hiking

views

walking

nature trips

wild flowers

dog friendly

forest

birding

wildlife

trail running

dogs on leash

lake

mountain biking

snowshoeing

kid friendly

camping

cross country skiing

river

horseback riding

backpacking

fishing

off road driving

skiing

waterfall

rock climbing

no dogs

scenic driving

With 12 ski areas, 10 mountain peaks over 14,000 feet, 2,500 miles of trails, eight Wilderness areas, 1,900 miles of forest roads, and 2.3 million acres of nature, it is easy to see why White River National Forest is the most visited forest in the United States. Visitors to these Colorado public lands can see Dillon, Ruedi, Homestake, and Green Mountain reservoirs, check out the ski resorts, hit up the hiking trails up one of the 14ers (Castle Peak, Grays Peak, Torreys Peak, Capitol Peak, Maroon Peak, Snowmass Mountain, Pyramid Pea, Mount of the Holy Cross) many of which are in the famous Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness, check out the White River, and look out for elk, mountain goats, bobcat, and lots of other wildlife in the Rocky Mountains. Hanging Lake is another enormously popular attraction in the forest. This forest makes a great trip from Central Colorado cities like Vail, Aspen, or Glenwood Springs.

hiking
7 hours ago

Pleasant meandering trail. I recommend taking the free gondola from the base to the second stop at Grand Lodge. It's a short walk from there to the trailhead. Hike down to the Shock Hill gondola stop and get back on the gondola to return to the base. This avoids walking on the confusing streets in that last segment down.

hiking
8 hours ago

Good easy acclimating walk. Good links to other trails to extend the excursion.

excellent hike. beautiful

hiking
9 hours ago

Absolutely AMAZING time hiking up Quandary on Sunday. After camping near Blue Lake just down the road, my girlfriend and I got started up the trail at about 6:20am. The trail had lots of friendly folks on it, but i never felt that it was overcrowded. I can honestly say, this wasn't easy. However we didn't feel it was extremely hard either. It was the perfect balance. Total roundtrip was just about 6 hours from the lower lot and that was with spending about 20-30 minutes at the summit. The Summit experience was very rewarding! So many people up top smiling, taking photos, and sharing stories. The hike down was extremely hard on my knees, but trekking poles made it a bit better.

As a side note, I believe I accidentally left my light blue Camelback backpack in the lower lot so if anyone happened to find it, please contact me at jasondlyman@gmail.com.

It tricked my watch! Shorter than the app posted!

hiking
17 hours ago

My husband and I arrived from Kansas City on Thursday and hit this trail on Friday. We had Quandary Peak on our Saturday agenda so wanted a scenic but reasonably high altitude hike to help us acclimate. This trail was very enjoyable with some moderately steep sections but lots of mild areas too. So many stunning views along the way. We found a ledge to rest at the top for a snack, and were greeted by a fat little chipmunk that shared our snack straight from my husband’s hand. Such a treat!

hiking
17 hours ago

I tackled Quandary for the second time on Saturday. I’m a moderately active 38-year-old from Kansas City. We arrived in Summit County on Thursday, hiked Shrine Pass in Vail on Friday to warm up our legs and lungs, and then hit Quandary trailhead on Saturday morning at 5:45 am. Had no trouble parking in the lower lot, but cars were arriving regularly. It was a perfectly clear day - my husband and I reached the summit in about 4 hours. Last year it took me nearly 6 as I had no idea what I was getting into and almost quit several times. This year I prepared mentally and trained starting with using the stairclimber at least once a week since April, weightlifting once or twice a week, hill sprints, hiking mild hills with a weighted pack, lunges and box step-ups, and pushing and pulling a weighted sled. Additionally I used trekking poles this year which I did not have last year, and we brought a little can of oxygen we found at the grocery store. It was a much more positive experience for this flatlander and though it was still very difficult, I couldn’t stop smiling! The trail is intense and nearly straight up from the beginning with only a couple short flats. I think the ascent from 12k-13k ft (as well as the descent of this part) is mentally the worst as it takes a lot longer than you think this part will. But getting up to that 13k ft ridge provides amazing views and a nice rest before hitting the final steep ascent. We also got to see a mountain goat here, both on the way up and when we were headed back down, which was a highlight for me. The trail was very busy, as I expected from last year, but it was fun meeting people along the way as everyone was friendly and supportive. The last ascent to the summit is grueling and steep, rocks on rocks on rocks, and it’s difficult to see the summit most of the way so it feels like you are going nowhere for a long time. But reaching the summit was so exhilarating, especially after shaving a couple hours off my time from last year! Attitude is everything but proper training helps too, especially if you aren’t conditioned to the mountains! Even with trekking poles, I do think the descent was more difficult this year and took longer, but last year we got caught in a snow squall until we reached the tree line so that may have sped us up a bit! Also, both years I did this, my iPhone clocked over 10 miles, as opposed to the 6 on the description.

