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

The most beautiful hike I've been on so far in Colorado!!

hiking
8 hours ago

Very easy did this hike mid-July. We stayed at the campground the night before which was nice. Free sites were also along the road. Vault toilets at the trailhead. Nicely shaded trail. We just wish there was a better spot near the lake for our dog to jump in and cool off. This parking lot was PACKED by noon so plan accordingly.

off road driving
8 hours ago

Took a not quite stock JK Wrangler up it. Hardest part is right at the beginning - you need to pick a line up a steep rock outcropping. The Rubicons we accidentally convoyed with walked right up it with their lockers. Next time we'd air down. The rest of the trail is pretty easy but jouncy with rocks. The 2nd half of the trail was closed off, so we never made it to the end.

Started at the trailhead at 3:30am. Absolutely incredibly place to watch the sunrise. We made it to the peak by 5:50. It was so perfect. I was surprised by the complete lack of wind above the tree line when we hiked. like others have mentioned the last portion of the hike is a pretty steep scramble but was definitely worth it. We decided to go down the southeast face to drop in on Little Blue lake and turn the hike into a loop. That was a pretty sketchy and steep descent and something I'll probably only do once. The whole hike was so overwhelmingly incredible and one I'll remember forever.

hiking
11 hours ago

Hiked today 7/15, gorgeous cloudy day. Lots of wildflowers and water along the way. One of my top 10 favorite CO hikes for sure.

One of the most gorgeous hikes I have ever been on.

Due to some crowded parking lots (on a Monday!), we ended up hiking around one side of Brainard Lake and Long Lake. The trail is very well kept and great for bringing kids on. You get some killer views of the Indian Peaks with very little effort as well. Totally worth the drive and the $11 entry fee if you're looking for a satisfying, beautiful, well-maintained trail to walk with the family. In early July the wildflowers were popping!

Not as hard as it looks, the most technical part is the airplane shoot since there is still snow melting

It is a moderate hike to an amazing lake. Completely worth the time spent there. I have a few tips though. Go early so because the line to get into the park is super long and all the parking spots fill up really fast. If all the spots are taken then they don’t allow any more cars in and you have to wait for people to leave. Secondly, take bug spray because the mosquitos and flies will devour you. I have never been swarmed by so many in my life. Thirdly, if you want to jump in the water, bring a change of clothes and a towel/blanket because it is absolutely freezing. You may think you are strong enough to handle the cold but you are completely mistaken. Overall, this has been the best hike that I have ever done since being in Colorado. The sights, wild flowers, and animals were the coolest. We even got to see moose while we were there. 11/10 would recommend.

Believe the hype - on the gorgeous hike, the dirt road to get there, and the amount of people. It’s all true!

Be sure to bring a high clearance vehicle, hiking boots, and layers. The road up is slow and bumpy and gets super sketch when vehicles are parked along side it and you’re forced to drive on the little space that remains regardless of its condition.

The hiking trail has lots of water features and rock fields so you’ll need proper footwear. It also gets windy and cooler at the top so bring layers.

Be prepared for an incredible variety of views, wildflowers, and bears, oh my! We felt like we saw it all. The trail was friendly with lots of dogs and even more hikers. It took us about 2 hours up (including a slight diversion where the trail splits at the pass - going right will lead you down to Caribou lake but it is called Arapahoe Pass trail so we took that. We should have followed the sign for Caribou Pass and gone left, up to Dorothy Lake which we eventually figured out). We saw a family of ptarmigan at the pass. The views of the mountains will take your breath away! It was 1 hour, 40 minutes to get back down. Only about 10 minutes from the trailhead we spotted a black bear cub grazing up the mountain. One of my favorite hikes yet.

Beautiful and surprisingly deep Alpine lake, I've never seen a deeper one yet. Awesome walk up to the lake, saw a moose on the upper mess but couldn't get close enough to take a good picture. Bugs, bugs, bugs....and wildflower heaven. there's an awesome waterfall on the west side coming from little Blue lake. Go early to beat the crowd, my wife and I had the lakes and trail to ourselves but we started at 6:00 am.

easy trail, pretty lake and tons O' bugs. Keep on going to Blue lake.

Loved this hike! It definitely is worth working your way up to little Blue lake, not for the lake (it's a puddle), but for the upper view of Devil's thumb and the view of Blue lake from above. We shared a huge Boulder with a angry Marmot, we took his sunning spot.

7/14. if you wanna do this, start early. I reached by 7.30 in the morning and the parking space was full and cars were already lined up along the road for atleast half a mile. so better reach early.

And the hike, OMG it's just amazing. lots and lots of wild flowers along the entire hike. so if you are interested in photography flowers, it's for you. The trail is well marked. The view does not disappoint you. The spot where tree line ends is just spectacular.

overall it took 3.5 hours uphill and just 2.5 hours downhill. be prepared to spend a good 7 hours on the trails and lake overall.

Above the tree line it is there are some loose rocks, so be careful. The lake is greenish blue adds to the amusement. Just walk past the lake for an amazing Mountain panoramic view.

