Explore the most popular fishing 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.

off road driving
6 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!

7 days ago

Hiked Humboldt Peak in July. It was my first true 14er. It was definitely difficult in some areas near the top of the peak. Overall it was achievable and very beautiful. You get a good view of the Crestones though the hike as well.

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.

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.

16 days ago

Nice hike even though I didn't make it to the top. I started too late in the day and didn't feel comfortable hiking back in the dark. The trailhead is tough to find from the highway. The 2.3 miles from Monarch Lodge is accurate though and there is a sign for Monarch Sled Dog Rides right at the upper end of the parking area. The trail starts at the downhill end of the parking area.
It is a steep trail for a mid-westerner like myself but a good challenge.

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

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

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.

23 days ago

My friends and I walked along the lake- it was a gorgeous day with amazing mountain and lake views!

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.

26 days ago

peaceful no people...fall

27 days 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.

Beautiful lake and trail. The trail is a lot of up and down and lots of different terrain. There is no huge climb just up and down. The end of trail is another parking lot (with bathroom which is good. ) But the return hike doesn’t offer any new views so we were a little disappointed. Beautiful place to camp and appears people like to fish in the lake. We never saw anyone in the trail so if you like quiet trails .. this is great. If I did it again I would go about 5 miles in and then back.

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

Great fishing at the lakes, lots of wildlife and things to explore. Sort of a long hike but worth it.

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.

My husband and children, 21 & 19 and I hiked this last month with our 11 year old Cairn terrier. The initial ascent was hot on the exposed trail but the waterfall was worth any effort.
Yes, there is horse poop but we didn't care... we have and love horses.
I would definitely hike this again.

1 month ago

Great hike, easy to follow trail with lots of beautiful scenery. The waterfall is amazing and a nice place to cool off before heading back down. I started at 8 a.m. and saw almost no one, but lots of groups going up on my way down. There is some horse poop along trail, but wasn't too bad in my opinion. I went on 9/12 and leaves are starting to turn for fall.

1 month ago

There's a trailhead sign, but it's difficult to see from the HWY as it's behind some trees/branches. The easiest way to find the trailhead is just to look at where the lake's outlet stream crosses the HWY on a map (let google maps guide you, but best to download an offline map before hand). Plenty of parking across the street in dirt turn offs.

The way up isn't bad, the steeper parts are often followed by moderate sections and I didn't have to stop too many times to catch my breath. The trail is fairly rocky, so you'll have to keep your eyes on the road. Nice tree cover the whole way. Made it the upper lake in about 70 minutes and back down in about 45 minutes.

The trail to the upper lake isn't obvious; I just headed to the opposite side of the first lake and hiked straight up the hill behind the dispersed site on the other side. Once you get to the top of that hill you have to cross a boulder field. You can avoid jumping boulders by finding your way a bit the left of where you came up the hill and then follow the faint path across the field where you don't have to do any "jumping".

The shores of the upper lake are pretty rocky and tree covered, so don't expect a nice beach up there. However the views are stunning, especially with the fall colors in full swing right now.

I'm giving 4 stars because the way to the upper lake isn't obvious and also I saw so many people up there. I prefer something a bit more secluded.

I only gave four stars due to the difficulty finding the trailhead and the trail to the second lake. ***Another reviewer posted directions which were very helpful. The trailhead is directly across from the lower parking area. (I’m posting a pic with an arrow.) Highway 50 is very busy, so be sure to have a good hold on your pups/kids and look both ways before crossing!
Otherwise — wow! What a beautiful trail. It is very rocky and steep, but my three 12-year-old pups did fine. If you have knee issues I definitely suggest trekking poles. There are several stream crossings where they can get water, and of course the lake where they can swim. We encountered no mosquitos at the first lake, but didn’t get to the second due to a storm coming in. We went on Sunday and only saw three other groups/individuals.

1 month ago

Great easy hike. Finished 3 hours. Beautiful waterfall

Beautiful waterfall. Easy hike. Not many great views on the actual hike.

1 month ago

Some scrambling needed at the top, otherwise great hike

great quick beautiful rewarding hike.

Beautiful fall hike. In my top 10 - views, waterfall, awesome.

Cottonwood Pass road is closed all year until Memorial Day , 2019. It’s closed at the Avalanche trailhead. The Forest Service is so underfunded that they have to rely on volunteers, no doubt that’s where the misinformation in the previous review came from.

The hike was beautiful. There is parking on the opposite side of the road to the trailhead. Google maps said to turn right but there was no road. we went up with kids aged 6 and under. The hike said it was 3 miles but my Fit Bit said 5 miles. Good to know with kiddos. The lake was pretty and worth the hike.

Awesome trail! First mile and a half are steep, but the rest is just meandering and peaceful. Watch out for the horse poop!

Absolutely gorgeous hike! Starts off flat, with very steep last 0.5 miles or so to get to the lake. The end was a bit too difficult for my parents, who are not experienced hikers/do not live at altitude. Rocky footing on the trail throughout that can be slick when wet. Your shoes will definitely get wet if you plan on walking around the lake.

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