Explore the most popular lake trails in Medicine Bow 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.

I hiked most of this trail in the summer of 2016 and found it to be a peaceful and leisurely walk most of the way. It was generally shady as we followed the stream, and there were wild raspberries along much of the trail. Quite a treat. It did get a bit warm when we had no shade, but that was only a small part of our hike.
I must have turned around before reaching the difficult part because I thought the hike was almost entirely easy.

Don't be fooled by the "hard" level. 95% of the trail is easy. The overlook of the lake is worth the trip, which you can hike to for the photo opp then turn around for an easy day hike. The color of the water from the lookout is worth The trip. You'll be amazed how blue looking the water is. No picture will do it justice. The "hard" portion is from the overlook down to the lake itself, which probably should be classified as "very damn hard". The trail is lightly traveled, so there is some downed trees in the trail, but you can easily get around them. We set up camp near the lookout and enjoyed an easy overnight trip. You should too.

We generally start at the trailhead just above Mirror Lake rather than by Lake Marie (which while beautiful, will take you alongside the road for a good stretch). You'll come upon a crossroads at the top before the trail ends, at which point one has the option to either a) turn around and return ("out and back"), b) go left to do the Medicine Bow Peak trail (leave plenty of extra time and have extra supplies!), or c) go right and continue on to end at Lewis Lake as the trail map here shows (at which point it's a good option to catch a ride there or walk the mile to the road to hitch back to the trailhead, rather than just go back the way you came). All are great options, if you have the time, supplies, and inclination...

hiking
7 months ago

Beware of this trail in the winter!!! The maps are incorrect, both online and at the trailhead. It says the trail is a 7mile loop, which is not true. After me and my partner hiked this peak we came to the conclusion that the switch backs into the valley must have been destroyed by a rock slide or something like that. Because of this we had to hike about 7 miles along the peak until we were able to scale down the boulder cliff face at the very north end of the valley to reach the valley ground before night fall. This trail is not fit for the snow and the trail markers are extremely confusing and scarce. I suggest hikers give yourself at least 4 more hours to explore than originally planned. Please be careful, we had a very frightening experience!

A lot of open spaces, we got hailed on for a majority of the way but a good, flat hike regardless

Love the snow range area!!!

hiking
8 months ago

I've hiked this trail twice and I've yet to be disappointed. ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! Highly recommended for anyone who loves a good challenge and view that pays off.

hiking
8 months ago

Hiked this on Sunday of Labor Day Weekend. We went counterclockwise on the loop, which we felt like was a good call since the way up was very steep and rocky and the way back down was a bit more gradual. There was a bit of a crowd at the summit of Medicine Bow Peak, but otherwise we saw few people. The views of the lakes surrounding the mountain are magnificent and make the difficult ascent well worth it. Be prepared for lots of boulder fields, but once you're on top of the mountain it levels off.

backpacking
8 months ago

I give this trail four stars because the views are stunning, BUT, be sure to pay attention to the trail markers and not confuse the old fence posts to the left of the summit post as the markers for the descent. My wife and I were backpacking, and there were also three day-hikers on the trail with us, who all thought the old fence posts were trail markers. Where this led us was a steep descent via scree fields down the peak and onto the ridge line. We got down to the ridge line right when a thunderstorm hit, turning the whole ridge line into slick rock. My wife and I, along with one of the dayhikers safely switchbacked down the mountain to the lakes on the north side. We ended up camping at Vanguard Lake and had a peaceful night after the stressful day. We are assuming the other two day hikers followed the post along the ridge down to the Gap Lakes where they then exited the park. Absolutely beautiful area, but can lead to danger if misguided or not prepared. Please, always, always carry maps!!

backpacking
8 months ago

This was a great hike for my family. It is well marked with wooden posts for trail markers. They take you all the way to the top. We hiked from the marie trailhead and it was a 5k to the top. It snowed for about 15min of our hike! awesome.