hiking
17 hours ago

Close to town. Parking at trailhead if you get there early. It's a short hike but well marked with educational areas along the way describing the gold mining methods using water hydraulic equipment.

hiking
17 hours ago

Lots of development and roads cross the trails. Dust abounds.

backpacking
17 hours ago

Excellent hike, steep in some areas. Well worth the journey especially if you find that you have the lake all to yourself; however I wouldn’t swim in it, there are leeches.... great fishing though, beautiful scenery, watch for cattle.

off road driving
1 day ago

We hiked both Castle and Conundrum on Saturday, August 11th and the conditions were perfect! I noted in the activity “off road driving” , because my review is trying to give what I think is a more accurate description of the road up to Montezuma Basin.

We rented a stock (bare-bones) Jeep Wrangler with street tires on it and drove all the way to the top of Montezuma Basin (around 12,800 ft). Many of the reviews we read stated the road was too difficult to drive. Our plan was to drive as far as we could and then park. I would agree four wheel drive is a must, but with careful wheel placement/driving it is actually not that difficult. My husband is an experienced 4x4 trail driver, so if that describes you, I would recommend driving up as far as you can go.

My only complaint of the trail is hiking on an old road is lame, so it was fun to drive up as far as we could. Doing this also cut out about 10 miles round trip, which on this particular trail was welcomed. Not the prettiest scenery along the trail we’ve seen, although the views from the summit are spectacular.

First 14ner . What an awesome experience. I trained for six months, with cardio. Swim spin and cycling. The reality being from Ohio is there is no way to prepare for the altitude. Everyone is going to be affected differently. I would say having enough water can’t be understated. I consumed 3 liters and wished I had more. The key is the summit is taking your time. As previously stated very loose rock at the top. The reward is at the summit. Enjoy it! The trip down is / equally challenging. Poles are a plus for stability. Your knees will thank you. I hiked this on 7/20, with an awesome weather day. Hazy in the morning, but cleared on the way down and it got warm. A week later they experience snow and hail. Always be prepared for changing weather regardless of the forecast.
I did have full cell service at the summit. None at the trail head.

Really awesome hike - short but steep and worth it. Saw a snake around 1 pm today. Definitely got lucky with parking!

1 day ago

The trail itself is relatively easy. The high altitude is its greatest challenge for most. Beautiful scenery in all directions!

Great hike with beautiful views! Worth it to go to the upper lake. Left at 7:30am on a Sunday morning and on the way up only ran into a few people. On the way back, once you get closer to Beaver Lake, lots more traffic. Took us about 6.5 hours starting from Beaver Creek / Five Senses Trail. Out and back was about 16 miles. Trail is easy to follow.

hiking
1 day ago

hiking
1 day ago

Says Hard but I don't think its hard. Beautiful trial.

hiking
1 day ago

This hike is on the Snowmass ski resort. Park in the parking garage in the Snowmass village, then walk up to the trail head at the base of the Elk Camp gondola (approx. 200-300 yards). The trail is moderately steep but about 70% of it is in the forest (in the shade) and very beautiful. As you ascend, you will occasionally hike under the gondola. I strongly believe the reported mileage of 1.9 miles is overstated. Hiking at a very easy pace (our 4 person group just arrived two days before from home (elevation 700 feet)) it took us just 1.5 hours to reach the Elk Camp restaurant. We took the gondola back down the mountain. Be sure not to hike on the mountain bike trails, as the bikes fly down the mountain and will run you over! Lunch at the Elk Camp restaurant was great!