I’m from Seattle so I know lake hikes and this is a good one! Make sure to apply bug spray and look out for MOOSE! We saw 3 bulls in the creek meadows off the sides of the trail. Columbine flowers are right before blue lake. Make sure to do the hike near sunset “the golden hour” to get the best experience. Tons of fluffy marmots too! Worth the 15 min parking wait!

Super crowded and 4 mile dirt road that’s not great for low clearance cars!!! But absolutely the best wildflowers I’ve ever seen in Colorado!!! Make sure to wear hiking boots you can get wet, lots of creek crossings and a few marshy areas before you reach the alpine switchbacks!

Best views with the most exciting hike to the top!

My new favorite. Photos don’t do it justice. The beauty of this trail just cannot be put into words. Gorgeous wildflowers right now- three lakes on the hike but also lots of little ponds. Wear bug spray. Last three quarters of a mile or so are mostly uphill. We went on a Friday around noon and there were 3-4 parking spots open at the trailhead. Also saw 5 moose and some marmots. Will definitely be back!

The road to the trailhead is quite rough and bumpy, would not be good in a small car. Get there earlier (7-8) to find parking. The trail is beautiful and very well maintained. There are some rocky areas and you do have to cross water. The views are stunning and the wildflowers are plenty. We passed people (and lots of dogs!) on the way up and back down, but not very crowded; though we went on a weekday, so maybe weekends are busier. This is definitely one of my favorite hikes!

SO CROWDED/HEAVILY TRAFFICKED. Arrived at 8:30am on Friday 7.13. Upper lot was full and there were about 15 cars lined up along the road, so ~30 cars total. Once on the trail though, I was able to pass a few groups then was mostly alone. Definitely want to do this one in the AM because like others have said, coming down the volume of people had almost doubled.

Of course we're all there because the hike is amazing with lots of running brooks cutting across the trail, wildflowers, nice shade for the first half, and amazing views at the top. Was tough to trail run with so much loose granite towards the top, but I made due.

Great cardio workout. Steep incline. the primitive trail on the way down was a bit scary. Look for the rock markers to know you are going to right way. I had my dogs with me but had I known the way down was primitive trail I would have gone down the way I came up. That trail was very well done. No one else was out on the trail when we went. Lots of great views. Not much shade.

This is a great trail for dogs, most of the trail is creek side.

One off my new faves. How I ignored this hike for 49 years is beyond me. Lots of variety. The lake is drop dead beautiful. The perfect cirque!!

Other reviews give plenty of details.

Round trip to big lake is about 5 miles. Feels longer because of the altitude and rocks.

Main summary says RT is 3 hours. For me (69, good shape, regular hiker) 5 hours including stops (maybe 1 hour total) to big lake. Didn’t climb to Little Blue.

Also Brainard Lake entry fee now $11. Federal passes accepted. Oh yes, parking at trailhead limited. Best early or after 12-1 midweek. Otherwise add the extra mile (measured) each way from main Brainard lot. If that’s the case, make sure you take the trail or the now abandoned Brainard lake road (counterclockwise) to trailhead turnoff.

Enjoy!

This park accepts national parks passes! The hike is moderate and rocky. The lake is so very blue and worth waiting around for a parking spot!

Moderate hike! Lots of rocky areas along the trail. The lake is very blue and worth waiting around to park.

This area is absolutely stunning, with plenty of waterfalls and majestic views all the way to the Pass. Parking is limited so if you are going to go, either get there early (around 7:00) or go after 1:00 for a closer parking spot.

scenic driving
4 days ago

This is a proper moderate level hike that I really enjoyed. Trails were clear and parking wasn’t horrible when we got there just before 7am (by 1030am though it was atrocious). Didn’t really see anyone else on the trail until we started coming down, this seems to be a busy spot even on a Wednesday morning. Lots of wildflowers, water crossings, and the lake is gorgeous, would highly recommend. The road up there, like others have stated, it’s a bit rough for lower cars. My newer outback did fine but I was a few small sedans struggling their way up when we left.

You know this hike is going to be great when people endure the final few miles of the drive in attempting to ruin the underbelly of your car. But the second mile of the hike up has amazing wildflowers and the top of the pass is a sight to behold. One of the best hikes I’ve done in Colorado!

backpacking
5 days ago

Road was fine for my 2door hatchback with standard clearance. sporadic potholes but they are easy to straddle.
A sweet little hike. I wouldn't suggest it for backpacking because it's very short (my GPS says less than 2miles) and there aren't many places to go off trail to camp without messing up a restoration area or camping g in the middle of an animal trail. I use a bivy sac and it was still difficult to find a good spot.
SO many mosquitos-- bring bug spray for real.
If you're looking for a fun spot to mess around in small lakes and not have to hike too far from camp this is perfect. Pretty pines and aspens and a few glimpses of a pretty mountain but no wide vistas. It's a very easy hike if you're looking for a short nature woodsy walk without building up too much of a sweat this is a good trail for you.
There's access to Arapahoe Glacier Trail from this Trailhead and if I'd had time I would've turned around and done that instead. That is probably an amazing hike to a wide vista very close by and if you'll be at the campground a while you could goall the way to Arapahoe Pass and Lake Dorothy in a day if you left early.

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