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.

hiking
2 days ago

GPS watch showed about 12 miles out and back from the trailhead. Loved the patches of snow towards the top of the trail! The shade and the beautiful views made it a great hike. It took us 6.5 hours to complete.

We slept in the jeep at the 4wd parking area (high clearance needed) and started at 3 a.m. You start out in a beautiful aspen forest, then through a small meadow and soon reach treeline. The trail is very easy to follow, and is a pretty steady uphill. We were alone at the summit for about 45 minutes, and the views were possibly the best in Colorado. Took us about 3.5 hours to summit, 1.5 back to the trailhead. My 8 y/o shephard also hiked with us and had no problems.

I really enjoyed this hike. It wasn’t very strenuous, but the view of the lake and the trees were beautiful. I also really enjoyed checking out the Interlaken and the old turn of the century house that you could walk through.

It was a perfect hike to see some cool things and get some exercise in before returning to your camp for the night.

hiking
4 days ago

Great hike! Was challenging enough but not too much. Beautiful view at the top with two lakes. Pretty quiet trail, I went on a Monday though.

Does anyone have a pin of where the lower lot is? Just want to make sure I start in the right spot. Thx!

Great trail- the directions below re trailhead location are very accurate. The map feature on all trails will take you right to the parking area.

There are two dispersed camping sites that I saw at the upper lake, which would have a nice view from a tent! As well as several at the lower lake. If you start walking around the upper lake to the left they are there. We camped overnight and with bug spray were a ok.

hiking
11 days ago

This trail is easy, but a relatively boring hike. The sandy trail passes by cacti and junipers in arid conditions. There is little shade and no water. More suited for mountain biking. For more info and pictures visit: https://etbtravelphotography.com/2018/06/06/roadtrip-to-the-rockies-hiking-in-buena-vista/

You DEFINITELY need 4WD and a high clearance vehicle if you want a shorter hike by parking up by the radio towers or beyond... which I'd recommend, but we made of the mistake of bringing my Subaru Impreza, which is 4WD, but such a terrible road with high humps and deep holes that it took over an hour of very impressive driving by my boyfriend to get up the few miles of dirt road and we nearly got stuck or caused serious car damage on the way down... luckily just a dent and scrape to the muffler and the bumper just clips back on haha

Unfortunately, we didn't make it to the top due to an unexpected bout of altitude sickness... not our first 14ers and were very well prepared (fed, hydrated, etc.), but remember it can happen to anyone! Only fix is to get back down. We'll be back to try this one again though! With a better vehicle... haha

I hiked this a few days ago after snowshoeing it this winter. Great hike with boys ages 6-10. Be sure to go to the second lake!! It is right above the first lake, follow the trail to the left once you get to the lower lake. It isn’t far and it well worth it.

As people have mentioned, the trailhead can be a challenge to find. Coming from Salida/Poncha, watch for the campground sign. Not long after that you’ll see two large parking areas to your left, and a trailhead sign on the right.

The trail is clear with a few small patches of snow.

backpacking
13 days ago

Beautiful area and not very busy on a Friday afternoon, saw more foot traffic Saturday afternoon.

Waterdog lakes has a few nice camping spots, didn't see any spots around the other lakes. The area has a lot of beetle killed trees.

Most of the trail had tree cover, sunscreen optional.

Two water crossing both were easy to cross. Took pictures and are on my recorded track.

Did the trail in early June, there was still snow around the lake and the trail was clear.

AllTrails does not have a way to communicate with other outdoor enthusiast, I can be reached on Facebook Messenger if you have any questions about this trail.

hiking
14 days ago

First off, I’d just like to state that there is a sticker in the St. Elmo General Store that says “I survived the Grizzly Lake Trail!”, so if that doesn’t tell you something about this hike, I’m not sure what will.

I am young and mildly out of shape, but the first mile of this trail was absolutely hellish. I took about 2 hours (with 2 older women) to reach the lake, including plenty of rest breaks in the shade. Keep in mind, about a year ago I had an ACL replacement, and my knee was swollen up a half mile into this hike. The view at the end was definitely beautiful, but I wouldn’t attempt this trail again till I was much more physically fit.

The majority of the trail is a loose boulder field in the open, so wear plenty of sunscreen and bring lots of water, because it was very hot around midday. However, it was very interesting because there are lots of open mining pits (careful!) and old cabins to explore.

My main take away was this: this trail requires a physically fit person who is prepared to walk the majority uphill and who can carry lots of food/water. Do not attempt this if you think you might be unprepared, there is no cell reception and it is very lightly traveled.

hiking
18 days ago

I've always enjoyed hikes with a goal at the end, this one fit the bill! Although relatively short, the grade and the rough, rocky terrain underfoot can prove challenging, or at least forces you to pay attention to the trail if you enjoy keeping your ankles intact. We had a wonderful hike, creeks were flowing from runoff, snow angels in May, and a picturesque lakefront picnic, perfect. Will probably hike again and try to make it up to the upper lake, we ran short on time. Oh, and someone had mentioned a lot of mosquitoes, a lot is an understatement. They sounded like a hovering drone there were so many in the trees at the lake. Oddly enough we did not get harassed by them much.

