataract and not too much further.

Note: there is NO camping within 100 feet of the lakes and no fires allowed within .25 miles of any lake. Stoves are ok. There are few campsites within .25 miles of any lake, so be prepared to camp without a fire if it is crowded.

Garmin Activity Going Up:
https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/3055444761
Garmin Activity Going Back:
https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/3055454799

hiking
24 days ago

This is an amazing hike. The first quarter of a mile or less has some burned forest but after that it gets really pretty. The walk is from moderate to hard, it gets tough at times but so worth it! Getting to the water fall definitely made our day, the view is impressive. We sat for a good 20 mind to half hour and the experience was really relaxing.

This hike beat us. It was tough and steep, but very beautiful. We are from sea level. The altitude also got us. The views are worth it, even though we didn't make it to the top. The scree/talus field did us in. We climbed it for a bit and had .8 of a mile and 1,000 ft of elevation gain left. That was our first encounter with rock like that and we gave it our best shot. On our climb down from the field, we got way off the path. Thank goodness for the GPS tracker in this app!

hiking
26 days ago

Amazing hike with spectacular views and fall Aspen colors. We did the whole 11 mile loop including Gore Range and Surprise Lake Trails - took us 6 hours.

hiking
27 days ago

Awsome extremely exhausting hike for someone not used to this altitude. We are from sea level. This trail kicked out butt, but is was well worth it. Beautiful views all the way up. Took 3 hrs to get to the lake. Just over 3000 elevation gain. Our most ever. Well worth it.

hiking
28 days ago

Date: 9/22/18, 7:30am-1:30pm
Conditions: Sunny, clear, temps 40-65F
Parking:
Adequate dirt, roadside parking at trailhead. More parking available up the hill. Watch for bicyclists coming down when leaving.
Trail:
While rated as hard, overall the trail is fairly moderate. There is a steep section at the start and a long climb to the lake, but the majority of the trail is a series of short climbs, downhills and flats. The trail carves through a variety of terrain, remaining mostly well-shaded throughout. Following Gore Creek, there are some small waterfalls and water access points along the route. Once you hit the marked graves of the Recen brothers, take a minute to fuel up and shed layers as the climb to the lake begins. The best views, aside from the lake, come from the open meadows on this final climb. Gore Lake itself is a breathtaking large green body at the feet of Snow Peak, Willow Peak, and Red Peak. There is a trail around the entire lake if you have energy remaining. As others have noted, this looks to be a great place to spend a few nights camping. I'll be back!
PSA:
Upon reaching the lake, I noticed an illegal campfire left burning and was forced to throw the large, smoldering logs into the water to put it out. Please abide by fire bans and Wilderness regulations posted at the trailhead.

Great hike!

hiking
30 days ago

Beautiful hike! Lots of diverse scenery....aspen groves, pine forests, open meadows, lovey views across the valley. Aspens were just about perfect this weekend. It was mostly uphill the entire way & the trail could get quite narrow, which made it seem more difficult. Lakes at the top were not the most picturesque I’ve seen but a nice place to have lunch before heading down.

Really nice trail, very cool to see the contrast from the burn against the new growth. A lot of the way there is actually downhill- the way back is where it becomes strenuous!!! The waterfall is just beautiful and you can get right up next to it—-we had a mama and baby mountain goat join us at the waterfall, apparently was their watering hole. Highly recommend!!

hiking
1 month ago

Recently ranked hardest hike in Summit County and top 5 hardest hikes in Colorado -- and, after hiking just about everything else in the area, I would have to agree. My roommate and I literally decided to do this hike on a whim after staring at this mountain for 2 solid years. Middle section of the hike is brutal and most of the 3000 ft of elevation gain happens in little more than a mile and a half. The trail is relentless going up and down and the skree field in the middle is tough. Warning, I brought my lab (like I do on all hikes) and she barely made it through the middle (and she is probably one of the most capable hikers you will ever meet). I would recommend you not bring your dog past tree line unless you know he/she can handle it. View at the top was amazing, and incredibly silent. Bring lots of water, nothing past a small creek very early into the hike. Would I do it again -- probably not -- but it was worth it. FYI, it took us about 5 hours out and back, and we are pretty solid hikers.

hiking
1 month ago

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

hiking
1 month 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).

hiking
1 month 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!

1 month ago

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.

hiking
1 month ago

This was an incredible through-aspen-groves hike during the color change. The lakes as a final destination are a bit underwhelming in terms of a view, but we pretty much had the entire trail to ourselves, so the quiet made up for the scenery. Free-roaming cows were a highlight!

backpacking
1 month ago

Starts off narrow with no view but that changes. I enjoyed the trail. It was a good warm up for our loop. We ate lunch at the lakes. I would recommend it for anyone trying to avoid a crowd.

Pretty steady hike up. Great camping at both lakes

hiking
1 month 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.

hiking
1 month 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.

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