hiking

dog friendly

views

walking

nature trips

birding

forest

lake

wild flowers

trail running

kid friendly

wildlife

mountain biking

river

horseback riding

fishing

dogs on leash

waterfall

walking
5 days ago

Done this 3 times and love the climb, great views of the dunes

hiking
7 days ago

The road to the trail is in good shape and easy to find. We went clockwise around the trail. The first two miles are pretty well maintained and easy to distinguish the trail. The climb up to the top, going in that direction, can be strenuous as the trail is very narrow in parts and is loose. I’d say it would be a challenge to descend that way, too. Once to the top the trail is all but non-existent for about a mile or so as the tall grass and downed trees have obliterated in parts. We ended up having to use the gps from this app to ensure we were maintaining the right course. After we got back on track it was a nice hike down the mountain. There is a point near the end of the loop that the trail itself clearly goes off the marked route from this map. We didn’t know where that went so we actually stuck to the course and had some trouble with downed trees and the disappearing trail again. The trail doesn’t fork in real life like it does on this map. I suspect the trail has been relocated and the map doesn’t keep up. All that being said, the scenery was beautiful and I’d do it again with my kids this time.

hiking
8 days ago

Great little hike through the trees to the lake. Occasional log and mud puddle obstacle. My 2yo sons hiked it on their own!

This review is for the hiking trail.

The directions in a previous report are accurate. Take Pool Table Road 600 from CO 149 about halfway between Creede and South Fork. At the end of the road is a parking lot, bathrooms and a small campground. From their to the bench with the best views of the Wheeler Geologic Area is 7.9 miles per a GPS watch. We decided to mountain bike the first two miles to save time and walking until we got to the wilderness area where no biking is allowed - at the stream crossing. There were a ton of down trees in this first two miles which made biking pretty tough. Had to carry it over probably 30 downed dead trees killed by the pine beetles. So because of all the dead trees in the area I don’t expect this to get any better for the next 60 years or so. After you get to the parking area for Wheeler - you’ll meet up with the Jeep road about a mile before getting there - it’s another 0.9 miles to the actual Wheeler site. You’ll follow a path that will come to a sigh where you can go straight or left to Wheeler. We went straight first which takes you to the bottom with some cool formations and perspectives but it dead ends in about a half mile. We backtracked to the left hand turn and that takes you to the bench with the awesome views of Wheeler. Very unique and worth the almost 16 mile round trip. Biking the first two miles in saves some time and effort but with the downed trees it’s probably a wash. Round trip was about 8 hours.

walking
12 days ago

Rocky terrain and not that far of a hike to falls from the TH. Hiked it on a Thursday early afternoon and decent foot traffic. Popular stop.

hiking
13 days ago

As the others said already, the Lake Como road is horrible. It is basically destroyed by the off-road vehicles, there are loose rocks everywhere, so it is difficult to walk. It is also very dusty hence unpleasant. The trees along the road are damaged by the vehicles too which is very sad. Why to destroy the nature??? There is a marker at 4.0 mile to the lake. The next marker is only at 1.5 miles to the lake (so don't get discouraged). Hiking in the morning is quite pleasant as the road is in a shade, however when descending in the afternoon you will have sun directly in your face (bring a ton of sunscreen). Lake Como itself offers epic views on Little Bear Peak, but the surroundings don't look particularly appealing. There are pieces of burnt wood scattered everywhere... Off-road vehicles continue to drive all the way to the waterfalls under Blanca Peak destroying the trail and the surrounding nature (I am not getting that....). Wildflowers are awesome in this time of the year :-)

hiking
17 days ago

I thought this was absolutely so much fun. Took two dogs who loved every second. Easy but you can entertain yourself with a little bit of rock wall scaling and the cool water from the falls is so refreshing.

Great hike. I never saw anyone the entire time. Lots of downed trees to deal with but otherwise not nearly as hard as this flatlander was expecting! Unbelievable views at the top!
I can say I was grateful for trekking polls. The loose rock and steep downhill would have been killer without them.

