Explore the most popular birding trails in San Isabel 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.

gorgeous views along this trail!

off road driving
10 days ago

It was snowing heavily up this trail. We had a Rubicon JK. Road had probably 6 inches of snow and it’s a rough ride. Likes of rocks etc. The snow probably created the additional difficulty, but we used our lockers quite a bit and were in 4 wheel low most of the day. Coolest lake I’ve ever seen 1/2 mile hike off the trail. Best view I’ve seen my entire life. Great trip, but tough!

parked at upper lot. have a Toyota highlander (lower clearance) and had a few sketchy spots driving. georgous views on the ridge around 13,000. last 1,000+ was steep, but so worth it. Beautiful, beautiful 360 views at the top. lots of boulders and rocks, steep in places. took me just under 3 hrs to the top. the soak in mt. Princeton hot springs after helped soothe the bones!

Wonderful hike! Took my 60 year old parents on this and they loved it. It is very steep for the last half mile, but otherwise a very gradual income. Being a jacket for the lake, the wind has quite the chill. Perfect amount of sun and forested shade on the way up.

14 days ago

A nice simple and not too hard hike. Absolutly beautiful at the end of the colors. The fog was hanging on the peak of Mt Elbert. Love it. Will hike again.

17 days ago

Did this hike by accident and WOW im glad i did! Moderate for a coloridian, difficult for a midwesterner like me. Absolutely stunning the way up, both the path and the view of the collegiate mountains. When you reach the top, theres a wooden pole and small plastic box to write your name in. Just a treasure of a trail.

The three seniors in my group, 79, 83, 83, found this trail very difficult. I used the elevation readings from my iPhone to calculate an elevation gain of 1,080 feet.

enjoyed this hike however, be aware the trail around the lake can be difficult to keep track of.

Great hike for beginner backpackers staying the night. Great spots on the entire south side of the lake. Found a spot that was fenced in by trees to camp with a nice fire ring. Great for teaching a pup off leash. Weather was incredible

camped nearby past Lakeview camping (it was closed). Plethora of camping spots and all along the road to Elbert upper trailhead. We took the lower trail up and looped back on the road. Saw a few deer! And went past the upper trailhead a little to see the beaver dam. My pup loved it and we enjoyed the leaves!

We started around 10 am today and it was perfect. The tree colors were amazing and the waterfall was incredible.

Lovely hike but toward the hard end of the moderate range for me
Challenging going up the steep rocky trail And we saw only one other hiker during the entire hike which we did around noon on a Friday
The lake was lovely as were numerous small waterfalls along the way
Would definitely recommend this hike!

off road driving
24 days ago

I'm an inexperienced "Off-Roader" who wimps out easily. I wouldn't even call this trail Moderate, more like Easy but fun. Took wife, 4y/o and dogs in the T4R for a scenic drive outside of St. Elmo. Got out to run the dogs and get in the creek. Back in the truck for a bit of "off-roading" toward the end and it was fine. Didn't go all the way back due to time but fun enough for a wimp like me. Quiet and scenic fall colors too!

This was as mentioned a hard moderate hike. 4 over 50 year old flatlanders in moderate condition 2 hrs to get to the top. The one mile on the road was ok, we saw 3 mule deer, the mile of loose rocks was the hardest part up and down. The mile by the stream and around the lakes was just wonderful. Take the time to circle the lake and enjoy the silence. Listen to the wind through the Aspen and the trout jump. Very peaceful. I took a star off just because a few more switch backs during the descent of the rock portion would have been nice.

Amazing views! Moderate is a great description of this hike. First mile or so is the hardest, then it gets better. Coming down is breathtaking from the fall colors and views. Not a lot of traffic early morning. We started seeing more people around 10-12.

26 days ago

Great views over Buena Vista.

The lakes at the top were crystal clear and really neat to look at.

Lovely, fairly easy hike to a beautiful clear lake. Def take the trail around the whole lake. It’s worth it! Beautiful day on 9/21. Didn’t arrive at the trailhead til noon and made it up pretty quick. This is a great trail for families.

