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Fish Creek to Long Lake Trail

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Mount Zirkel Wilderness

Fish Creek to Long Lake Trail is a 11.6 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Steamboat Springs, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, running, and nature trips and is best used from May until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 11.6 miles Elevation Gain: 2,522 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

nature trips

walking

running

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wildlife

muddy

rocky

scramble

fee

Note: $5 parking fee

hiking
2 days ago

My wife and I have done this trail several times over the past 20 years since we have been coming to Steamboat from the front range. It’s not be of our favorite hikes in the whole state, but the distance is always a huge question mark. It’s steep for the first 90 mins but it gets long after that to get to the lake and we have heard several people with watches and GPS day it’s longer than the 5.5 the Forest Service says on their maps. Regards, it’s worth the price of admission if your up for a full day of hiking. Bring river shoes to cross a creek and bug spray for the mosquitos, and plenty of energy bars and a lunch. Plan on 6 1/2 hrs. So you can enjoy!

hiking
2 days ago

Pretty epic trail..lots to see and admire, we went this past weekend of june 25th. My biggest complaint is that the distance is SO wrong bc my husband and i both had on fit bits and it said it was 16 miles which is a significant difference!!! There were a lot of treacherous obstacles so be prepared to be adventurous! The creek that you have to cross almost at the lake was raging from high snow melt and we had to cross on a fallen pine tree bc it was too high and swift. There also were fallen trees you have to cross and the mosquitoes were relentless! We even had bug spray and they seemed impervious to it! Pack a lot of snacks bc itll take you all day!! If you decide to push through its a great hike!

4 days ago

Absolutely beautiful, lush area up to a large lake with some kind of phone tower (?) and dirt road present. Several waterfalls, a few very impressive ones, present throughout the hike. Great views of Steamboat. You gain 2000 ft in the initial ~2 miles. The last mile has several downed trees, a few snow banks, and a somewhat challenging creek crossing -- we were thankful for poles.

hiking
bugs
muddy
5 days ago

Started at 8:30 ish. Steep all the way up to the falls. Then it flattens out and is pretty flat and easy to the lake. Last half mile or so there are a few snow patches to navigate, but hiking boots were just fine. On the way back, the stream crossing we originally used was inaccessible due to higher water but a few yards down the stream is a log that can be used to cross the water. Mosquitoes were bad though... definitely recommend bug spray if you choose to wear shorts.

hiking
bugs
6 days ago

hiking
bugs
fee
muddy
rocky
8 days ago

Got to the trailhead about 6am and was one of only 2 cars in the parking lot. The mosquitoes were worse than I’ve ever experienced. I opened the door to my car and had hundreds of them inside my car. They did not get any better on the hike, I probably got 100 bites which made an absolutely beautiful hike MUCH less pleasant. Was prepared for 12 miles but I clocked more than 2500 ft in elevation gain.

hiking
9 days ago

clear to long lake. snow/down trees last 1/2 mile or so. lake views worth the hike!

hiking
16 days ago

Minimal snow and water on the trail Going past the falls , until about 3.6 miles last to reach the meadow worth it. Not a Chaco sandals type of hike. Shorts would be fine , pants were good too.

running
16 days ago

The best trail ever seen, highly recommended to go all the way to the top of the mountain and have a healthy breakfast. The water is naturally pure.

hiking
snow
23 days ago

Great hike up to Long Lake! Getting to the falls was fairly easy. There was no snow at all and the trail was clear the entire way. The rest of the way up to Long Lake was quite snowy. It was strenuous walking through the melting snow. The lake itself is still mostly frozen, but it was a nice finish to the hike.

hiking
muddy
rocky
snow
25 days ago

We attempted this hike on 6/9/2020. The falls are impressive with heavy water flow. There are wildflowers all the way to the Upper falls which was very beautiful. The view from the "Scenic Rock" is very nice. However, about 1 mile beyond the upper falls, snow started to be heavy and the trail was difficult to follow. We were stubborn and kept going all the way until the Willows interest point (probably one mile short of Long Lake), but then turned around because of the snow. In snow boots and waders, and starting earlier in the day, we may have potentially made it but with our regular hiking boots, our feet were soaked! Still was a beautiful hike all the way, snow and all! Definitely a difficult rating because of length, elevation grade, and rockiness. Would love to try again later in the summer!

hiking
1 month ago

One of my favorite hikes! It’s long (pun intended) but so worth it. I do It every year, waiting for snow to melt a little so I can witness the upper falls just going at it!

hiking
snow
1 month ago

Hiked on 5/25/20. You can get about .4 past the upper falls before you hit snow, and it’s a lot of snow. Trail becomes impossible to follow, simply just following other people’s tracks in the snow. Turned around about 0.7 past the upper falls because I lost the tracks in the snow. Needs to melt more in my opinion. Great hike until the snow though.

hiking
muddy
rocky
snow
1 month ago

hiking
fee
7 months ago

Stunning: No. Pretty: Yes. Would do again? Meh, maybe. The best part is definitely the mixed forest. It’s beautiful. Hiked on 11/15/19 and it was solid, packed snow/ice all the way up. Definitely need crampons or at least Yak Tracks. Plenty of moose tracks.

8 months ago

We hiked this gorgeous trail on 10-5-19 with the aspens a golden color and the sky as blue as can be. Super fun trail but a very long hike :) The first 2 miles to the waterfall is difficult with 2/3 of the elevation. Then there is another almost mile up until flatness for several miles. Beautiful lake but super chilly with the wind. Our dog did get tired but did great as well. Highly recommend but as others have said, bring more water than anticipated. lots of sun and I cant imagine how hot it would get in the summer. We did have hiking poles which probably helped a lot with the decline. Walking through the meadows on the way to Long Lake was the most 'Colorado' experience ever! This took us almost 7 hours, but I stopped a ton for pictures and we took decent breaks at the waterfall and the lake.

hiking
9 months ago

Lovely hike, extremely crowded.

hiking
9 months ago

It was a great trail, hiked up to the bridge and ate lunch.

hiking
9 months ago

My friend and I did this hike on a Saturday and got a late start around 10:00 and hiked all the way out to Long Lake. It was longer than app estimated. 13.6 miles is what I tracked not 11.. we stopped a couple times, checked out the falls and had lunch at the lake before heading back. It was beautiful though and worth every step. Saw a moose in the meadows laying down on the way back. Amazing!!

hiking
9 months ago

So, background info, I'm not a hiker, don't exercise, and come from an elevation of zero. I think the hard rating is appropriate but don't really have the wherewithal to make a judgement. It took us 2 hours to get to the upper falls, with stops at the lower falls and bridge and to breathe. Took us another 4 to get to Long Lake, again with frequent stops for pictures and to recover. As many others have noted, the first half has the much steeper incline. Most of this part is through trees on a dusty path. Mild scramble. After the upper falls, there is completely different scenery. Some rocks and fields with minimal shade. The trail meanders along the creek, so there are innumerable views and other waterfall type sections. Then you spend the final few miles hiking at a mild incline through fields, with the water never far off. We were the only ones at Long Lake, and only passed 3 groups on their way down after the upper falls. Hiked on Labor Day. Took us 9 hours, and I legit could barely walk after! Worth every blister.

hiking
9 months ago

Just beautiful...from 2nd falls to Long Lake is totally different from 1st part. Keep eyes out for moose or bear...perfect location for them.

hiking
bugs
rocky
10 months ago

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