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

We backpacked this loop counter clockwise for Labor day weekend in 2018, camping at the Twin Crater Lakes on the first night and Camp Lake on the second night.

Beautiful area -- lots of water, with many stream crossings that used logs or stones to get across w/o getting wet.

Because we went in September we saw almost no flies and zero mosquitos. There was plenty of water to filter to drink (creeks, lakes, ponds) but it wasn't marshy with a ton of mosquitos. We saw 5 moose, stunning views of meadows and mountain lakes, amazing stars at night.

The Twin Crater lakes were too high (about 11000 feet) and shallow for fish. We didn't see any fish at Camp Lake, but other backpackers said they caught many fish in the Raway Lakes.

The parking lot at the West Branch Trailhead was full Saturday at noon on Labor day weekend, but people can park along the wide dirt road next to the parking lot, so that was not an issue.

Did shorter 20.1 mile loop - in a 3 day/2 night trip.
- Day/Night 1: Parking -> West Branch -> Rawah -> Twin Crater Lakes (hiked up to but camped below lakes) ~6.6 miles
- Day/Night 2: Twin Crater Lakes -> Rawah -> Sandbar Lakes -> Camp Lake Trail (skip Upper Camp Lake Trail, sleep @ 2nd intersect of Camp Lake x Camp Lake Ditch Loop trails ~6.9 miles
- Day 3: Camp Lake -> West Branch -> Parking ~6.6 miles

Highlights!: Excellent clean (spring fed?) creeks at each camp site, even in Sept. West Branch -> Rawah Trail very pretty w/ aspen trees, everything from Twin Crater Lakes, Grassy Pass, to Rawah Lake 3 was superb eye candy, love the sweeping ridge views & alpine lakes. Heard wolves (?) and elk on Night 1 and saw a BIG moose on Night 2!!

Meh: Camp Lake Trail was very muddy & brushy near the lake, even in Sept - best to wear pants and waterproof shoes! Lots more standing dead pine on the Camp Lake side of the trail.

Crowds: Saw under a dozen people per day - day hikers, backpackers, some fishing and hunting. 2 other groups camping at Twin Crater Lakes, 1 at our 2nd camp.

Map Note: National Geographic's map for this area is missing Camp Lake Ditch Loop trail, I don't think those intersections are marked, and while it shows more creeks than All Trails, not all creeks on that map were running mid-Sept, so we were confused about where we were by the end of Day 2.

Hiked this clockwise Sept 2018. Departed at 4 PM on day 1 and hiked in 5 miles (West Branch Trail to Rawah Trail) and camped near the intersection of Rawah Trail & Twin Crater Lakes Trail. Day 2 we hiked up to Twin Crater Lakes, then followed Rawah Trail to Sandbar Lakes Trail. My trail companion fished in Upper Sandbar Lake (she caught 3 fish) then we camped by Camp Lake. Our campsite was visited by a huge bull moose around dinner time. Day 3 we hiked out via the Camp Lake Trail / West Branch Trail.

Views on the Rawah Trail were terrific. Each day felt different and highly recommend.

We used the book and map by Raymond Ave entitled "Backcountry Adventure Guide to Colorado's Rawah Wilderness"

6.5 hours, 15 miles round trip. Came up on a moose and a bear in the first mile, and another moose on the way down about mile 10. My pace was slowed by frequently stopping to peek around corners because I'm a scaredy cat and was hiking alone. But even with that, I managed 3.5 hours up, 3 hours down. I stopped for lunch at Island lake, which was very windy but beautiful. No snow, little mud, few fell trees. I only saw 5 people the whole time, and no one up at the lake. Gorgeous right now because the leaves are changing.

