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Monarch Lake Loop Trail is a 4.2 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Granby, Colorado that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 4.2 mi Elevation gain 223 ft Route type Loop
Dogs on leash Cross country skiing Fishing Hiking Nature trips Snowshoeing Walking Bird watching Running Forest Lake River Views Waterfall Wild flowers Wildlife Muddy Snow
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Getting There

Please note: Gate may close seasonally, adding about two miles round trip to the route. The views of the mountains and rivers are breath taking especially early in the season around late May, with moose and other wildlife sightings in the area. The trail will take you along the edge of Monarch lake and into the woods were you will cross both Arapaho and Buchanan Creeks along with several runoff steams. This area is quite lovely but keep in mind that as this is a fairly easy trail there maybe a lot of traffic. The trail is made up of the Cascade Creek and Arapaho Pass Trails and its spurs, but all of the turns are well marked. It is always advisable to have a trail map of the area with you. If you are looking for fishing or a nice view to picnic the lake area and trail head are a great. Dogs are allowed on leash in the Arapaho National Forest, but check with the ranger station for any local restrictions. Remember to check in at the trail head. There are bathroom facilities as well at the trail head.

Parking just near the ranger station.

Sulphur Ranger District, 9 Ten Mile Drive, PO Box 10, Granby, CO 80446, Phone: 970-887-4100, Fax: 970-887-4111

Monarch Lake is in the Arapaho National Recreation Area (ANRA), six miles northwest of Granby on US Highway 34, nine miles east on County Road 6 (Forest Road 125, Arapaho Bay Road) at the southeast end of Lake Granby.

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Reviews (704)
Photos (713)
Recordings (472)
Completed (1228)
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Joann Johnson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 22, 2020
HikingClosed

This is one of our favorite dog-friendly trails in the area. Unfortunately we couldn’t do the loop as the trail was closed about 1.7 miles in (clockwise) due to downed trees from recent storms & wind. We enjoyed that shorter trek & were rewarded with seeing 2 moose - a bull & cow not too far apart - just off the trail in the creek. Plenty of parking & not too crowded. We enjoy the 9-mile dirt road drive & today the aspen were golden! I give this Trail 5 stars when the loop is open

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Annélise Bradshaw
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 19, 2020
HikingGreat!Rocky

I thoroughly enjoyed this first hike by myself in the mountains! I did the loop clockwise (on 9/6), which is the better way to go so the patg was smoother, wider, more shady towards the end. The aspect that determined I won't go back was the last 10 miles of driving to get to the trailhead. It was along a dirt road at the edge of the lake/reservoir with no guardrails--certainly a bumpy journey to get there and back again. The trail wasn't too crowded, and I had no problem finding parking. For those history buffs & Steampunk aficionados: there's a massive, abandoned stream engine/gear wheel/piston contraption just off the path. Totally cool and seemingly out of place, but likely linked to mining or logging.

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Chad Barrett
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 10, 2020
Hiking

We hiked the Cascade creek trail to crater lake on Monday and it was worth the 16mi hike. When we went back today for an easy hike we decided to start the Monarch lake loop trail clockwise, as of today 9/10 it was completely impassible about 1.7 miles in (or shortly after where the trail splits to go to cascade creek). Tons of trees down due to the recent storm, we passed several hikers who attempted the loop counterclockwise and said they could only make it about 0.5 miles before it became impassible due to downed trees. The biggest turn off on this hike was the fact that the trail was littered in horse poop from an excursion that must have been further ahead. Not just piles here or there but it had been tracked the whole trail. Monday’s hike was hard enough watching your step on the rocks, the added poop made it hard to look up and enjoy the views (unless you don’t care about poop shoes)...shout out to the red Dodge Ram with the red horse trailer with Georgia plates for the horse poop.

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Larry Maglicco
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 7, 2020
Hiking

best hike I've done in Colorado so far! loved it!

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Jeff Larson
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Hiking
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Victoria Obrien
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 6, 2020
Hiking

Nice easy trail. Great with the dogs. Lots of shade with some sunny areas. Great here early for parking or after 3pm on the weekends it was packed.

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Leanne Riker
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 6, 2020
FishingGreat!

Lots of shade! Nice easy hike but VERY busy over Labor Day weekend. Parking was complete chaos so come very early if you want to get closer than 1/2 a mile from the trailhead.

