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Homestead Meadows and Moose Meadows Loop

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Roosevelt National Forest

Homestead Meadows and Moose Meadows Loop is a 6.6 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Estes Park, Colorado that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.

Length 6.6 mi Elevation gain 915 ft Route type Out & Back

Dog friendly

Hiking

Horseback riding

Mountain biking

Nature trips

Walking

Bird watching

Forest

Views

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Historic site

Fee

Description
Waypoints (0)
Contact
Getting There

A hike that takes you back into history after a nice walk up a scenic gulch. The trail progresses in a westerly direction up a narrow and scenic gulch. There are several bridges and log crossings on this trail. The third bridge is about a mile from the trailhead after you go about 2.5 miles you will start to enter the meadows, where the trails follow old logging roads that are fairly level. There are eight homesteads in the area, four are to the South, two are in the vicinity of the main meadows and the other two are to the North and North East. The Irvin Homestead accessed by trail 1004 is worth the extra walk, there are some awesome views of the Mummy Range in that area. If you visit the homesteads that are located to the South you will traverse thru the remnants of the Big Elk Fire, which destroyed the Engert Homestead in 2002. The Laycook Homestead is about a mile South of the trail junction and sits at the head of a large meadow where Elk can be seen. There is a wonderful pamphlet available about the homesteads at the RMNP gift shop The cost of access to this area is $6; machine accepts credit cards. There are only two tiny streams for your pet to get a drink so take along extra water.

Canyon Lakes Ranger District (970)498-1375

Trailhead is located at mile marker 8 on CO Rt. 36 between Estes Park and Lyons. There are facilities available at the trailhead.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (104)
Photos (86)
Recordings (86)
Completed (175)
Cathie Leslie
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 30, 2020
Hiking

Great day hike. Weather was perfect (didn't start the downpour till we got back to the car). Interesting details at the homestead. Great wildflowers. Saw a rafter of wild turkeys as well. Will be back.

Weeb Cuck
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 29, 2020
HikingFee

Nice hike, but maybe a little on the boring side. Not much to see. Great exercise though and the 4-legger loved it.

LaShauna Quarles
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJuly 26, 2020
Fee

The parking lot was empty at 9am and there is a $9 fee to enter. We ended up walking over 8miles to the Irvin Homestead and back. There wasn’t much left of the Sawmill. The hike was easy but the distance made it a moderate hike for me. Great spot to hike if you want to be away from people.

View LaShauna's Recording
Mallory Perschke
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 10, 2020
Hiking

Pretty trail! No shade

View Mallory's Recording
Sarah Watson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 6, 2020
Hiking

This trail doesn’t have grand sweeping views but it is a nice workout, good trail that links up to forest service roads, with lots of wildflowers. I think Hermit Park is a nice alternative to RMNP, and much less crowded. Went on Sunday July 5th. While I saw a few people, it definitely didn’t seem packed and there was parking available at 11am.

Marisa Novobilski
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HikingMuddy
View Marisa's Recording
Amanda King
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 4, 2020
Hiking

$9 entrance fee and a nice drive up to the trailhead through Hermit Campgrounds. Clean bathrooms at the trailhead and a new path in the woods from what was here last year. Mostly wooded climb leads to a forest road that will lead to the Homesteads. We took the left fork of USFS 120 and were caught in a short sprinkling of rain and a bit of thunder while we hid under the trees near the bathhouse. That passed quickly and we took the short loop through a marshy area to the second homestead. With weather iffy, we didn't linger and headed back to the car. Spotted a young male moose coming off of Moose Meadows. He spotted us while waiting in a band of Aspen. We were able to skirt around him and continue without any drama. Beautiful fun hike with some nice views. The forest road is a bit of a slog but it improves fairly quickly.

View Amanda's Recording
Nicole Allen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 31, 2020
Hiking

Loved this trail! I wish I knew ahead of time that it was in Hermit Park and that I needed to pay for parking. It’s nine dollars for a day pass or you need a Larimer county parks pass. I started hiking with my husband and daughter, but about a mile and she started not feeling well and it was too hot for our dog. So they hung out in the shade while I continued on. When the road at the meadows splits I went to the left. It has the same number on both directions so I think it loops around? I did notice that there was a cabin over on the right side and I think it was called Brown’s according to other people I saw. I did not see that one as I just looked at the Irvin homestead area. It was really cool! I loved it!