Great area for backpacking. Ran into a trail crew while out on my hike. Great people taking care of the trail on a volunteer basis. Stayed at Lower Camp Lake my first night then half way up the Twin Crater Lakes Trail my second night. There's a handful of awesome campsites at the first stream crossing. Recommend staying there instead of going further up because established campsites are few and far between the closer you get to Twin Crater Lakes. Great views from Grassy Pass. Opted to walk out on day 3 instead of going to Island Lake for another night because of torrential downpours, hail, and lightning storms. Every hiker coming out said they saw significant moose activity but I didn't see any. Just a few curious deer checking out my camps.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=761&v=V3jsbVwTVcg

Really great trail. Spent the first night at camp lake. Was going to go to upper camp lake but i got stuck in a thunder storm. I was told it was better to stay at lower camp due to the upper camp lake being very crowded. I continued hiking the next day and was going to go to twin crater lakes but again there was a ton of people. I opted to just hike out the second day to my car. Extremely beautiful and would recommend this to anyone considering doing it. Lots of moose!

amazing..loves all tge water crossing. we got rain and hail but it was shaded and cool enough, not many people. we were only ones at Island Lake. closer to 14 mi. wildflowers were kicking

Spent 3 night/4 days on this trail and enjoyed the whole trail. Day 1 we got a late start so setup camp about four miles in with a great view on the Laramie River valley. Day 2 camp site at Rawah Lake #1 was a great spot to relax. Day 3 was the most intense with the hike up Grassy Pass and then to Twin Crater Lakes. Our camp at Twin Crater Lakes was setup near the back lake to avoid about five other groups. The views here were my favorite by far. Day 4 was a pretty swift decent back to the trailhead.

Great loop. About 90% incline the first day. Was pretty strenuous but doable. Plenty of water and great views. We went during the middle of the week so only saw a few other people up at twin crater lakes.

Once we got over the pass we saw a few moose. Trail was in good shape. There was only one short stretch near lower camp lake that was swampy but with thought out steps you can avoid getting your feet wet.

Temperature was great. Maybe mid 50’s at night with highs in the 70’s during the day.

backpacking
2 months ago

Great trail, went up to the lakes to fish and was not disappointed. Lots of moose and wildlife.

Spent one night at upper camp lake. 70% of the trail was dry and fast the other 30% was slow and muddy due to snow melt. Setup camp on the south side of the lake on the beach. Prefect spot to camp just takes a little longer to navigate without getting your lower half of your body soaked. Saw one bull moose and a couple of deer. The trout were very active most people we talked to caught plenty of trout for dinner. We had the lake to ourselves for camping. Saw 4 parties walking out when we were heading in.

I did this the last week of June. The snow is all gone! I'd recommend waterproof boots as you'll have 2 river crossings as well as a couple streams. Also, every now and then you'll run into mud. The trail is mellow for awhile, then you hit the last stretch to the top and that'll be a tough ascent (going to island lake). One last thing, there is a fire ban in effect so double check if it's still in place before you go out!

The sign at the trailhead says it's a 14.2 mile trip

Most of the trail is lined with wild flowers. There are a few sketchy river crossings and the trail can be swampy in sections. The views are amazing! Garmin said it was 16.25 miles round trip?

Went up Saturday morning with my sons (12 & 13) and made it to the lakes late afternoon. There was a lot of snow, water and mud on the last mile. The few groups we saw on the way up camped in the meadow before the last steep part to the lake. We decided to go for it and camp in a wide open grassy area right by the lake in spite of the wind gusts and cold. It was incredibly beautiful and peaceful. We ended up having rain all night and several thunderstorms but we were warm and dry. This is a fairly hard hike with packs but well worth it. The last 1.5 miles is stunning...breathtaking...there aren’t words.

One night on the loop minus the excursion up to Twin Crater lakes. Snow is not too much of an issue at this point in the season unless you’re thinking of taking some time off to hit one of the Rawah peaks. Some smaller snow fields, I recommend poles but micro-spikes aren’t necessary and crampons would be overkill. The trail is very wet especially around Camp lakes. Make sure to have waterproof boots or runners, unless you’re fine with wet socks. Saw one group between Twin Crater lakes and the West Branch Trail, not getting much use from the snow prints seen. Beautiful hike, especially around north and south Rawah.

