Explore the most popular snowshoeing 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.

plus the extra 50 miles or so that goes South almost to the Huerfano county line.

Great hike. Not too strenuous but amazing vistas.

Had a great hike today. The trail is covered in a few inches of soft snow almost the entire way. It was easily doable with regular boots and poles, but definitely slowed us down. Took us almost four hours from the radio towers to the peak (and usually a hike like this would take us 2.5-3). Got back down to our car in 2.5 hours. The views from the peak were amazing- probably my favorite 14er views to date!

Of note, the road to the radio towers is rough with deep ruts in spots. There was very minimal snow on the road. My 2WD high clearance Ford Escape did fine, but this is probably at the limits of what my car can handle. For comparison, my car had no issues on the Grays and Torrey’s road or the road to Sherman.

rock climbing
27 days ago

Wicked climb! made it to the lakes in 70 min. then the climbing begins. fun test of your route finding and climbing skill.

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!

hiking
1 month 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.

We only did about half of this trail due to time constraints. We actually went down to the water and walked along there for a bit before getting back on the trail. It is a very easy trail but was heavily trafficked even for a Tuesday. Beautiful views though!

If you have a vehicle that will make it up the 4WD road, I’d 100% recommend this route! The trail is beautiful, with amazing views over Twin Lakes, and of course the summit views were also great. We even saw a wedding ceremony being performed at the top! There were some other hikers on the trail, but it didn’t look nearly as busy as the north route, which you could see at parts from this east ridge trail. Long but not technical at all, I would absolutely recommend hiking poles for the descent for people with bad knees like me, they were lifesavers. Took us about 6.5 hours RT. Hiked 7/21/18

hiking
2 months ago

Hiked from the bottom lot, roughly 5200' vertical & 14 miles RT. I agree w/ Kurt below, the road isn't that bad, definitely doable in 4WD higher clearance. The last two miles of the hike are intense - around 2250' vertical.. of boulders & scree. The trail is well marked despite some of the negative comments below.. and certainly not dreadful. I second what Annie M says below.

hiking
2 months 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.

hiking
2 months ago

Did this yesterday from the paved road at the bottom, 5200' vertical. Didn't drive the road because of the scary descriptions, but the road is not bad. AWD (subaru) would be fine. Don't need a jeep. There is just one spot at 10,500 that won't allow a 2WD to make it to the parking at 10800. A gorgeous day with lots of hikers. Hope you like lots of bouldering! More of that here than any other 14er I have done so far. What a workout!

great quick beautiful rewarding hike.

hiking
2 months ago

Who doesn’t like a trail with an objective? This one leads to a couple of alpine lakes. Beautiful views all around and we barely saw anyone. Our dogs were able to run off leash

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.

mountain biking
2 months ago

This is one of the easiest trails in the Salida area. It’s a great trail to check out when you are new to the area and still getting acclimated. The climbs are relatively easy and it is one of the least technical trails. Overall it is just kind of an easy going cross country mountain bike trail. I take my seven-year-old here to ride frequently and he love going down Racetrack.

hiking
2 months ago

Dreadful in all respects. If you don't have a Jeep to get you three miles up the dirt "road" to the radio towers, forget about it. Four fifths of the route is slabs and boulders, with a very ill defined route. After the first mile through the meadow it is not even a "trail". Last two hours from the ridge is all loose, and would be totally impossible in rain. Unless you are attempting to bag them all, give this one a miss.

Despite the rough road to the trailhead, this peak was still mighty busy on a Saturday morning in August. Parked my stock wrangler at ~11,200’ and camped the night so I could start early and avoid the crowds. Very few parking spots available above the power lines, so keep that in mind if you get there late. Had no trouble navigating the trail in the dark/early morning. The trail itself isn’t overly interesting, but the views improve once at ridge line.

hiking
2 months ago

This could be one of the worst 14ers in different ways. Trail poorly marked. The hardest part is the last 2 miles when the rocks and boulders kick in. You are constantly looking down, some rocks slip and cause others to move quickly. I almost had a rock hit me from another hiker above. No meadows, creeks, or water of any kind. The view at the top was great but so are most of them. One and done and wouldn’t recommend it.

Great trail hike, beautiful views. Trail is perfect and well maintained. Good easy hike straight up. I drove up the 4wd upper trail head road in my Subaru outback with no issues. Starting at the upper trail head I still recorded 10.5 miles up and back so prepare for a long hike, but it is worth it!

Fun hike. Smooth, great country.

Not sure what to rate it against but it was my first 14er. I am old and out of shape so feeling a bit accomplished right now, outside of the fact I can’t feel my legs. My wife fared better she was a champ. And truly the only reason I considered making it down.

So I would say this is probably one of the technically easiest hikes I have done. But don't let that fool you its a long day hike and the elevation will challenge you if you're not used to it. We drove up as far as we could go in our civic up the 4 wheel drive route (about 1.2 miles). Don't do this if you're scared about scraping a little here and there. We also made sure to navigate the road during daylight the evening before to be sure I could make it. Anyway, we left the lodge at 5am and drove up the 4 wheel road and parked at the spot I picked out the day before. Got to the 4 wheel parking lot on foot around 6am (trail head). Reached the peak at 12ish (us low landers were sucking wind). We saw a few people turn back on the way up but most made it up. we got back to the car around 6pm. Again, technically easy, but still a tough day hike. Not the nicest views when you get up there but still really cool to say you've been to the highest peak in Colorado.

hiking
3 months ago

Great hike and a beautiful view once you get to the top!

hiking
3 months ago

Beautiful hike!! A lot of the negative comments below can be overcome by good alpine practices. The peak is very obviously exposed, you can see this easily from 285. An early alpine start helps with sun too. We started at 5:30 and summited 2.5 hours later. The trail is wonderfully marked, just look for the next 2-3 cairns, not only the one ahead. The trail moves through a scree field, not sure what the references to “huge boulders” are. There are some but it is more scree than scramble. All in all, be ready for a beautiful and engaging hike. Definitely worth driving the Jeep road if you have the car.

This was my husband and my first 14er. Granted we have nothing to compare it to and the views were awesome at the top, but I don’t think we will ever do this one again. It is 95% straight rock scramble with a very poorly marked trail. It took us 9 hours to do 7 miles, and we are not slow hikers. It just takes that much concentration that by the end you are not only physically exhausted, but mentally exhausted. Good time, but beware it’s all rocks.

3 months ago

Trail is not difficult, but it’s a bit monotonous.

Awesome short/easy hike with amazing views. Some road noise in areas. Great hike for kids. We did it counter-clockwise and would do it this direction again.

hiking
3 months ago

Gorgeous views. Narrow, unobtrusive trail. If my 4 month old kitten can hike this trail, so can you!

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