hiking
19 days ago

This trail head is hard to find because the GPS directions in this app don’t take you all the way there and because there isn’t a sign. We asked in the St Elmo general store for directions and found out we had been at both trailheads without actually knowing where the TH was. You can start at the bathrooms just before the town of St Elmo (before the fork in the road) and follow the creek up which we didn’t do because the guy at the general store said it’s hard to find and follow the trail. So we took the local TH which you can find by following the directions in this app (left at the fork in the road towards Hancock) and then just keep driving a little further until you see a very small pull out on your left (room for about 5 cars) that is marked with a small P brown sign. From the lot the trail is very rocky to the left and follows parallel to the road you just drove. Then there is a sign after about 50 yards to go left to Grizzly. Then not much further you see a spray painted old metal container that says Grizzly. Shortly thereafter you pass an old house. The trail eventually spits you out on an ATV rough rocky road that you stay on to the lake. The whole hike took us an hour and 15 minutes up and about the same down. We did this today and there was almost no snow to be seen but there were lots of
Mud and water pools you could mostly avoid by either finding bigger rocks to walk on or walking around the trail. Was very windy at the lake. Beautiful hike and lake. Loved it. Pretty steep overall and a couple areas near the end that are rock fields to cross. Just be sure to pay attention where to get back on the trail from the road if you hike from the trail off the Hancock road.

This is the perfect hike to get your blood flowing in the morning or relax in the afternoon. I’m pretty sure that some of the views were physically handed down and placed by another being. This is a great walk along the lake with a cool historic town along the way. Check out the main house in Interlaken, and then dare to dislike the original flooring. So many sweet dogs!

hiking
20 days ago

The road up to the radio towers is dry and 4WD is recommended. The hike from 11,000’ to the summit and back is about 6.5 miles. If you start at the lower parking lot it’s over 13 miles. Lots of rocks, boulders, and loose scree. So make sure you have good hiking boots. I saw people do this in tennis shoes which is not recommended. There are some crossings of snow to encounter that can make it slick. Take plenty of water! The views at the top are amazing!

Pretty steep climb to the top, but the lake is beautiful.

Very easy hike, awesome views of the 14rs over looking the Twin Lakes. The trail was dry and clear and Interlaken was so fascinating! Short hike but worth it!

Great running and hiking trail. Maintained extremely well. Drive to the trailhead (4x4 just to be safe but not needed) and save the 2 mile road walk from the reservoir for more hiking on the single track.
Deep snow one mile from the top (late May 2018).
It’s gorgeous in the afternoon

Very nice gentle walk. Beautiful. Enjoyed the Interlaken remnants. Recovering from a leg injury and it was perfect just to the old cabin... which you can go in! I did 2.5 miles in and then back.

We made it just above the boulder field in August, 2017. We made the mistake as other have, of starting from the Young Life parking lot. Makes for a very long hike. We’re going back for more this summer and hoping to summit- driving up to the cell tower. Reached the summit at 16 when I was much younger and didn’t know it was tough. Oh, the ignorance of youth!

As other have said, easy hike. Would be good for younger hikers capable of 4.6 miles. Dexter House and the old Inter-Laken Hotle are very interesting. Dexter house is open and worth viewing.

Extremely awesome, easy hike with great views along the whole entire trail - ending with the awesome experience of getting to go into the old house and seeing the old resort. Relax by the lake afterward! Great trail for a group of friends. Bring the pups along!

Would it be a mistake to drive a Nissan Altima the 1.8 miles to the Upper Trailhead?
I’ve watched videos and the road does not look too bad. On the other hand if I got stuck it would be
bad. On the bright side walking the 1.8 miles would be a good warm up. All comments appreciated.
Thank You.

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike with easy access from Salida. We went up as far as the third bridge today and it was a mix of light snow cover and semi wet. Beyond that snow got a bit heavier and looked like snow shoes would be the way to go. The drive to the trail head is fine. Everyone agreed the hike was beautiful and we'll be back when it opens up further this spring.

03/16: Drove from 800 ft elevation in mid west, stayed overnight in Leadville and started hike early morning from south Mount Elbert trailhead parking (paved road from Leadville). Usual south trail was closed for renovations and there was a new trail that shoots off of the colorado trail further north. Follow the posted directions on the Colorado trail. Just wore winter hiking boots for most part of the hike but there was about a mile stretch where I had use snowshoes. At the tree line left my snow shoes and used only hiking poles there on. The wind grew stronger as I climbed further and had to wear balaclava. The views at the summit are just amazing. It was definitely worthy.

3/12/18-- trail was covered in deep snow, if it weren't packed it would be really tough to find. But fantastic views and extremely challenging!

snowshoeing
3 months ago

This hike was great! Our snowshoes broke halfway up (crappy rentals), but we were able to hike on the packed down snow until about a quarter mile to the lake. Unfortunately the snow got too deep before we could finish the hike to the lake, but it was still very beautiful!

this trail is the old trail. it closed summer 2017. visit 14ers.com.for the new trail.

Very hard to find! And don't count on GPS. I followed another reviews directions and I passed it a few times before finding it. Great uphill hike!! great views, and a beautiful lake at the top. That and the creeks were all frozen over. (12/6)

Is there enough snow on the trail for snowshoeing?

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