View Nicole's Recording
Whitney Patton
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMay 9, 2020
FeeMuddy

I had a great time on this trail, my 8 year old made it 8.34 miles with no problem. She was a little bored, but I thoroughly enjoyed the trip back in time. If you're going on this trail, make sure that when the fork comes up in the meadow you go to the left to hit Irvin homestead first. (There are no other homesteads up the left side.) Definitely more to see here than the other homesteads. It is 3 miles to the meadow, but there are many more miles to go if you want to see all the homesteads. There are some areas where there is quite a bit of water over the trail, but if you step right you can keep your feet dry.

El Dusto
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 4, 2020
HikingFee

Great history trail. Only complaint is your on the forestry road a bit too much but otherwise awesome trails. If your a history person Irving Homestead is worth the miles. Brown Homestead is on the right fork going past the gate at the top of the hill, then we doubled back and continued to Irving.

Autumn Kirksey
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HikingFeeSnow

4/23 A great trail to bring your dog on! However, the trail is definitely still covered in snow at the moment. After about 3 miles in, the trail is difficult to do without snow shoes.

Kayla Drake
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 5, 2019
IcyMuddySnow

Great hike. It's currently a bit snowy and icy. I made it 2 miles before putting on my spikes. I probably would have been fine without them, but they made the step snowy climb easier. Aside from a group of ladies leaving Irvine Homestead as I was coming in, I did not see anyone else on the trail the whole time. It was pretty great being able to explore all the old cabins by myself. Totally worth the hike.

Summer Hambrick
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 15, 2019
Hiking

First, great trail. It does have a fairly steady incline but it’s not bad. The logging road (last part before the meadows) is definitely a leg burner as someone else said. It’s an old road so it is broad but it’s a 1/2 mile moderately steep incline. I believe the mileage is only to the first cabin. Apparently there are several but they are spaced out. The one other individual out there went on and when we saw him later said the next cabin was about a mile and a half more. So if you want lots of cabins make a day of it. Pretty cool history. We also entered thru Hermit Park.

Erin F
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 7, 2019
Hiking

Amazing views, easy terrain, mostly the paths are 2+ people wide. You enter at Hermit Park, it's $9 and totally worth it. There are several other trailheads all close by in case parking is full. Also lots of camp sites!

Aarika Thixton
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 28, 2019
Hiking

Plenty of enjoyable trails to allow for a nice meander through the homesteads. We did 10 miles in about 4 hours, and saw 5 homesteads. The aspens are just beginning to go yellow. It was a cool, foggy 45 degrees at departure at 9 am, but warmed up to a sunny 60 by 3pm

View Aarika's Recording
Mike R.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 28, 2019
Hiking

The trail map is outright wrong. There is no loop back to the trailhead via a "Homestead Meadows Trail", you will need to take the Moose Meadows trail back at that junction. Take a look at the recordings, mine included, and you will see many people went down that path and had to turn around. This means the trail is a little shy of 1 mile longer than advertised. edit 10/01: they fixed the trail map! cost of entrance is still wrong though, its $9

Andrea B
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 6, 2019
Hiking

I love this place! So much history, and natural beauty. I will be going back as there are many homesteads I was not able to visit. Takes a couple trips to explore the whole area. However, some of the trails are hidden by fallen trees or overgrowth. Take a good trail map to get through these tricky spots.

dansinnfoo x
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 24, 2019
Hiking

