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

Don't start too late or you will enjoy crossing the snow melt swamps in the flat lands returning to the trail head. The last mile to the trail head took almost 1.5 hours of low crawlyto make it out.

Also, this is about an 11 mile hike round trip at this time. Geunalla pass is closed about 1.88 miles below the trailhead. Plan accordingly.

5 days ago

So we tried to hike this on 5-16-18. We didn't make it because the TH was bone dry, but about a mile from the lake, you definitely need snowshoes and route finding skills. Both of which we have, just didn't bring snowshoes....so instead, we climbed up to a high point along the trail that was higher than the lake and the view was amazing! Probably even better than the lake would have been. It felt like I could touch Squartop from where we were. The trail and area are very lovely and quiet. There were zero others on the trail the whole day and one other person was fishing near the start of the road. Driving: Once you get off of Guanella pass road, there will be a fork eventually, keep right. You go past about 30 campsites then it's still down a ways. I wouldn't drive a sedan down the road unless you don't care about it. Higher clearance (jeep and 4runner are excessive) vehicles are highly recommended for parts. If it had rained hard the day before, there will be pits of water across 80% of the width of the road to the TH that are 1-1.5ft deep. The issue with a sedan would be high centering if you're bad at navigating or smashing your front end in a time or two and only slightly, otherwise it's not terrible by any means. Definitely an awesome area!

Absolutely beautiful

The mileage is more like 12 miles from Echo lake to Summit Lake. It’s absolutely beautiful. If you take this route, the last mile is a difficult steep incline so save your energy and water for it.

The first couple of miles are nice a pretty free of snow. Gets a little trickier to find the trail the higher you go due to the snow. Didn't make it to the lake and didn't see any tracks of anyone who had. Still a lovely hike though. Camped nearby and was great weather.

The sawtooth was an awesome addition

Hiked this trail with Evans road closed. It was 24 miles round trip to summit and back. A lot of snow half way up. A lot of billy goats.

1 month ago

Today, 4/08/18, I needed something to do. After doing some homework. Bierstadt it was. Being from Minnesota, hiking ...lets just say the mountains are a different beast. After reading numerous reviews here: my 4 year old had his first summit to the dogs and 100's...and 100's of people to contend with..well, didnt sound too challenging. But, I did read a few well written reviews to go prepared.
Not nearly for what I was about to face.
left late...really late from F.Collins (2:30pm) arrived at what was apparently the Silver Dollar parking lot as the road to the Guanella pass summit was still closed for the season...my homework skills need honing. talked to a guy there that was going to do some skiing and he thought the trailhead to Bierstadt would be a couple of miles. lucky I brought my winter gear including Sorrels, ski mask and micro spikes. headed up the hill at about 4pm. didnt need the spikes but postholed more than a few times but not bad. An hour later I was at the trailhead. Id say the wind was 40+ and the temp around 0. I knew a front was coming in but looking off to the west it seemed to be coming a good couple of hours early. I was alone and the only soul I had seen was a couple skiing down right as I set off...I really wished I had that idea..I need to think this over, if only I could get in the outhouse - frozen halfway shut and buried in snow. I get it open and have a seat. I decide to at least go a bit before turning back. I see what appears to be the start of the trail by the marker and another marker some 30 yards out. Off I go...postholing it every step. Wow..where are the snowshoes... (even those didnt seem to help one reviewer and his friends) Anyways, I realize Im out of my league here and want to see another day so after 20 or so yards of this I turn back down the mountain thinking of those skiers. Once back to my car the Blizzard hits with full force and Im out of there. I have to say..the whole experience - including the solitude and the views walking back down were soooo worth it!!!

First 14er. The gain in elevation was harder than expected for my friend and I, which meant the hike took longer than we had planned. Best views I've ever had and the experience was exhilarating! Make sure you have plenty of water, protein and healthy fats snacks(nuts, bars, etc.). Went in October 2016, temp went back and forth between just a hoodie and needing a wind resistant, thermal coat.

