Explore the most popular birding trails in White River 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.

Beautiful Trail! In mid September the leaves are changing and glow in the sunlight! at the end of the trail is a beautiful waterfall The parking is small and strict but if you park at the Park just west its with in walking distance.

trail running
15 hours ago

Gorgeous! Nice length. Elevation changes aren’t crazy, but more gradual with some shorter, steeper areas. I couldn’t run up the scramble you will see to the left of the ridge onto the rock formation. Good excuse to sit and relax before going back.

18 hours ago

We really enjoyed this trail.

hiking
1 day ago

My new favorite fall hike! Challenging but not too difficult. Stunning with the aspens and the lake.

Did this hike this week on the way back from Utah. It was a last ditch effort after realizing that Hanging Lake is closed. The views are incredible especially now with the fall leaves. I would say the hike is definitely worth it. As others have said parking is a nightmare and I honestly have no other idea where there is overflow parking or where to pick up the shuttle. We got there on a Monday midday and still had to wait for a spot. Overall the hike was amazing, I would rate it as moderate and not difficult. Also if you have good boots/shoes you can venture further up the falls and find some more falls which are beautiful. Overall I would definitely do this hike again, next time to the lake!

What a pleasant surprise. This trail begins as a rocky road with mtn bikers. It wasn't terribly exciting and the fall colors were limited. Then at the junction, the aspens improved. Many people were confused by the number of lakes, first lake on right is more like a large pond, then second lake on right is nice by the best views are at the third lake where no one went!! We had it to ourselves except for the SALAMANDERS. So Cool! Pics and details here: https://etbtravelphotography.com/2018/09/20/road-trip-to-the-rockies-a-weekend-in-aspen/

Steep, but pretty fall colors and lovely lake! Pics and more details here: https://etbtravelphotography.com/2018/09/20/road-trip-to-the-rockies-a-weekend-in-aspen/

hiking
1 day ago

The end of the hike is brutal. The entire hike gets your heart pumping. Passed 4 people on a Saturday. Saw some nudists up at the lake, what could be better :)

Great hike in the fall! Parking is a nightmare... even on a Wednesday every spot was full. Sounded like there’s a shuttle service from town. Would have done 5 starts but trail head parking lot only had like 12 spaces.

hiking
2 days ago

Great hike to Fancy Lake today-9/19/18. We didn’t start til noon. Fairly easy climb. Lots of good switchbacks. Thank you trail groomers! This lake is stunningly beautiful! Next time we’ll hike on through to Missouri Lake.

hiking
2 days ago

uphill climb, but rewarding

hiking
2 days ago

Beautiful scenery and a variety of views! We are 50 and not seasoned hikers but in pretty good shape . Uphill on the way to the falls.. down hill coming back. Hard and steep at times but worth the views. Saw all ages on the trail. Took about 2.5 hours total which included time for lots of photos along the way.

hiking
2 days ago

Hard hike but well worth the time. You leave the trail head and are constantly climbing to the destination. Make sure you have plenty of time for this hike it’s not one to do quickly. Someone that gets into a hurry could be easily injured.

Just as the last 2 reviews stated the first 1/2 mile was flat and uninteresting, but a welcome break returning. We hiked to the first lake and the trail was moderate and the falls and views at the lake were mesmerizing. We decided to continue to the second lake which was not a maintained trail and difficult to follow. There was some cairns to help but the trial is overgrown and parts were more rock climbing than hiking. The views on the hike were incredible and we met a mountain goat on the trail. The second lake was a disappointment, as it was most dry. It was 3.1 miles to the second lake with 1400 feet elevation gain. We lost the trial a couple times retuning but eventually found our way. Unless you want to views, skip the second lake this time of year. I am sure it is beautiful in the late spring or early summer.

This is a great short hike especially if you leave early in the morning work shaded on the Eastern slope.

3 days ago

Pretty fun! Ride it up the road first so you can coast all the way across! Really quick ride!

trail running
3 days ago

No better time of year than now. Stunning scenery with aspens turning and perfect weather.

Did this hike 3 days ago and it was one of the most beautiful hikes I’ve ever done. The ridge was beautiful and we actually walked about 1.5 mile along south spur. The fall colors and views were magnificent. Watched a marmot for quite awhile. Splendid!!!

hiking
3 days ago

Gorgeous hike especially with all the fall colors. Was definitely on the harder side but well worth it. Tracking on my watch put me at about 8 miles to the cabin and back. We brought our dog and only ran into 3 groups of people throughout the hike!

Absolutely stunning views and very fun hike up to the top!

Not crowded at all, we passed maybe 4 people all day. Gorgeous hike, especially in the fall.

hiking
3 days ago

PSA: the trail is closed September 17th - 22nd and October 15th - 17th for routine maintenance.

I did not get a chance to hike the trail but I’ve heard nothing but good things!