Yes! I really enjoyed this hike!! There is so much to say on this one... TOPIC 1- Trail map on All Trails. I am a Colorado native and don't know what happened to every trail during the flood, but my friend and I started to figure that the map was not correct to the trail (the GPS map on the app) because we were showing off the trail. But after researching, parts of the trail were fixed after the flood in 2013. It would be great to have an updated map so you know exactly where you were. One section is still closed- maybe the original trail that goes with this map? I don't know. The map on the sign at the beginning of the hike is different than the All Trails app... is this something All Trails can look into? It says there are streams and bridges and we encountered NONE of these. I think this is old info from the washed away trail! IMPORTANT INFO: Going in Hermit Park and paying the $9 entrance fee (it takes cc and cash) was the best thing we could've done. My friend and I arrived at 8:30am and there was one other car there! So awesome, as this season has been rife with other hikers and super early!! RESTROOMS: Awesome. Great condition. They smell like cinnamon! It is key to have a restroom, especially if you travel from far away and drink water all the way there. :) FREE DOG BAGS TOO! THE HIKE: The hike was flat, but had some inclines in some spots that were a burner. What a great workout! The meadows were gorgeous. I liked the foresty areas too, but for me, meadows are where they are at. The hike was consistent and not too much uphill for the doggies, but did have some in some spots! We clocked 7.2 miles somehow! THE HOMESTEADS- there are tons of homesteads in the area. Because we had small dogs, we only did the Brown Homestead. The map showed we were off the beaten path, but were very obviously on a trail. I'm still confused, but am attributing it to the floods. It says this trail can be accessed through Lion Gulch Trail (reopened now, yay!) but we paid the fee to go into Hermit Park.You can read more about the Homesteads here on the link to the US Forest Service site! https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/arp/recarea/?recid=36781 I love Hermit Park and love Krueger Rock too and highly recommend that hike too!

Nathan P.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 28, 2019
Hiking

Did this hike 6/27 in the morning. We saw two moose and the wildflowers were beautiful. The homestead sites were interesting and made a good destination. We took the loop to the Brown homestead as well. The Alltrails ap was very helpful as the area could be better marked. However, it does show two options of trail for the middle section and the eastern one is actually closed. Might be worth a stop in the ranger station on the way in to get a more detailed map to take with you. The staff there is very nice.

L Bugjo
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 11, 2019
Hiking

Adventurous trail looking for homesteaders items left behind. Seemed much more difficult than in previous years with more up/down elevation & crossing the creek multiple times (4-5 times) without a bridge. Steep incline to get to homestead sites. Seemed as though previous trail washed away & new trail was rerouted. Once at homestead sites, all good! Sad that some signs & relics seemed to be removed when being a historic site this is not ok :(

Julie Goode
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJune 9, 2017
Hiking

Beautiful! Some significant inclines throughout. There are only two tiny streams for your pet to get a drink so take along extra water. My GPS logged 7.5 miles, in and out, to the parking area. The old trail is closed for revegitation so you must take the new one that climbs over a small mountain. A lot of this trail is a roughly graveled access road, which is very hard on a dog's feet. There was moose, deer, cougar and bear sign when I hiked it in June. The cost of access to this area is $6; machine accepts credit cards.

Misty Schultz-McCoy
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarAugust 10, 2016
Hiking

Took the connector trail from Hermit Park Open Space. Explored several old homesteads and a sawmill. The best part of the outing was seeing the homestead ruins and getting a little history lesson along the way from the interpretive signs. Didn't see anyone else on the trail the entire time I was there. Hiked a total of 9.2 miles and could've gone a lot farther but had time constraints. The inclines were mild. In several areas, the trails were somewhat overgrown and not well maintained.

Crystal Falconer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 20, 2015
Camping

Perfect spot for a family hike and camp out in the wilderness. Can't wait to go back and hit the other trails in the area.

Diana Paxton
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 14, 2015
Walking

You can still reach this trail by going into Hermit Park Open Space, pay a $6 entry/daily fee and use the connector trail to Homestead Meadows. Hermit Park Open Space is dog-on-leash friendly and also has Kruger Rock trail there.

Bridget & Josh Yates
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJuly 23, 2015

Trail is closed! People are still attempting to hike back- very few can find and keep on the trail... Someone took down the caution tape and now people just go and attempt it.

Mike Langenkamp
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJune 1, 2014
Hiking

5/31/2014 - Lion Gulch Trailhead which leads to Homestead Meadows is closed due to the floods in 2013. There was trail work done this weekend but the middle section of the trail is still mostly destroyed.

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