From the Elk Camp restaurant, you have the option of taking one of two trails higher up the mountain. The Sierra Club trail is a beautiful 1.9 mile (mileage is overstated!) loop that is about 60% in the forest. It took our group less than one hour to complete the loop. At the "Y" in the trail, if you go right, the trail is steep (in places) and in the sun for the first 30 minutes. Then the traverse and descent are in the forest (in the shade). If you go left at the "Y", the first part of your hike will be in the shade and second part in the sun. We did not take the summit trail as it was too long (estimated time RT is 3 hours) and steep.

off road driving
1 day ago

Does not allow ATVs on the trail because it’s still classified as a county road. All trails needs to better distinguish between OHV allowed and HV.

hiking
1 day ago

This is a beguiling Trail we took our 11 and 12 year old children. The rating said moderate, okay. It was a Jeep road, okay. All features pointing to a decent hike. But I’d say this was more difficult than its rating. Jeep road was very rocky and it was steeper than we realized. True to the other reviews there were several false summits so we were prepared to go the distance. Trail says 8.1 mikes( we clocked 9.6. Yes we went all the way to the top. And the altitude slowed us down. The kids liked the wide open spaces and he fact that they had a sense of where the finish line was. Just when you think you’ve reached the top there is another rocky peak. The views were outstanding! We could see across Breckenridge. It took us about 5 hours moving and 6 total hours. Dad loved it; Dad rates it a 5 for high elevation and something tough. Kids said Mom was dead weight. (Altitude slowed her down) All in all we are proud of making it to the top. Thanks Colorado for this opportunity.

hiking
2 days ago

Arrived at the trailhead around 4:45PM on Friday. Easy climb With most traffic coming down as we were going up. Only another 6 people at the lake at the same time. Still pretty, but looking rough. Since I was there in 2013 the lake is not as clean with trash was floating on the surface and foam covering the water up to about 10’ from shore. Disappointed and don’t expect to be back.

Just hiked this on a Saturday afternoon and came across a total of eight people... crazy! It's a long, dusty drive to get to to the trailhead off of 400 (I came through Eagle), but well worth it if you don't like hiking with a crowd. Not too tough of an effort, and (relatively) warm water in the lake.

Awesome trail through every aspect of a mountain! Aspen groves, forest, meadows, rock slides. Hiked from the Maroon Bells down beside the Maroon Creek, took less than 1.5 hours. Beautiful!

I am in Vail for a 9 week post-surgery checkup for my hip. I had a personal goal to do some hiking while in Vail. This trail was steep but had enough shade and flat surfaces that I was able to complete it! The hardest part, for me, is getting used to the elevation. Make sure to pack plenty of water and healthy snacks. I found a walking stick, which was very helpful. We took alot of breaks and completed the trail in and out in 5 1/2 hours. Great scenery and plenty of friendly, encouraging hikers along the way.

hiking
2 days ago

Easy trail to get acclimated. beautiful trees and kids enjoyed the mines.

Only gave it 4 starts because I didn’t get to see the end of the trail. Was the first out there and have seen animal droppings and tracks. including bear and deer. Had to turn around because my family’s waiting for breakfast.

This hike was stunning. It was a pretty quick one, it took us two hours to get to the top. The trail itself was easy and well maintained, the hard rating is due to the near constant elevation gain.

Beautiful hike, but super busy (of course, for a Saturday). We went beyond the lake to the upper lake, which doesn't show an official trail on the map. Lots of scrambling and hard to breathe above treeline. The second lake is pretty, but the first one is better. Another group saw some mountain goats beyond the second lake, but they had run off so we didn't attempt to go further. One note on the trail - wear sturdy boots because there is a lot of traversing over rocks and lots of tree roots. And on a hot day, bring lots of water.

Overall great workout! Minimally crowded for a Saturday hike. Start at 4wd road 263 and continue about 2 miles until you see a brown post with “no motor vehicles” labeled on it. At this point take a left to follow the trail. From there you just continue on that trail until you hit the lake. The last 0.5mile is pretty steep but totally manageable, even for dogs! Definitely worth the work to get up there. If you go to the lake and back it is around 8.2miles, the red trail on the all trails map goes into the gulch not to the lake.

This was not difficult. We did Baldy Peak the day before and that was difficult. I’d put this in he moderate side. This trail spends a lot of time on a Jeep road with decently packed rocks. I always forget we can drive up much higher to the Trail head than getting caught with all the traffic at spruce lake to Mohawk Trail Heads.

Crystal lakes gives you jeep roads, thru the forest, above tree line to the truly crystal clear lakes. Now I understand how they get their names. They are beautiful lakes. We went up to the second lake. Once at the first lake, take the trail to the right to go tot the second lake. Don’t be fooled by the trails you can see on your top left, it’s just a turn around.

Going up to the second lake took 46-51 minutes more. We had our 11 and 12 year old with us. There was one part up to the second lake where we slowed bc of elevation. But you’re soon there and it well worth it.

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