Scenic and nice little hike. Fair amount of blown over trees on the trail and trail is very very lightly used / difficult to see in more grassy areas but doable. Did lose the trail the last half mile (went counter clockwise on the loop) and ended up hiking an extra mile so just be heads up. Overall great views of a lake, alpine meadows and some distant peaks. Road up to trail head was dry and clear. A little clearance may be needed (I drive a Silverado with standard clearance) as there are some dips in the road that'd make me nervous in a car.

backpacking
23 days ago

this trail is great access to mountains like Adams and other 13er/14ers it doesn't have many poeple on it ever really (much less then willow) and is way easier but a little longer.

Magnificent! The water felt warm enough to swim in of it had been sunny.

hiking
24 days ago

Great short hike.

Hard!!!

hiking
25 days ago

Did this hike this morning. IMHO, the highlight of the hike was the side trail to Rough Creek Falls. Very pretty. Ruybalid Lake itself is in a beautiful location. But the view is marred by the prevalence of so many Engelmann Spruce trees devastated by the spruce bark beetle. I still think it's worthwhile to climb up to the lake. Just don't be disappointed when you discover that the reality doesn't match the pictures you might have see of the picturesque lake.
One trail-finding note. When you reach the meadow at the top of the climb, the trail towards Ruybalid Lake is not that evident. To find it. look out into the meadow, and head towards the two 6 foot posts about 10 yards apart from each other. The furthest post has the number 855 engraved at the top of the post, signifying the Forest Service designation of the Ruybalid Lake Trail. From these posts, the trail is a lot clearer.
Enjoy your hike.

hiking
1 month ago

This is a great hike, suitable for just about anybody. There is some elevation gain, but it’s not too bad, and the hike is not even a full mile (1.6km) round-trip to the Zapata Falls.

Falls were still partially frozen last weekend. Short and easy

Did this hike on 5/11/18. Hike is long but very doable in a day. Wherever the trail goes through the trees there are a significant amount of downed trees blocking the trail. The 4x4 trail was closed but wouldn’t be able to make it to the end bc of all the downed trees.

This is a super rewarding hike for the effort. You won’t even break a sweat walking to the falls and it’s beautiful! The stream is super cold and clean. I would recommend it, the hardest part is driving up the road to get there!

hiking
1 month ago

Nice little hike, just be prepared to (1) get your feet wet and (2) have numb toes! The waterfall is still mostly frozen so the creek leading up to it is VERY cold. Great for families, careful if you're bringing pups so their feet don't freeze! Waterfall in the cave is so fun to see.

The falls are beautiful! It’s a short incline to the waterfalls. Once you arrive at the water, you will have to hike over rocks in the stream to reach the falls. I hiked it today and half was frozen over and the other side was flowing water!

Great Easter hike. Great earlier season hike. Recommend microspikes from half way point on. Scenic rewards abound in last 20% of trail. Had lake all to ourselves and basked in its glory!

2 months ago

Hard.

hiking
3 months ago

HIKED ON SATURDAY FEBRUARY 17, 2018

Road leading up to the trailhead is not very well maintained but any car should be able to make it no problem. The trail is pretty short so you can get to the falls in less than 10-15 minutes. When I was there the falls were basically all frozen. You could see a little water running behind the ice. Microspikes helped a lot, especially if you want to actually get up close to the frozen falls. I definitely plan to come back in Summer when the falls aren't frozen.