Read the "getting there" carefully. GO to the LEFT at the trailhead junction sign. First part on road is boring, but once it is a single track trail, the hike through the woods, to the waterfall and lake were awesome. I didn't realize there were multiple lakes, so I missed that, but I was mesmerized by the mountain goats. Three sets of mamas with their babies. They sure blend into the rocks if you don't know they are there. LOVED the goats...pics and more info here: https://etbtravelphotography.com/2018/09/17/roadtrip-to-the-rockies-breckenridge/

There are much better hikes in the area. Though rated moderate, for anyone less than a seasoned hiker, I would say this is a hard hike with 35% grade ascents. HIGHLY recommend poles! Travels through aspen so nice for the fall and seems like there would be good wildflowers in July. Only about 12 parking spots limited to 3 hours and most people cannot get to the cabin and back in three hours. The cabin is anti-climatic. I recommend stopping for your snack at the large boulder field (not the small one) or going just above that field to a large flat area in order to enjoy the views. For more info and pics click here: https://etbtravelphotography.com/2018/09/18/roadtrip-to-the-rockies-vail/

Very pretty hike. Knowing the history of the area makes the experience much more meaningful.

hiking
4 days ago

First Colorado hiking trail, excellent choice. Steady incline with beautiful bubbling creek sounds alongside trail. Lots of large stone & creek photo ops. Plenty of shaded & sunny sections.

Climbed yesterday (9/16) and started at 05:49. Wasn’t sure of what to expect, since one of the reviews really bashed the mountain. There was a 20 deg F change in temperature and a wind that started in the last ~200 yards from the peak. The total hike took us 6 hours 1.5 minutes. One person in our party had to stop every 10 feet due to the altitude. Bring a hat, gloves and a warm jacket for the top, headlamp or flashlight for the start.
Pros: The views were great, Aspens were in full color, saw a fox right before we started and two mountain goats on the way down.
Cons: The scree field was long; coming down wreaked havoc on the knees.

Did this as a day hike (Sunday 9/17). A moderate trail, mostly gradual with a majority of the elevation gain during the last 2.5 miles. We showed up at the trailhead around 7:30 AM with 3-4 spots still available. Started hiking around 7:40 AM, arrived at the hot spring around 11:15 AM (about 3 hr 35 min with some food and photo breaks). Spent ~2 hours at the hot springs. Then took 3 hours to return to the trailhead. Would have probably taken up longer had been staying overnight and had more gear. We each carried about 2.5 L of water with us (probably drank about 2 L), and plenty of snacks. Wore long sleeve and pants for the morning, but changed to tank top and shorts returning to the car.

The views on the way in are fabulous, a lot of walking through aspen/pine forests and open meadows. The leaves have started changing with about 1/3 bright yellow and another 1/3 light green. The views while sitting in the hot spring itself (about 90-95 F when we were there) were even more incredible. We even had the spring to ourselves for a little while. We saw a lot of people coming down while we were going up though, so I’m sure Saturday was more crowded.

We recorded about 8.5 miles each way. You may add more mileage if there’s no parking at the conundrum trailhead (you cannot park on conundrum creek road!) or if you have to pit stop at a campsite (some are before and some are after the hot spring). Creek crossings were pretty dry when we went. The large ones have flattened logs going across. There’s one crossing that has a fallen wood sign before it that says “FORD”. Here, we actually found it easier to go to a path on the right instead and walk across some fallen trees/logs.

Definitely a long hike to do in a day (by the end you’re mentally willing the parking lot to be around the next bend), but doable and worth it. I haven’t tried camping overnight (the permits were all reserved), but I would assume we went a lot faster not having 2 days/1 night’s worth of stuff with us.

Also, for anyone with dogs - there’s a point at which dogs are no longer allowed past, which includes where the permitted campsites are and the hot spring itself. Not sure if anyone’s checking, but would be a bummer to get up there and not know ahead of time! We didn’t see any rangers (nor were we camping), but I’ve heard of rangers being there to check for permits and bear canisters so just be aware.

Did this hike yesterday 9/16 and it was my fourth 14er. It was by far the hardest one I’ve done. We stared at 415 am and finished by noon. It took way longer than I thought it would, but it was the last part up to the summit that killed me with the steepness. I feel like the views were actually pretty awesome compared to what I’ve read on other reviews, especially since the aspens are changing and it’s beautiful. The rocks are pretty tough to walk and navigate on and I busted my butt probably 5 or 6 times on the way down, so take it slow. It was worth the challenge though! Also, it was very windy and cold at the summit so bring plenty of layers and gloves

This was my husband and my 1st backpacking trip. It is not for the faint of heart and will challenge you physically and mentally if you are packing in gear. We came from 1700ft in elevation where we live, so the altitude definitely got to my husband. The views were tremendous and the trail was well marked. It is hard at the end, definitely felt like a "money pit" reference to people coming down, "1-2 miles" always. It took us 8 hours to climb up, and 4 1/2 to get down, many people passed us up. Everyone was super friendly and encouraging, loved hearing all of the different accents. We saw lots of squirrels and a few deer. Probably not the best for a 1st time backpacking trip but the aspens were turning and the scernary was stunning and the hot springs were not crowded and averaged around 100F.

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