nature trips


wild flowers


dogs on leash




beautiful trail in this season

We arrived at the parking lot around 8am and there were still a handful of spots. This means we also got to skip the Echo Lake pay station (opens at 8am) and only had to pay $5 at Summit Lake (there were park rangers checking the fees when we finished the hike, so yes, they do check).

We hiked this trail clockwise, which is the opposite of what is listed. I really enjoyed getting the uphill portion done quickly and having most of the hike be downhill after that. The turn off of the road onto the trail is not very obvious so the AllTrails App was helpful for that. It was very windy at the top of Evans, but the views were great and there were few people since the road already closed at Summit Lake for the season. The wind died down afterwards thankfully. We had a great time following the ridge over to Spalding and back to Summit Lake as it was just a gradual downhill hike while maneuvering through the rocks. This did require conscious foot placement to avoid tripping and following cairns as trail markers. We enjoyed this, but it is something to be aware before going of if you don't enjoy that in a trail.

Overall, a great experience and beautiful views with only a handful of people at the summits!

Amazing Fall hike!

Beautiful hike for fall foliage! Leaves were at peak on 9/19. Didn't make it to the lake this trip, because of time constraints but will definately be back. Making this one of my new favorites for fall hiking!

off road driving
2 days ago

Sweet trail close to town, has a couple areas that require some ground clearance but nothing major. The Aspen trees are all starting to change color and look awesome.

2011 Jeep wrangler 2D
2.5" lift
33" tires

Hiked it on Wed, Sept 19. Arrived trailhead at 8:30am, two spots left in the parking lot. We saw only about 60-70 other hikers all day. Really glad we went on a weekday! No one on the summit when we got there, one other hiker showed up after 20 min. Amazing views! The boulder scramble at the top is the toughest part technically (but very doable), the rest of the way up is a well traveled standard trail. Took my dog, 5 month old boxer/Shepard mix (about 35-40 lbs) and she did great, led most of the way. Had to take her off leash for the boulder climb at the top, would not have been safe for either of us otherwise. Had to lift her up onto the next boulder 6-8 times, otherwise she handled it really well. Storm arrived on our way down, temperature drop, rain and sleet, but not bad. Glad we were not on the summit at that point, heard thunder on the other side of the mountain.

Very pretty with all the yellow foliage. Most of the hikes I do are on the east coast so I definitely felt a bit dizzy and took my time up the trail. Took me 6 hours. It got a bit windy while walking up which was nice and then the summit was oddly still. This was my first 14er. I passed a few people on the trail and everyone was very friendly. I didn’t feel like it was super crowded as other posts say. Maybe it was my timing. I left at 12:30 returned at 6:30pm on a Tuesday. Highly recommend this hike.

4 days ago

Awesome trail. Did it over Labor Day and still was quite empty. Could easily be considered hard due to length and elevation gain, but its all worth it for the variety of scenery. Although I saw a few 2wd sedans along the road to the trailhead, 4wd or at least something with clearance is recommended to get there.

off road driving
4 days ago

Awesome views!

Amazing hike. A little tough, especially if you’re not used to the elevation, but it has everything. Starts in a forest setting, crosses a couple of creeks and opens up above tree line. Shelf Lake at the top was a real treat and very few people.

Easiest Colorado 14er hike. Very crowded all the way to top. IF you want to avoid the crowd start early possibly 4 am. Donot underestimate though. it is still a 14er.

trail running
6 days ago

Great intro to Colorado 14ers. A fairly physical hike requiring some scrambling.

6 days ago

My wife and mine first 14er. Wow! What a hike and kicked our tail. Of course we are 60ish. Beautiful weather on 9-14. Around freezing when started out at 7am and sun was just started peeking out behind the mountain but warmed as day went on. Trail maintenance is excellent. Got a good spot in the parking lot but plenty of parking on the road.
Oxygen was our biggest obstacle.