I use to live in this town and worked with a lady who along with her whole family got crushed by a rock slide here. Not worth it still very risky and there are many trails that are prettier.

Best to hike when the aspens are in full color! Breathtaking!! Only downside is one half of the loop was fairly heavily traveled by 4WD vehicles.

1 month ago

Road was very rough. Views are beautiful but really need ATV type vehicle to enjoy it. I would not recommend it without off road vehicle.

off road driving
1 month ago

this is a fun trail. the aspens were changing colors. beautiful views and only ran into 1 other vehicle on a weekday. a high clearance 4x4 is necessary to get to the top. i drove a 97 land cruiser with a 2 inch lift and had no issues. lakes are beautiful! sadly the trail is closed to motor vehicles before you even reach the first lake.

Fist full of dollars is all down hill from the parking lot. Very easy hike going down. Django is of course all up hill, but still easy! I’d say this is more of a moderate trail for biking, but hiking it’s definitely easy.

1 month ago

If you are going during leaf season, this is an excellent trail because it has great aspens all the way and there is a stunning little pond at the top. The guy who said it is a jeep road took the wrong trail. Yes there is a jeep road that leads there, too, but there is also a single track trail & you don't even see that there is a jeep trail that goes there too until you get to the top.

1 month ago

seems to be some confusion regarding the length of this trail so let me see if I can clear things up a bit. First of all, it is ALL uphill... so don't expect any relief from the climb. You will climb 6 miles, then... you climb down approximately .2 miles... that is 2 tenths of a mile, very short... then you have to cross the creek and go right... about another 100 yards you will find the cabin that was built in 1939. It has some things in it... no door... good place to overnight with an adequate fireplace and fire pit outside. Right next to the creek with some great bathing pools. Now... if you can find it, the trail keeps going passed the cabin. Look for green, pink, red ribbons and also the stacked rocks every now and then, cross a very small skree field and keep going another couple of miles and you will end up on the forest service road. The best part of this is getting to the cabin by the creek... it is worth it... especially if you stay the night and actually use the cabin. Important to remember is that it is ALL UPHILL... so do not think that the uphill hike will end... because it won't. I was there today and fixed the mantels in the lantern, installed new ones. Please do not touch the mantels when lighting them. That is not how they work... you will ruin the new ones and then the next campers will have no lantern. Also, the propane tank that feeds the lantern is full now so it all works. Dry matches and Firestarter fatwood is in the dry clear container on the shelf. Please respect the cabin so others can enjoy it too. Cheers.

We enjoyed the hike very much. Beautiful scenery and spectacular falls.

Davenport Campground to Pueblo Mountain Park.
There and back is roughly 15 miles.

Devils Canyon portion of Pueblo Mountain Park trail should not be done with rain or decent rainfalls in the recent past. (Devils canyon is one trail option to make it to the trail head in the park)

Squirrel Creek Trail is crossed 33 times on a one way trip. If the creek is up, your feet will be wet.

Sights to see.
Ruins of Squirrel Creek lodge at roughly 2.3 miles
Squirrel Creek Picnic Shelter at roughly 5 miles
Devils Canyon in Pueblo Mountain Park. - challenging.

Overall the trail has amazing views and in good shape. At roughly 5.5 miles in the trail goes up a valley and is in rough shape. I can tell work has recently been done to improve it and most trees have been cleared from the trail.

1 month ago

Perfect day weatherwise. Very few people all day. If you are thinking about cutting a couple of miles off the approach without a good 4WD forget it. 277 road very bad but not written up that way in 14ers.com. Not the most exciting one I have hiked.

Was absolutely beautiful today as the aspen are perfect

Hiked this trail on a Thursday. I saw only two people and that was on my return. It was a gorgeous sunny day and the gold leaf aspens on the side of the mountain were beautiful. The lake was great and trail around it is a single track trail that gives you great views of the lake. I thought this was a nice and easy trail. Bring a lunch and eat it on a rock by the lake.

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