4 months ago

Amazing views and feeling. We made the summit by 2:05pm 01-09-18 (start time 8:53am). Lucked out with beautiful blue skies. The terrifying brownish grey clouds scattered away as we ascended out of the willow area. I'm not the fastest so took about 9 hours total. Winter trek is 11+ miles (my GPS said 12) due to having to park at Silver Dollar Lake TH as Guenella Pass is closed from there. Walked down Guenella Pass in the dark on the way back to the car, but as long as I was of the actual trail before dark I was felling comfortable and our eyes adjusted to the dark. Micro-spikes were perfect, there was no need for snowshoes. I agree with the review before me do not look over that snow bank down to frozen lake too much as its sketchy and snow is slightly deep there.

Started from the winter parking lot ~2 miles below the actual trail head (roads well plowed to this point). Round trip is about 11 miles over a mixture of packed snow, gravel, and patchy ice. Leave your snow shoes and crampons in the car, microspikes are more than sufficient. I hike pretty quickly and it took me ~7 hours (4 up, 3 down). No ave danger except at the final quarter mile up the ridge to the summit; there’s a sketch snow bank overhanging the eastern slope. Don’t get curious to peak over the edge and this is easily avoidable.

4 months ago

This is one of my favorite hikes in Colorado!!! It is rarely busy and offers a wide range of environments to trek through from forest, to boulder fields to tundra. In July the fields above tree line are covered in a wide variety of wild flowers, and there are giant patches of columbines.

The climb begins quickly. You'll accumulate a big chunck of elevation gain through the first 2 miles. The trail leads to an incredible view down the valley from a pretty exposed overlook. The next couple of miles are a more gradual uphill. It is a beautiful hike through boulder fields and forest with the sound of the stream ever present. The last third of the trip is the most grueling. It is a sustained climb to the lake.

In past years I have camped along the trail then tackled Square Top the next day.

Things to note - County Road 1038 is not well taken care of and has boulders that you will have to get over or around. There is almost always standing water a few inches thick somewhere on the road. I have seen a Prius make it to the trail head, but have been on trips where the driver of a Subaru didn't feel comfortable and parked two miles from the trial head. Be aware before you try and get there and don't be afraid to park before the road becomes brutal.

Also, the trail head isn't extremely well marked when you are heading up the road. I needed my GPS to make sure I was headed the right direction and find the trail. But, there is a very large boulder with a sign that guides you, it is just easier to see if you are looking back down the road toward the entrance from Geneva Road.

Bring bug spray or permethrin clothing. This trail is along a creek and bugs become unbearable without it. You may also want to make sure your hiking boots or shoes are waterproof. The trail has standing water sporadically and there aren't ways around the soupy parts. Lastly, once you get above tree line 7-foot-tall shrubs are grown right up along the trail and can feel like they are attacking you. Long sleeves offer a fair bit of protection.

super easy made it up and down in a few hours. too many tourists.

4 months ago

Amazing trail with excellent views 100% of the time.

fun not hard except its a 14er

5 months ago

I'm sure this trail would've been beautiful, the area was amazing but I didn't even make it to the trailhead. This area is only open to hunting/fishing after Labor Day so the road was gated 4.3 miles from the trail head. This area is also totally closed from Jan 1 to June 14th.

Hiked this trail on 11/26/17 and it was snowy, but not deep at all - just packed from fellow hikers. It was slick on the way down though, when the sun had been out for a bit. I'd recommend traction for the descent at least. It was a beautiful hike with lots of people and pups on the trail, and pretty views the whole way. As expected, the summit was very cold and windy, but a fun steep ascent at the end!

great trail. started at 9:40am made the summit at 12:20pm left summit at 1:20 got back to parking lot around 3. microspikes are needed although I saw people not wearing them which I thought was crazy. guenella pass is open as of now

5 months ago

So beautiful. When you think your not going to get there, that is when you are so close. Was a little erie as we spent 7 hours on this trail and did not see one human. Mountain playground all to ourselves. Went in middle of September when all the colors were beautiful below tree line. Lake see through blue, chilly but worth it.

Did this trail 3 times this year. Love it. Can anyone tell me if Guanella Pass is drivable for a regular passenger car in winter?

I started at 4:30 am on Sunday 10/29 to avoid the other hoards of hikers. Around 12,000 feet snow starts to cover the trail. It's pretty packed down and icy so I advise spikes/crampons. Gaiters might not be a bad idea because you will likely lose the trail due to the snow and you may fall in up to your ankles. The snow really doesn't get much worse towards the top. I peaked just as the sunrise edged over the mountains to the east and it was quite windy. I wore an arc'teryx atom LT hoodie over a base layer and a midweight shirt and I was fine until the top. I had to put on my warm parka over everything and cover my face as well as put my hood up. It's cold. It's nearly November. But it's totally doable and I love having the trail to myself. Would definitely recommend hitting this peak before it gets too snowy!

