Arapaho Glacier Trail

MODERATE 35 reviews
#4 of 9 trails in

Arapaho Glacier Trail is a 12.5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Nederland, Colorado that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
12.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3661 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

birding

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

snow

hiking
7 hours ago

I did this trail on Sunday. The trail is beautiful! wild flowers, Trees, views of the Boulder Watershed and you can see the flat irons from the back side. It is a bit steep in spots but easily manageable. It did get chilly toward the top when the clouds came out so make sure to bring layers. We luckily got back down before the rain started. Highly recommend this hike, it is a great workout and its very beautiful!

hiking
1 day ago

Beautiful hike. It's wooded for the first 1.5-2 miles, and then alpine tundra for the remainder. It is strenuous and rocky, but a fairly steady grade. Amazing views of the Boulder Watershed, and to the South and East. Lots of small birds and marmots on the tundra. Beautiful red, green, and yellow grasses and lichen. It can get very windy at the higher elevation, I attempted this hike once before and turned back due to the weather. I recommend getting an early start.

hiking
3 days ago

Hiked this today, breaking off to do Old Baldy (13038), since we'd already done S Arapahoe a couple times. Good hike, great views, about 11.5 miles, 3200' vertical gain. Long, gentle slope. Windy on the ridge, but a v. nice hike.

Beautiful! Saw a massive herd of elk hanging out on the tundra. Only trail I've never seen another soul on whole hiking in Colorado!

hiking
22 days ago

hiking
24 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

The information here is largely accurate with the oversight of a few MAJOR points. Honestly, this is NOT a safe trail. The areas referred to as "waterfalls" are in fact, "washouts" and should be approached with extreme caution, particularly the washout near the outset of the trail when approaching from Rainbow (south). Next, the huge amount of exposed rock all along the narrow parts of the trail, often with very steep drops, pose risks for falling and injuries (or worse). Wind and weather (not to mention lightning strikes) have NOT been emphasized enough here to sober up a novice or tourist hiker into considering another trail choice. Although trail injury record keeping is dodgy, people actually do fall and injure themselves on this trail AND have to be evacuated. I love this site and think you do a great job but even the Forest Service has overlooked publishing the obvious hazards on this trail. Sure it's a stellar, awesome view and altitude hike for the strong with high mountain experience and immunity to risk. But it just isn't safe for most people expecting a moderate day hike. I rate it low because of the risks. Can't imagine it in snow and ice! Thank you and sorry but live to hike another trail friends.

1 month ago

1 month ago

this was a hard trail. don't be fooled. it was a steady uphill and then at mile 1 you start hitting a rocky trail. traversing the rocks were difficult. A trail runner wiped out right next to me. I twisted my ankle twice. it evens out around mile 5 and the views were spectacular! well worth the extra caution. Even today July 8th 2017 there was some snow to get through.

hiking
1 month ago

Camped and hiked this one in 2011. The views on a clear day are amazing! Once you get above tree line, the whole world opens up!!

1 month ago

My wife and Ihiked this on June 17, and unfortunately had to turn back about 3.5 miles in. There was enough snow and down trees to lose the trail, and it got extremely disorienting as we tried finding our way back a few hundred feet and then attempting to follow the trail. We decided to err on the side of caution and will return in late July or August, when the trail should be clear. If you're familiar with the trail or have a GPS you would have no problem, but wanted to provide this heads up to others like us who were new to this hiking area.

Also, a Rainbow Lakes campground manager let us know there are around 40 moose in this area, so caution should be taken. A young girl had narrowly missed a trampling at her campsite just a few days prior!

hiking
6 months ago

I love this trail! If you're looking to try out some higher elevation hikes, this one is pretty great. I've only ever hiked it about half way, which is roughly 6 miles round trip, but it's still substantial and offers beautiful views.

From the Rainbow Lakes Campground, the trail starts out easy/moderate, then as you go along the Boulder Watershed it levels out quite a bit for probably about a mile, give or take. It's a lovely walk through the woods. Then you'll hit some switchbacks and start gaining that elevation. The switchbacks end right as you break tree line, and the views are spectacular. From there if you go up and over that first little hill out to the switchback, you'll get a great view of the watershed, glacier, and Arapaho peaks. It's BEAUTIFUL. If you're looking to do only about half of the full 12-mile trail, this is a great turnaround point (it's actually a little less than half, but still a good stretch). I've taken it maybe a mile further, but was unfortunately turned around by the weather (actually, 2 of the 3 times I've hiked it, I've encountered bad weather, so use caution in the summer time once you break that tree line).

Otherwise, the wild flowers are on point in the spring/summer, it's never really busy, and Nederland is super close for a delicious post-hike beer at Very Nice. Oh and the dirt road leading to the trailhead is about 5 miles of extra rugged driving, so just make sure to take a proper vehicle.

6 months ago

I really enjoy going up here in the summer, gives a great vantage point.

9 months ago

10 months ago

11 months ago

Great hike, but the wind was brutal. When I got to the top I could only stay up there a few minutes I was so cold and not prepared to endure such strong winds. You're pretty exposed half the way up. The road up to Fourth of July trail head is a little bumpy. If you're in a car you'll just need to go slow. Parking is insane so be there early.

hiking
11 months ago

I hiked this on Sunday the 11th. Trail conditions were perfect, beautiful views, beautiful forest with a few trees starting to change color. My little dog and I got to within about 1 mile of the overlook, and the wind kicked up.. MY GOD, THE WIND!!! Steady blowing around 60mph, with gusts over 80mph.. my poor dog got blown over a few times, and I could hardly walk against the force, so we had to turn around. Awesome trail, though! I'd never hiked to the glacier from the Lakes, I've only climbed up from 4th of July.

hiking
11 months ago

11 months ago

11 months ago