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Christal Klinger
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 5, 2020
Mountain bikingGreat!
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Kristen Genter
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 5, 2020
Hiking

Nice and easy trail! Got there around 7:45am, and there was parking still available. When we left though, there was barely anything and most parked on the side of the road (making it a one car road instead of traffic being able to flow both ways). Many people with masks, but unfortunately there were families without them to even simply pull up when passing. Trail is narrow in many spots so please have a mask with you! Lots of places to stop and enjoy the lake and streams! Looks like a ton of people were there to fish or paddle board/kayak/canoe. We saw some moose far off in the greenery (but it was hard to see them). Plenty of squirrels to throw stuff at you from trees. Even some chipmunks made some appearances! We passed one couple that saw some deer, but we never saw it. Super simple and easy. Next time I’ll probably run since there are very few rocky spots.

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Jon Weygandt
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Hiking
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Randy Cupps
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Hiking
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Irena S
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Hiking
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Stephanie Cafasso
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 30, 2020
Hiking

Beautiful hike! Probably one of the best hikes I’ve ever done. Such a beautiful view and we saw 2 moose!

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Katelyn Williamson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 30, 2020
Hiking

Gorgeous hike! Very easy to do Unfortunately most people on this trail did not have masks to cover their faces with when passing (on tight trails). But otherwise this was a great hike!

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Chuck Josey
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 26, 2020
Hiking

Easy to do over a small period of time and a little bit of uphill but still not much

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Alyssia Lopez
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Hiking
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Tyler Spafford
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 23, 2020
Hiking

Smokey today. Peaceful.

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Sheila Salmond
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 22, 2020
Hiking

loved it! saw momma moose and her calf. saw another on the way back, maybe have been same female. great spots to get off in the creek

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Helene Noonan
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 22, 2020
HikingGreat!

Not JUST A LAKE walk! This trail has such a lovely variety of terrain and beautiful views. We saw a coyote run across the path and finished with a beautiful moose! There are plenty of places to sit and enjoy the lake. It’s also a start point for many many hikes!!!

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Brooke Wurdack
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 20, 2020
HikingGreat!
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Jarrod Buckley
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 12, 2020
HikingGreat!

Great trail for families and dogs. Easy and scenic. Best thing is all the lake and creek access points. Of note, there is approximately a 10 mile drive on lightly paved and sometimes unpaved road to get to the trailhead.

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Alex Johnson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 10, 2020
Hiking

Beautiful trail! Started around 12:30pm on a Monday. Great trail for dogs, we brought our 9 month old puppy with. Trail is well marked and has a good amount of shade. Many small trails that lead down to the water, which makes for a beautiful view. Not too crowded at all. Suggest going counterclockwise! Side note, as previous comments state, make sure you stop at one of the ticket booths to get a $5 parking pass!

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Jennifer Chrystal
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarAugust 9, 2020
Hiking

Beautiful as always. Pretty crowded.

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Jason Zimmermann
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarAugust 9, 2020
Paddle sports

Went on a Wednesday to kayak and the parking lot was packed. The trail looked like it was busy as well. If we didn’t go to get on the water it might not have been so enjoyable. Scenery is excellent if you don’t mind the people.

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Stephanie Hartsel
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Hiking
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struts10 .
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 8, 2020
HikingGreat!

Pretty easy trail with flat, smooth terrain. The north side of the trail has a nice lake view and the south portion is all trees. We did see 4 elk in the lake on the Far East marshy portion of the route. This route is moderately trafficked and doable for any skill level.

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THOMAS Dixon
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 7, 2020
Hiking

Great! Moose!

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Kathryn Ferrell
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 6, 2020
Hiking

Beautiful, easy trail. Great for the dog as well! Nice spots along the trail to stop and take in the lake views. Be sure to stop at the beginning of the road that leads to this trail to purchase a $5 parking pass - it’s not very obvious and when we were leaving, over half the cars had tickets!

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David Price
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 5, 2020
Hiking

Highly recommended for families with small kids or as a warm-up trail. A little bit of up and down, but very manageable. Beautiful scenery with only a couple of downed trees. Not busy when we arrived at 8, but lots on the trail when we left at 11.

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