Mount Zirkel Loop Trail

HARD 54 reviews

Mount Zirkel Loop Trail is a 10.3 mile loop trail located near Clark, Colorado that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is best used from June until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
10.3 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2,463 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

hiking

forest

views

wild flowers

snow

hiking
6 days ago

Do it counterclockwise, so you crest the ridge and get hit with the amazing view!!

hiking
10 days ago

Hiked on August 2. Spectacular scenery at the top. Counterclockwise is the way to do it, getting the hard 6 miles done before a long lunch break at Gilpin Lake. We really enjoyed the diversity of environments encountered on the way up. I used water shoes once on the way up and once just starting the way down. My husband with longer legs jumped rocks across without getting wet. The large log at Mile 2 was slippery and rounded enough that we wiggled across rather than walking. We clocked it at 10.7 miles. We took 7 1/2 hours and lots of photo stops. Great hike.

hiking
11 days ago

We loved this hike, which we did on July 31. The flowers, especially up near the pass, we’re gorgeous. We did it counterclockwise, based on previous reviews. Unlike others, we did not have to use water shoes to cross any streams. The one crossing some people may be referring to is very easily crossed on logs if you go up stream a few feet. The other stream crossing on the single log will get your heart beating, though. Although we had a map on our phone, we never needed it. It seemed to us that the trail was well-marked and easy to follow. We are so glad we did this hike. Highly recommended!

hiking
12 days ago

Absolutely amazing, like always. Fished at Gilpan lake and saw a whole bunch of brookies rising. Do it counter clockwise for the best views of both Gilpan and Gold Creek Lakes.

hiking
16 days ago

Absolutely stunning views! Best views in the Steamboat area. This hike was worth the 6 hours it took us to complete. We only stopped for about 10 minutes at the lake. Make sure you have enough water and pack a lunch. We did the loop counterclockwise and the first half of the trail was a very steep incline. We saw one small water snake by Gold Creek Lake. Like the app says, this is a hard trail but so incredibly worth it! Download the map. You will need it. We got off the trail a few times and had to look at the map

20 days ago

Quintessential Colorado hike! Has everything you need to impress out of town guests; absolutely great! Went counter clockwise (to gold creek lake first) which makes for some dramatic jaw dropping views that you likely wouldn’t get if you went the other way. Would definitely do this hike again as a backpacking trip so I could stay awhile!

hiking
22 days ago

I agree with everything Melissa Hartwig posted. I live in Steamboat Springs and this is one of the best and most beautiful day hikes in our area.
The TH is approximately 60 minutes from town, so plan accordingly, and arrive early to avoid afternoon thunderstorms. The hike may take up to 7 hours with breaks, etc.!

hiking
1 month ago

One of the prettiest hikes I have done in the West. Like, epic.

1. Download the trail map before you go. There is one spot in particular where you have to cross the creek and it’s not at all evident via the trail. Using the map saved my butt.
2. Go counter-clockwise. You do not want to miss the view of Gilpin as you come over the pass. (And the approach to Gold Creek Lake is prettier too.)
3. Bring bug spray.
4. There was one creek crossing where I saw no other recourse but to get wet. The others were fine on logs/rocks. The first log was hella fun.
5. My GPS clocked this at 11.7 miles, FYI.

1 month ago

Gorgeous hike, we loved doing it in the counter clockwise direction for the drama of hiking down to Gilpin with a stunning mountain backdrop. Best hike in this area so far

1 month ago

Beautiful hike! Only one stream you actually need to have water shoes for, the other have logs or rocks to cross with. I would recommend you going counterclockwise. you get a nice rest at Gold Creek Lake about a third of the way in, and all your uphill happens just before Lake Gilpin. If you go clockwise, the initial ascent is easier, but right after the lake you have a killer uphill before descending.
A couple snow fields present but clear trails and easily navigated. Beautiful scenery and rivers!
Took me and a friend 7 hours round trip, with about an hour and a half of breaks, both being out of shape! Totally do able.

1 month ago

Epic hike! The few snow fields left are getting smaller and the trail was easy to follow. Loved all the flowers. A few steam crossings.

hiking
1 month ago

a wonderful trail and adventure!

hiking
1 month ago

Wow! Beautiful and rewarding hike. We were unsure if we'd make it reading other recent reviews about the snowfields. We started the loop on the Gold Creek side, and I don't think we'd have made it if we had started in the other direction. There wasn't much snow at all until we got to the second lake (Gilpin). We did lose the trail going around the lake for a little while, but we were able to pull up a map of which direction to head around the lake. We scooted a little bit down the snowfield, but it would have been not as much fun having to trek up that! We did the whole thing in Chaco's which actually worked great because there were several creek crossings. We only saw 3 other hikers the entire time. It felt like we had the entire place to ourselves. Definitely worth it -- gorgeous views, dynamic landscape. It took us almost 5 hours to hike the entire loop including stopping for lunch at GC Lake and spending some time figuring out how to navigate down the snowfield/getting a tad lost after that. It was 12 miles according to my watch.

backpacking
1 month ago

6/16-6/17 Backpacked the loop clockwise, we lost the trail after the climb after Gilpin lake. It’s usually switchbacks, but was covered in snow. Stay left once you reach the top of that climb...we ended up walking in marsh and fallen trees for awhile before we were able to find the trail again, but we veered right a little...our mistake. But, we eventually made it! Also, bring water shoes for creek crossings. I think we were the only ones camping that night out, so it was very peaceful. One of my favorites by far!