I went to the dunes during the day for a few hours and then hit Zapata Falls a little before sunset. Zapata Falls campground is awesome and suggest staying there if you want to camp. Thats where we camped and other than the wind was perfect.

hiking
3 months ago

It takes longer to drive up to the trailhead than it does to hike to the falls. The falls are pretty, but the trail leading up to them is uninteresting and ill-maintained. The road to/from the trailhead from the highway is BRUTAL on your vehicle with potholes and bad grating. Absolutely a no-go if your car has low clearance. Awesome view of the Dunes from the parking lot, though!

hiking
3 months ago

I did a one-day ascent and descent from trailhead to Kit Carson's summit, going over Challenger in between. It was a tough but rewarding hike! The slopes of Challenger are a little slippery in places and somewhat grueling. Be careful. Trekking poles help. When I was there late summer 2017, Rocky Mountain Field Institute was building a better trail up Challenger, so it might be better now. If you continue to Kit Carson, make sure when descending to come down the same way you went up, as it is very easy to miss the avenue and go too far down. There are cairns marking a trail that apparently goes over to Columbia Point. The upper part of this trail is tempting and will lead you astray. I and many other parties have made this mistake.

I did this in one day. It was pretty hard on the feet, especially on the seemingly endless descent. But it was an incredible experience overall! Lots of beauty up there!

I knocked one star off for the somewhat nasty, slippery trail up Challenger. Be careful! Trekking poles help! Rocky Mountain Field Institute was up there building another trail in 2017, in what looked like a much more solid region, so it might be much better now.

Be careful when descending Kit Carson that you come down the same way you went up, as it is very easy to end up too far east and to miss the avenue and go too far down, into hazardous territory. Avoid the temptation of following the cairns that you might see up there, as they apparently belong to a trail that goes over to Columbia Point. Use GPS to make sure you hit the avenue's entrance. Mark it on the ascent.

hiking
3 months ago

I've lived in the SLV most of my life, and Blanca's summit had been calling for a while. I finally decided to get in shape to do it, starting by regularly hiking Limekiln Hill, west of Monte Vista, sometimes doing time trials, sometimes adding 50lbs of weight, and then proceeding to hiking ever larger hills and mountains: Pup, Dog, Horseshoe, Windy, Bennett, Handies, West Spanish Peak, Twin Peaks, etc. Then, on a nice day, I finally went for it, thinking I'd just see how far I could get before weather or fatigue made continuing seem unwise. I was hurrying, trying to beat the usual afternoon thunderstorms. I started at 8700 feet at 7am. To my surprise, I made it to the summit at 11:20am without any real difficulty! It was easier than I expected!

The area around Como and the upper basin below Blanca and Ellingwood are gorgeous! And the views from the summit are hard to beat.

I had been concerned about how I'd do with the exposure on the ridge, looking down Blanca's north face, but I found that I was fine with it. But most of it, aside from a spot or two near the summit, is entirely avoidable if it makes you uncomfortable.

The scrambling near the top is easy if you have even a little scrambling/climbing experience.

I found trekking poles very helpful, as always, especially for the descent. Bring some tape to treat hot spots before they turn into blisters. The long descent can be grueling. Make sure your shoes or boots fit properly and leave a little space in front of your toes.

I don't recommend this hike, especially in one day, unless you are very fit and understand the weather risks. Afternoon thunderstorms are the norm in summer and can be very dangerous up above treeline.

hiking
3 months ago

This is an enjoyable, gently inclined but sustained, fairly long, non-technical hike with a lot of possible elevation gain, good for getting into shape for the 14ers or just to do for its own sake. If the weather looks favorable, go all the way to Bennett's summit!

A beautiful area all seasons. The falls area includes benches , bathrooms, and signs to learn about the history of the falls. While a little bit of a climb, it is possible to reach the base of the falls. Please do not try to drive here in the winter. I have had to help people who thought they could make it before. Less than ten cars might pass threw here per day, and the nights can drop well below zero. If you want to hike here in the winter, snow shoes are a must.

Great place to visit. Lots of things to see that range from beautiful scenic views to old buildings that are slowly becoming lost to time. Lots of wildlife in the area. Elk and mule deer are very common in the higher parts of the trail. Only draw back is that their are a lot of vacation homes a little ways down the road. If you are planning on driving threw the area with the old mining facilities, I would strongly recommend 4wd. It's a gravel road with a extremely steep incline.

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