This was my first fourteener and definitely a decent challenge. Arrived at the trailhead at 5:30am and the parking lot was already full and the roadside was filling up. Tons of people and so crowded which is to be expected of any lower class fourteener. The lack of basic hiking courtesy and manners by most people really shocked me. My dog was amazing at scrambling and loved seeing all the marmots. Glad I hiked it, but honestly not sure if I'm going to be jumping on the fourteener train as I enjoy hiking to get away from people.

Great and challenging, quick trail. Went last Friday (9/14) and I got to Echo Lake before 8a so I didn’t have to pay an entrance fee; but I did have to pay when I hit Summit Lake at the pay station ($5 so no biggie). The lot was open and not too many cars parked. I started the trail with my dog at around 7:30a and we finished around 11:00a even after we took the road down to the lot. The road up to the summit of Mt. Evans is closed so no one was on it. When I came back the lot of filled and overflowing with cars so definitely recommend getting there early. I also HIGHLY recommend abiding by the rules and KEEPING your dog on a leash and there are some spots you may have to hoist your dog up some rock or direct them on the rocky paths with the carins. Not to mention there are some steep drops close to the sides of the trail and many squirrels living in the rocks - so don’t risk letting your dog off the leash and having them take off on the side of the mountain!

arrived at 6am, car park half full. Heavy going for someone from sea-level....! follow the cairns to stay on track, lots of helpful hikers along the way to help the tourist from London; needless to say, absolutely stunning scenery, memorable sunrise from Mt Spalding. Tips: take toilet roll for the restrooms, headscarf/earmuffs to prevent earache from the howling wind, poles if you have them, get there early if you want any chance of parking in the Summit Lake car park. Thank you Colorado!

Great beautiful bluebird day for a hike on sept 14, 2018. Weather was 36 degrees when I started around 545. The hike is slow and gentle for a fourteener maybe 2/3 the way up. Then there is a scramble to the summit. Well marked until the scramble, which cairns are located it seems on diff trails to the top. But, head up w the masses and get there no prob. The top was windy and chilly, but not Horrible.

Various folks from all ages climbing up. The children I saw were not having fun. It is very exposed and no shelter once you are above tree Line.

I saw all size dogs and most were not leashed. A dog was lost a few weeks back up here chasing a goat, so I would be cautious of that. Fortunately, it was recovered by other hikers at midnight near the top. Don’t do this to your dog. There was a moose off the trail, that would win if a dog had chased it..

I also brought down three bags of dog . If you are going to bring your dog, don’t be a slacker and leave your plastic  up there.. it takes so long for things to grow and decompose in low oxygen environments up high. So far, one of my easiest 14ers. (Not easy but relative to the others).
It was a nice 73 getting back to the lot. It was 90 getting back to Denver..happy hiking!

BEAUTIFUL aspen trees right now (September 14). Easy-to-follow, challenging hike for an old fart like me!

This was my first 14er so I don’t have other big hikes to compare it to. For being one of the easier 14ers I would say some parts are still pretty challenging. There was virtually no shade through the hike and we completed it in just under 6 hours.

Nice easy 14er if you're doing this route. It was a beautiful day and I got some really nice views. It took me 2 hours even, but I'm acclimated so I'd allocate a bit more time if you're not.

13 days ago

If you prepare (mentally +/or physically) for the difficulty of the mileage + elevation gain, this is an incredible route. I did this as an overnight solo backpacking trip (I’d estimate my pack to have been about 40lbs — I overpacked as a “just in case” for it being a solo trip) + it was one of my favorite trips to date.
I went up Beartracks Trail & down Beaver Meadows Trail, which made for a strenuous 5.5ish mile day up 2,500ft & an admittedly painful 6.5ish mile day back down 2,500ft. My feet hated me by the end, but it was 110% worth it! There weren’t a ton of people past the first/last 1.5-2 miles of the loop, which made for a very nice + reflective hike. If you can swing it, you HAVE to stop by Beartracks Lake. Honestly, this is what truly makes the trail + the mileage worth it. I spent the night here, and it was incredible. There were two other groups, but I didn’t feel crowded there in the slightest. We saw 4-5 moose along the shoreline, the view of the stars after sundown was breathtaking, and the lake itself is absolutely beautiful.
10/10, would recommend this route (when it opens again — it’s closed for hunting after Labor Day). Do it as an aggressive day hike, or take your time + stay a night or two. As long as you’re prepared for a hurting body, you’ll be fine. It’s worth it, without a doubt. You WON’T regret it.