Did this trail today (10/27). It was very snow/ice-packed for most of the upper half. I’m a relatively inexperienced CO hiker but would recommend some form of microspikes, though we saw a few people who said they summitted without them (a few guys were even just wearing Vans). We turned around about 1/2 mile from the summit as it was extremely slippery and windy (I’d guess about 20-30mph gusts). We started at 11:15. Would definitely recommend an earlier start, but again, we’re inexperienced and fresh from sea level so we took a lot of breaks. Took us about 3 hours to our turn around point and almost 2 to get down. We were dressed warmly but it was extremely cold when we turned around. Still worth the effort with all the beautiful views.

trail running
6 months ago

Ascended Friday 10/20/17 around 12:30 pm. Considerable snow and ice (maxing out at calf depth) over the top half of the climb. Didn't wear microspikes on the way up (moving well and didn't want to stop), but put them on for the descent. Wind was fierce (maybe ~40 mph?) the higher you descended. Pretty cold - mid 20's - at the top. Up and down in 2 hours and 1 minute.

Climbed this last weekend. It was my first 14er! 3/4 yo it was covered in snow, you’ll definitely need some tracks. There were up to 40mph winds and a windchill around 20. Overall it was a great first 14er and I was prepared with warm clothes.

Short and sweet. Probably wouldn’t make the trip from Denver just for this hike because it was pretty short, but would be great if hitting a couple of hikes in this area. I would rate this hike as easy. Snow makes portions slippery and it’s much colder by the water. You will need layers and gloves. Took about an hour from lake to reservoir.

7 months ago

Great hike with great views from the summit. It took my wife and I about five hours round trip, with some stops for pictures and to chat with other people on the way up. The trail itself is very well maintained with a decent amount of parking and restroom facilities at the trailhead. I would say about the upper third of the trail was under +/- 1-2’ of snow. I would recommend micro-spikes or crampons (which we didn’t have!) and trekking poles since the more trafficked areas of the trail in the snow got pretty slick with the snow getting packed. Other than that it was one of the more relaxed 14ers we’ve done. We did this hike on October 17th, and would highly recommend it!

Great hike for a first 14er, though having snow made way harder than it should be! None the less, it was a great experience.

Holy bananas! We got unbelievable weather but the snow was mid thigh deep the entire last mile and a half. Totally worth it, lots of slush and mud on the way down because of the melted ice. Good shoes and lots of layers, what a great first 14er

Started at Guanella Pass at 10:15am. Decent travel for a while, but encountered heavy snow about 1 mile from the summit. Cold feet (bring 2 pairs of extra socks and some foot warmer packs if you don't have water proof shoes. My mistake. Snow shoes recommended. Some deep snow for the last mile or so, but you can do it. There were pre-existing tracks for me to follow, but had to post hole and crawl for some of it. Keep pushing. Slushy walk down, but over all a great experience. You can do it. Just be prepared. Snow brings a whole different aspects to the experience.

7 months ago

Great hike! Absolutely beautiful. I went yesterday and it was perfect weather-no clouds when we started at 6:30 AM. Clouds began rolling in at noon, so be off the mountain. The difference in climate from the trailhead to the peak is insane-probably 50 degrees (no snow) at the trailhead to probably 30 at the peak with crazy winds (wind chill maybe 20) and at least two feet of snow. This would be much more fun if the last mile of the hike wasn't trudging through deep snow, constantly losing footing, and worrying about falling. On the plus side, falling down doesn't hurt because of the snow! I should have been more careful coming down than I was, but I just wanted to get off the mountain and warm up. I sat down on my bottom and slid down some of the steep parts. Absolutely wear waterproof pants and bring a rain jacket or windbreaker. Also, the water in my Camelbak froze-I didn't drink as much water as I should have because of that! Also, make sure your phone is on airplane mode, as mine died before I was able to take a picture of me on the peak. Overall, this is a great hike, but be prepared for deep snow and unpleasant conditions starting about a mile from the peak.

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