Help keep our trails and parks open during COVID-19 by committing to social distancing. Some trails or park services may be closed this weekend so check with local authorities before heading out.
Learn more

M. Walter Pesman Trail is a 2.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Idaho Springs, Colorado that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from June until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 2.4 mi Elevation gain 656 ft Route type Out & Back

Dogs on leash

Kid friendly

Hiking

Nature trips

Bird watching

Forest

Views

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Rocky

Scramble

Description
Waypoints (0)

Note: Mount Evans Road (HWY 5) is closed for the 2020 season due to COVID-19. For more information, please see https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/arp/news-events/?cid=FSEPRD746971 This hike, also referred to as the Mount Goliath Trail, is a great wildflower hike through ancient bristlecone pine trees. There are two access points for this trail. The lower trailhead is located behind the nature center at the Mount Goliath Natural Area and goes up hill. The upper trailhead is located along Mt Evans Rd. at a parking pullout.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (60)
Photos (111)
Recordings (36)
Completed (103)
Travis DiTota
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJuly 5, 2020
HikingClosed

Road to my Evans is closed

Taylor Walker
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 14, 2019
Hiking

Really pretty view once you reach the top!

Litney Hick
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 30, 2019
Hiking

Started at the lower trailhead by the Nature Center. Despite a nearly full lot at the Nature Center, there were very few on the trail. Only met three others coming from the opposite direction. If starting at the lower trailhead, it may a tad difficult if you are not acclimated to higher elevation. We had to take a few breaks at the beginning. Amazing to walk through the bristlecone pine forest with ancient trees. Keep going and the trail opens up with amazing views to the East. Great hike!

Dan Serra
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 25, 2019
Hiking

Completed this trail on 9-25-19. For anyone who has not hiked at 12,000 feet....it can be challenging. The air is very thin. Take your time.

View Dan's Recording
Jess Thoennes
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 27, 2019
Hiking

Sweet Trail! Good for all ages and well maintained. Did it after my summit of Mt. Evans and it was a fun flush. Started from behind the nature center and it was so nice. Bring a camera b/c there are some wonderful scenes to capture in the nature preserve areas.

Janet S
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 17, 2019
Hiking

Awesome views and pictures are accurate. Gorgeous flowers , bumblebees and butterflies, moths. Some noise from my Evans rd and people that get out on the road to take pictures. Not the whole time at all, but you can hear them sometimes. We went really really slow bc we took pics and looked for animals. Saw birds, marmot, and lots of beautiful bees. The bristlecone are awesome to see too! Great short hike

View Janet 's Recording
Kat McMorries
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 7, 2019
Hiking

This is a really special hike. The twisted and ancient bristlecone pines are truly amazing. There are long views over rows and rows of blue mountains towards the east . And towards the west the full north to south run of snow capped (yes, still some snow!) peaks are breathtaking. Where else can you find so much geological and botanical age and glory?!

Kelly Leviker
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 31, 2019
Hiking

A really wonderful hike. The Bristlecone Pines are majestic for anyone into trees and the views are incredible. I wish the hike was a bit longer, but great for a short hike.

David Platt
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 28, 2019
Hiking

worthy stop for a short hike. enjoyed the unqiue landscape above the treeland with rocks, shrubs and plenty of wind

Carol Smith
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 21, 2019
Hiking

A short and easy hike, but one to be slowly savored. Saunter slowly and commune with the bristlecones. Nature = art, and this one is a masterpiece.

Melody Moore
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 2, 2018

Go before 2:00 when the storms start to come in. This was truly amazing. The bristlecone pine were just stunning and the views were incredible. You can even see Denver when you get above tree line! It was rocky but our 3 and 6 year old loved it and did great. We went sept 1 and were comfortable wearing a hoodie or long sleeved shirt. After this hike, drive up to the top of Mt. Evans on the highest paved road in North America! It closes after Labor Day. Dinner or lunch at the lodge was also nice with a great view of Echo lake (one of Colorado’s oldest lakes) if you can get the right table. :). They also have a campground at echo lake!

Eve V.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 10, 2018
Hiking

An absolutely stunning hike! The weather was nice and cool (we arrived at 8:30am) and we only encountered 1 other person as we ascended and 4 as we neared the trailhead on our way back to the car. The views were wonderful and we often found ourselves mesmerized by the view behind us as we hiked up. We did the loop at the top and had lovely views of the snow capped mountains. We used our trekking poles after reading reviews and were glad we did. It’s a bit rocky but beautiful. One of easily my top 3 hikes!

Candy jo Hammond
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 30, 2017
Hiking

This is not a loop, it is around 2.7 miles (total) up and back. It is a beautiful hike heading up over tree line, with wonderful pine scent and beautiful views. I hiked this backpacking my 2 year old which made it more difficult but overall not a difficult hike. Lots of rocks and roots on the path.

Jesse Pendergrast
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 11, 2017

Great hike for our family and dog. Perfect for the 8 and 10 year old kids.

Stephanie Minutillo
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 19, 2017
Hiking

Nice trail with beautiful views and a relatively easy incline. Pair with the Alpine Garden Loop near the summit to get panoramic views.

Nick Running
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJune 17, 2017

Too much snow and the hike itself should be classified as easy. Probably more suited for people from out of town.

jill jerrick
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 6, 2016

Beautiful views.