An awesome hike! Trailhead is a little hard to find because they recently moved the trailhead. Head up the trail that is connected to the parking lot and follow for about a 1/4 mile then you’ll see a sign for shelf lake. Dirt road was tricky is some spots, but manageable for most cars. This hike is also closer to 8 miles round trip.

Great mid week hike, I would not recommend attempting this on the weekend unless that is your only option. The hike up to the peak is relatively simple, in fact you may see quite a few kids on that portion of the trail however it gets a bit more challenging as you descend across Sawtooth. I prefer approaching Sawtooth on the right hand side and then switching over to the left side at the top of the accent portion. I had difficulty finding the return loop in the center of the saddle, if this happens to you just walk towards the lowest point of the landscape and you will find a clearly marked trail to the bottom. If you are on this trail during snow melt you will most likely see the large waterfall at the bottom of the return loop hill. As you pass through the swamp please be cautious of moose, I spooked one in the scrub willows on the way to the parking lot and I believe my heart stopped for a second or two. I personally would not recommend this hike for beginners, kids under 12 (or so) or dogs. If you have time it is very easy to add an Evens summit to this hike.

I believe this is my favorite Front Range hike. I have hiked it 3 times this year and had the pleasure of seeing this area in peak wild flower season as well as almost peak foliage. Expect to see abundant wild life and amazing views. There is plenty of water along the way for dogs and the lower 2/3 of the hike is rarely busy. This hike is a wonderful, rewarding challenge. Be sure to bring plenty of food/water and a set of hiking poles will help your decent of the slide area adjacent to the upper C Lake. I clocked it around 15.2 miles and with my pup it took right at 7hrs stopping 4times.

What a great trail! Perfect 14er to start with. Took about 5.5 hours since my friend was a little out of shape. First part is a killer and the last part will be rough on knees. Amazing views!!

14 days ago

This was the first 14er for my girlfriend, my dog, and I. we got a late start, and I questioned whether my girlfriend and dog would be able to continue all of the way to the top. The weather held out for us, but the hike was way more stair stepping than we thought it would be. Between that and the lack of oxygen for us Midwesterners, it was slow going for a while. once I saw the peak was just a pile of huge boulders, I definitely assumed my dog wouldn't make it. Turns out she is part mountain goat and scrambled around like a champion, making us look bad. It was late in the day already, chilly at the top, and we were both sunburnt, so we didn't get to enjoy the summit as long as we wanted, but the views are worth every single step. there was even a snow field for my dog to go nuts in on the way down. She is a husky. It made for a great day. I probably will never do it again, as there are so many other 14ers to see, but I'm glad we did it.

We took the Spalding to Evans route at sunrise, and it was a great time, absolutely beautiful. The road beyond the trailhead (the drive up to Mount Evans) was closed, which meant when we reached the top of Mt Evans, it was empty! Amazing! We didn’t find the trail down, so we ended up taking the road (heck, there were no cars!) This turned the hike into a 10-miler, which we didn’t anticipate. (5.4 extra miles of switchbacks!) Luckily, it was a beautiful day and we had nowhere else to be. Definitely challenging, definitely worth it.

Started at ~8, back at car at 1. It was tough climbing. Was my first 14er and I hiked with my dog. Had to give my pup a few lifts, but there were times he gave me a little tug up as well! We saw some mountain goats, they watched us carefully but never really interfered with our hike. There were a few sketchy areas of the climb and I found that the trail was not very clear at all when I’m more of the rocky area of the climb. The descend is VERY loose gravel. While I was glad I didn’t have poles during the ascend so my hands were free to help me climb, I wished that I had them a couple times on the way down. The road was closed on September 3, so not having extra crowds at the top who drove up was great! Awesome views and worth the climb for sure.

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