6/13-6/16
Backpacked Rawah Trail > Sandbar Lakes Trail > Camp Lake Trail
Day 1 We arrived late and hiked in 2.2 miles to setup camp. Trail was in good condition.

Day 2 Hiked 7.4 Miles to the Sandbar Lakes. Trails were covered in snow after about 2-3 miles in. Many trees were blocking the trail and it appeared as though the route has not been serviced this year. Mentally and physically challenging hike.

Day 3 Hiked a short 1.8 miles to Camp Lake. Same as day 2 with majority of the trail covered in snow and few camping spots due to snow or wet ground. Only a couple other groups up a Camp Lake and we saw several moose. Fished a bit and caught a few small trout.

Day 4 Hiked 9.8 miles and opted for the Camp Lake Ditch Trail. First mile or two out of Camp Lake was pretty sketchy with lots of bush whacking required until out of the Camp Lake area. There was snow for the first few miles but nothing compared to day 2 and 3. Much more manageable. A few downed trees but nothing major.

Overall we had a great time and saw very few people (probably because nobody in their right mind would be in that much snow) If you plan on doing the full loop I would wait a 3-4 weeks to allow more snow to melt. If you are looking to do this sooner then I would say out and back to Camp Lake will be more enjoyable but if you are looking for a challenge then go for it. We had poles and would strongly recommend bringing them with.

Beautiful trail, I'd like to come back and do an overnight stay.

I was excited to backpack this weekend but too much snow for me to make it to the lakes. I turned around and camped lower. Still had a great time.

Awesome 3 or 4 nighter if you want to be able to relax and fish. first day is tough but then it's pretty easy sailing for the most part. We caught over a dozen trout during the trip nothing like supplemental food while packing. Definitely do the side trips. Sweet views. Saw 5 moose. All by lakes.

This was the start of a 3 day back pack trip. Love this place. Highly recommend it.

Great loop. The Aspen trees are just beginning to change color. Beautiful alpine lakes. The trail was snow covered at the very highest elevation around the Rawah lakes but still easily passable. Definitely a moose haven.

Beautiful area. Saw more moose than people over four days.

This is one of my favorite backpack trails in Colorado. Rugged peaks, alpine lakes, wildflowers, moose, and other wildlife. On top of that, there aren't a lot of people after you get past the range that day hikers are likely to get to. It seems like only backpackers will be in the Rawah Lakes area, so I camped just North of Rawah Lake #2, which I think had about the most beautiful views. Unfortunately, it seemed like some weren't in agreement with the leave no trace thought process. The South portion of the loop had a lot of trees down across the trail, but the North portion was mostly unblocked by trees. The North part of the loop was muddy and boggy, like usual; it's also where the moose like to hang out. I saw 8-9 this trip, but I saw 6-7 on one morning at Camp Lake the last trip.

I skipped Twin Crater Lakes so I could spend two nights at Rawah Lake #2 and went up South Rawah Peak #2 after the first night. It was strenuous and there was no trail, but I would recommend it. The views are great, especially looking South.

Awesome hike! We started Friday afternoon and finished Sunday morning. Gorgeous wildflowers, alpine meadows, and glacial lakes. Definitely one of the most beautiful hikes I've ever been on. It was pretty soggy in some places (late July) and there are a few tedious river crossings, but it definitely added to the adventure

Fantastic 2 night 3 day
Crater lake was gorgeous but packed. Camp lake was serene and peacfull
Boggy meadows w creek crossing and even a river crossing

hiking
Saturday, October 24, 2015

Twin craters lakes. Tough hike with pretty severe water crossings but the lakes were worth it. Take a look at my pics and GPX file.

on Rawah Trail

fishing
Saturday, April 11, 2015

the first several miles are pretty steep then it levels out à bit with many miles of stunning alpine lakes stand and summiting opportunities perfect for camping and hiking and the are tons of brookies in the crystal clear streams. there are large trout in the pond and lakes

hiking
Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Lost lake was a good day hike! Saw moose and lots of different terrain.

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