Beautiful and fantastic hike, hills are reasonable if you're used to the altitude. Can be challenging coming from low altitude, so be sure to take it slow

definitely worth the trip!

hiking
9 months ago

Hiked the loop clockwise on Friday, with my dog. Had it all to ourselves on the way up and at the top, though on the way down there were people. Great trail, great views. Loved it.

hiking
9 months ago

Awesome hike. But a lot of trees down on trail. But all in all it's a great hike some good fishing and places to tent camp if you wanted. Would definitely do it again

hiking
9 months ago

Great trail! Stunning views from high altitude. Great Wildflowers.

hiking
9 months ago

This hike completely changed my outlook on hiking. I used to dislike hiking, but the spectacular views, varied ecotomes, and general variety of scenery in this hike is absolutely amazing. It is rocky, which makes it a difficult hike, but completely worth it. There are some exposed sections, and hiking on snow is required (not for much of the hike, just about 20-50 yards).

Still, this is the best hike I have ever been on and has convinced me to go hiking a lot more often. Now, instead of looking for other activities to do while my family hikes, I actively look forward to hiking and go almost every weekend.

hiking
9 months ago

Great hike, spectacular scenery. A little snow at the top, but that's all. Be prepared for afternoon storms.

on Medicine Bow Trail

hiking
10 months ago

One of my all time favorite hikes! Did it this morning. The wildflowers are everywhere and gorgeous! There's still a little snow at the top but it's totally passable in hiking boots.

Was a bit hard to find the trailhead as there weren't any signs actually stating this was the Lakes Trail. There was no overnight parking in the picnic area, so we ended up squeezing into the next parking lot which meant we had to walk a paved path around Lake Marie to get to the actual trail. After we finally figured all of that out, the views were spectacular and the camping was great! There were still some snow fields and mud. Saw lots of day hikers walking around the muddy sections. Wear appropriate footwear and try to stay on trail! Lots of mosquitos too. Bring bug spray!

hiking
10 months ago

Did this hike July 3rd. There were still patches of snow throughout the trail and a couple slick spots but nothing extreme, hiking shoes were sufficient. Came up from the Lake Marie trailhead and the plan was to do the entire loop but it turned out to be much more difficult then I imagined. Once I got to the peak I was not 100% sure which way the trail went down on the other side and the snow on top of all the boulders seemed a little sketchy so I came back down the same way. It was an amazing hike though. I got to the trailhead around 10:30 and I would say it was a little too late if you want to avoid the afternoon thunderstorms and rainstorms. I got rained on a couple of times but nothing much. The ENTIRE hike was beautiful though! I would definitely recommend this hike.

hiking
10 months ago

Pretty easy hike for the first part of it, but once you hit the overlook of the lake it gets a bit tougher. Especially when you have to come back up! Beautiful hike though, plus the lake is a sight to see. Definitely a hike I'll do again!

hiking
10 months ago

Did this hike three weeks ago in snowshoes, absolutely stunning. My original plan was to complete the loop starting at the West Lake Marie trailhead. I parked there and climbed the snow covered hill (snow was mostly gone as of yesterday July 1). I hiked through the snow and paralleled the ridge until I was able to find a cairn. I followed the cairns across massive snowfields and boulders until I reached the top. It tried to take the short way back down, but was blocked by overhanging snow ledges. Instead of climbing back up then huge boulders again, i ended up traversing the back side of the mountain for several miles until I intersected the original trail again and made my way down. Lots of snow up there as of yesterday. I met several folks from the Sugerloaf side yesterday who planned to climb that way to the top.

trail running
10 months ago

Nice views. As the snow and ice melts late this summer, this will be a nice running trail (with forced stoppages for rock scrambles, stream crossings, and maybe a snowfield or two that might not melt). I parked at Libby Flats and ran the road into the trail for a nice warmup before the technical stuff). Go early though, the crowds were gathering on my way out.

hiking
10 months ago

allot of trees down across the trail. but worth the hike.

hiking
11 months ago

Great hike! Make sure to plan an entire day so you can enjoy it.

Monday, May 15, 2017

beautiful!

Monday, May 15, 2017

love this!

hiking
Friday, May 05, 2017

I went at the end of summer so thunderstorms were threatening us but it was absolutely stunning! The lakes were extremely refreshing!

hiking
Saturday, March 18, 2017

Absolutely loved this hike, my favorite so far. Was more challenging than we thought but was accomplished! Give yourself lots of time. Gorgeous views from the peak, and all along the trail.

hiking
Sunday, November 20, 2016

Great hike, good scenic views looking down on various glacier lakes. Pretty windy at the top but well worth it. This area looks like a scene from Lord of the Rings...

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