The Blue Bomber
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 22, 2016
Hiking

Quick easy hike. I arrived at 6:30 a.m. and finished the entire trail in an hour with not another soul to be seen, it was very serene. There are PARK FEES, so get there before normal operating hours to avoid paying a lot of money for such a short hike.

Jeffrey Neff
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 19, 2016
Hiking

This is a short, fun hike that takes you through varied terrain of bristlecone pines, wildflowers and rocks. It has great views of Chief Mtn & the foothills to the east and Mt Evans to the west. You get treated to great views of the Mt Evans area when you cross the high point of the hike at an elevation of about 12,200 ft. On a Monday morning in July at about 9:10am, parking at the lower trailhead was not a problem. By 11am, the parking area was crowded but people seem to come an go.

Mary Lunsford
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 24, 2015
Hiking

This trail is awesome. It's a good workout while not too difficult, and you reward is some of the best alpine views to be seen. You start off in an area filled with forest and wildflowers, followed by dramatic rock fields that require very light scrambling. Make sure to keep a look out for the marmots sunbathing and standing guard on the massive boulders! Make sure to dress so you're warm because wind is certainly a factor at this altitude.

Kathy M.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 6, 2015
Hiking

Starting at the Mount Goliath Nature Center my friend and I took the Pesman Trail. Although it was rocky with lots of roots, I considered it an easy trail. Using hiking poles were a plus. The sights and shapes of the Bristlecone trees were amazing. Meet very few hikers. We were fortunate enough to have several deer pointed out to us by another hiker, that we wouldn't have seen. Wasn't aware of the Alpine garden Loop and time didn't permit to take that trail. It was another beautiful Colorado experience.

Lindsay Mcmullen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 30, 2015
Hiking

It was chilly when my husband, daughter and I got to the top. We drove up Mt. Evans. There was a 10$ fee for a three day pass which was the minimum. That was an unexpected surprise. Another surprise was that the trail is in a national park. However when we go to the Alpine Loop trail it was beautiful! There were big rocks, fun for climbing but definitely a bit dangerous for lil ones. My 6 yr old is not the most athletic or daring. She is not used to climbing. She did a good job but about feel off at one point. :/ Just being clumsy and not cautious. So I dunno if I'd suggest it for younger than 6. The Alpine loop is short. Which was good for us as we are not native to Colorado. The elevation was causing a bit of issues, especially at first. We enjoyed the Alpine part of the trail. Wishing to have done the Pesman as well but we enjoyed taking the trail slow. Our 6 yr old enjoyed it and did well on the trail. Once we left we stopped at the other side of Pesman trail further down the Mountain. There was an exhibit and The Bristlecone Loop. We did that also as it was short. All in all we enjoyed the trail. I suggest it to those who are used to elevation. If not you may want to pack oxygen, water and something with electrolytes.

Andrey O
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 17, 2014
Hiking

I bet most people stop at this trail on their drive up Mt. Evans, but never actually walk the full length. My wife & I went in May - it was fairly warm at the lower trailhead, but got much colder and windier as we progressed to the upper elevations. There was still some snow on the ground, though the day temps were hovering around mid-50s. In other words, be prepared for all kinds of weather at this elevation. Speaking of elevation, the trail itself isn't difficult, but do not be fooled thinking it's going to be a walk in the park - we are pretty fit but being fresh off the plane from sea level, we had to take it really slow. There was a lot of of tree hugging (now I get the full meaning of 'mile-high') and many breaks to catch our breaths. The bristlecone pines, by the way, are some of the oldest trees in the world, some being 1500 years old! The ones in the Sierra Nevada are even older. The trail offers pretty amazing views to the east and, once you reach the upper trailhead, stunning views to the west as well. It takes you above the tree line, which is pretty awesome. We did see a bunch of wildflowers, though not as many as we hoped. No wildlife though (did see some bighorn at Summit Lake, but we had to drive there).

Marlys Hammond
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 11, 2012
Hiking
First to Review

I hiked the M. Walter Pesman Trail (2.5 miles total, which is an out-and-back with a couple of short loops), which includes the Alpine garden loop at the end (0.1 mile). I'm a very novice hiker at best, right now averaging 3-5 miles on "moderate" trails. One book called this trail easy, one trail called this moderate, and the sign at the visitor center/trailhead said moderate to difficult. I went for it, thinking, "How hard can it be?" Well, the short trail goes from about 11,500 feet to 12,200 feet, and one should not underestimate the effect of the altitude. Although it took me 2 hours to reach the summit (and one hour to get back), it was well worth it. The hike starts below timberline and crosses into timberline, with a fair amount of moderately steep climbing (thank goodness for hiking poles!). I stopped frequently to catch my breath and take in the views. It was nice and cool and I even got sleeted on at one point. The views were spectacular, and there were patches of aspen in the distance that had turned orange and yellow. I was a little bit disappointed at the lack of wildlife that I saw (no marmots or bighorn sheep), but the environment and views more than made up for that. Very, very nice hike.

Ryan Hawkes
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 29, 2019
Hiking
View Ryan's Recording
Jolly Raleigh
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 25, 2019
Hiking
View Jolly's Recording
Julie Hamilton
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 7, 2019
Hiking
View Julie's Recording
Nichole Nemmers
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 2, 2019
Hiking
Jan Denny
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 1, 2019
Hiking
View Jan's Recording
Liz Hausher
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 24, 2019
Hiking
View Liz's Recording
Showing results 1 - 30 of 60