1 month ago

We were on a fly fishing/hike to Gold Creek Lake so only did first part of counter-clockwise route. There were 2 stream crossings, one across a log bridge. The hike and lake are beautiful and moderately challenging for us...mostly a steady uphill to lake. We kept a nice pace to be able to enjoy the views but leave plenty of time to fish.

1 month ago

One of the best round these parts

hiking
2 months ago

Awesome hike! We did it 6/2/18 and it was definitely difficult with all the snow but still worth it if you have GPS. There were ~4 river crossings, lots of postholing, and lots of sliding down snowfields. We went counterclockwise and getting to Gold Creek Lake was pretty easy. Then, there was a fairly wide river that we had to take off our shoes to cross (knee deep). After that, it was difficult to follow the trail due to the snow. Climbing up the pass was the most difficult part, again due to the snow, but the view from the top was amazing. We then slid down the snow and lost elevation quickly, using GPS on my phone (would have been very tricky without it). We crossed another wide river, and finally got down to
solid, dry ground again. Beautiful lower trail through Aspen trees and meadows. We saw in the guestbook on our way out that two people encountered a bear!

3 months ago

Absolutely my all time favorite hike. So beautiful. Stop at the clark store and get ice cream after ;) So tranquil.

11 months ago

We hiked this last weekend. The views are spectacular.

hiking
Sunday, August 13, 2017

Great hike, a little busy, but spread out. Hiked it counter-clockwise to avoid traffic. Saw a few bears, views were great.

backpacking
Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Did my first solo backpacking trip here in late June. And went counter clockwise. I camped the first like above Gold Creek Lake in a nice meadow. I had had a late start so I took my time. There were three crossings on the way the south side of Gilpin Lake including a intimidating log crossing with all the runoff flowing fast and high beneath.

Day two I peaked the pass to Lake Gilpin. The last thousand vertical feet on both side was snow covered with no signs of a trail, but the trail map I had with topography gave me a pretty good idea where I was going. Once I peaked the view was amazing. Lake still partially frozen. The trail down was hard to see but once the snow gave way to rock underneath the lake it was back to the regular trail. One deep crossing below the lake and then a good hike back to the car.

backpacking
Friday, August 04, 2017

We did this counter clockwise as a two day. Camped at gold creek lake. Wildflowers were beatiful, fish were biting like crazy at gold creek lake, water in gilpin lake was cold but refreshing after going up over the ridge with packs on, heard report of a bear on the gilpin trail but didn't see it.

A few things to note: the forest service sign at the trail head (or at the entrance to the national forest land) will say no campfires allowed, but the wilderness area sign said they were fine. Not sure which is right. You're also not supposed to camp within a quarter mile of either lake. The best campsites I saw otherwise were in the meadow between mile 6 and 7

backpacking
Monday, July 24, 2017

Best views I've ever seen! We camped in a gorgeous valley and saw deer. The lakes were beautiful and icy cold. There was plenty of creek crossings with clear, cold water. The altitude change got to me though...

Saturday, July 15, 2017

This trail is beautiful. Make sure and go counter-clockwise at the loop toward Gold Lake first or you will be climbing up snowfields. Our GPS said 12 miles for the whole loop. It is about mile 4 to Gold Lake and then mile 7 clear to the top of the ridge above Gilpin Lake. Then it's all down hill for the last 5 miles.

hiking
Monday, July 10, 2017

Great hike, flowers, lush cover, beautiful rushing rivers (6 water crossings, bring your Teva's), snowfields amidst the majestic Mt. Zirkel. Wonderful. By the way, we did the entire loop trail from the northern side and our GPS said it was 12.5 miles not 10.3. You might want to update the mileage; it makes a difference.

hiking
Monday, July 10, 2017

We hiked from the Slavonia Trailhead and went clockwise on the loop. Lots of beautiful wildflowers along the path to start out the hike. All the vegetation was super lush and green throughout the whole hike. Too many stream crossings to count in all and easily crossable with the exception of the Gilpin Creek crossing and a stream crossing just before Gold Creek Lake. Both of those were too wide to cross so we had to take off boots and socks and wade across the freeeeezing cold water but the current was manageable. The incline up to Gilpin lake was easy the whole way. There was a bit of snow remaining just before Gilpin Lake but easy to get through. Gilpin Lake itself is magical and we had the place entirely to ourselves. The last incline and hike upwards from Gilpin Lake to the top of the pass was steep, tricky, and difficult with lots of snow cover making it slippery to traverse... walking stick would help here and definitely easier to zig zag up rather than try to go straight up and risk slipping down. Views from the pass were spectacular and then it was all downhill from there. Gold Creek Lake is beautiful and serene as well. You're following alongside the rushing waters almost all the way throughout the hike up and back down to the lush vegetation and wildflowers. Wonderful amazing hike!! One of the best we've done in Colorado for sure! Wubalubadubdub!!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The best hike near steamboat!! 2 lakes and great views❤️

hiking
3 days ago

4 days ago

hiking
23 days ago

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