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

Length 10.3 mi Elevation gain 2,463 ft Route type Loop
Dogs on leash Hiking Nature trips Forest Lake River Views Wild flowers Wildlife Bugs Scramble Snow
Waypoints (16)
1
Gilpin & Gold Creek
40.78436, -106.7214037
2
Trailhead
40.7832079, -106.7229314
3
Gilpin & Mica Basin
40.7922707, -106.7018941
4
Mica Creek
40.7947862, -106.6988543
5
Gilpin Creek
40.8077623, -106.679989
6
Gilpin Lake
40.8023149, -106.6695548
7
Pass
40.7967784, -106.6696708
8
Stream
40.792227, -106.6666178
9
Gilpin & Gold Creek
40.7898105, -106.6632067
10
Stream
40.7888133, -106.6645177
11
Stream
40.7863577, -106.669186
12
Stream
40.7850636, -106.6758721
13
Wyoming Pass & Gold Creek
40.7843234, -106.6769457
14
Gold Creek Lake
40.7813159, -106.6804971
15
Bridge
40.7788409, -106.6943915
16
Falls
40.7775456, -106.6982258
Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (271)
Photos (684)
Recordings (166)
Completed (551)
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C Thom
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 5, 2020
Hiking

Hiked on Friday 10/2/2020. We went counterclockwise, mainly because the forest fire smoke and haze was really bad in the morning and we wanted to at least see one lake if we had to bail early in the hike (gold creek lake is a shorter hike than gilpin). I would not recommend doing this hike right now if you are sensitive to bad air quality. We were getting itchy eyes and sore throats, but at least we had masks to wear! Masks helped a lot! Thankfully the smoke started clearing up around noon. I’m really glad we did the whole loop- gilpin was amazing even in the haze, and we had some blue skies for the hike back down! I used Strava app to track, and it said we did 11.7 miles total.

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Mariah Maas
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 27, 2020

Beautiful hike! We got to the trail head just after 8 am and barely got a parking spot. Definitely recommend doing it counterclockwise as the views seemed to be even better. Lots of little stream crossings and the colors were great!

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Chelsea Ducote
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 26, 2020
Hiking

Beautiful hike. Went counterclockwise. Gorgeous in the fall.

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Lydia Ockert
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 23, 2020
HikingGreat!Private property

Amazing trail. We did it counterclockwise and that is definitely the way to go. No snow and the trees were all cleared!

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Shane Runquist
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 18, 2020
HikingGreat!Rocky

First, I love this site! On short notice, I found 2 great hikes for me around Steamboat Springs. Started about 7am Fri, 9/18. My GPS said 11mi for the loop. There was no snow (unlike a week ago, apparently), just tiny bit of mud, and the downed trees are all cleared from the trail now. I hiked/jogged it in 3h 30m. I didn't run as much as I wanted due to unhappy knees. I saw 1 hiker at the trailhead when I left and a camp just before the first lake. After that, not a soul for miles. (Probably not what you'd find on a weekend or before Labor Day.) Totally silent at the pass & Gilpin Lake except some birds & pika - magical. Also saw mule deer, marmots, all the squirrels ... the.usual crowd. Started seeing hikers coming up a couple miles below Gilpin Lake, and lots of people closer to the trailhead. Side note: I rolled my ankle badly on the way down where aspen leaves are covering the trail, hiding rocks. Went from a full run to dead stop. My Garmin watch immediately went into emergency contact mode! I had set that up months ago and forgot about it. Easy to cancel ... and no cell signal, so wouldn't have worked, anyway. But I love the feature!

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Lucas Melo
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 15, 2020
BackpackingGreat!

Definitely one of the most beautiful lakes I have ever seen. We decided to do it in two days, camping at night simple because of the amazing camp spots you can find around the trail. Very doable in one day and you get amazing views with lots of water. There were many fallen threes but it was good to see that the forest had many workers clearing them up. Just remember you cannot camp close to the two large lakes, you have to be 1 and 1/4 mile away from them and that is pretty well marked.

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Katie M.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 13, 2020
HikingMuddySnow

Beautiful views with the recent snow, however there were a ton of fallen trees that we were constantly climbing over/under or walking around which made the trek slow. Also, due to the recent snowfall, it was fairly wet throughout and really slushy/snowy near the lake and the saddle. Be prepared to get wet! I’d much rather hike this in the heat of the summer with a dry trail.

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Jon Bassett
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 7, 2020
HikingGreat!

Great underrated area of Colorado and would highly recommend as a day hike. As others have suggested, I would recommend a counterclockwise loop. The views as you come up on the pass from the South are breathtaking and then you will have us the hard parts behind you as you descend to Gilpin Lake. Beautiful hike through many types of environments (meadows, wetlands, alpine, forests, waterfalls and streams). Would love to come back in a few weeks to see the Aspens The road to the trailhead could be traversed by any car. Though a bit bumpy at the end.

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Lexie Zimmerman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 7, 2020
Hiking

The hard work is worth the views. The incline from Gold lake to Gilpin is tough but you are rewarded with amazing views!

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Vince Coleman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 7, 2020
Hiking

Nice day hike. Not an overnight worthy trip, unless you are planning for little or big agnes also.. The Garmin recorded the loop as 10.9 miles. Also, a counter clockwise loop is suggested. It’s known as the “Zirkel Circle”. The gold creek lake is a great snack point , and after descending into Gilpin area. I’ve hiked it about 4 times this summer already. Definitely a great hike in ROCO.

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Alyssa Basile
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 7, 2020
BackpackingGreat!

I am 29 weeks pregnant and did this as a 1 night backpacking trip this past Labor Day weekend. So I would say that if I can do it, so can you! We went counterclockwise. They say you cant sleep at the trailhead but clearly people do it, maybe in their cars? However, the road leading up to the TH has lots of free dispersed camping. Get to the trail early because by 11am on Sunday there were at least 50 cars parked miles down the road. Mother nature is starting to show signs of fall which is absolutely gorgeous. I bet in a few weeks the Aspens will be peaking. My only suggestion is that I wish more people had some sort of mask, as 90% of the people on the trail did not have any sort of mask and there are plenty of portions of this trail where you can not give 6 feet of distance.

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Christina Peters
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 6, 2020
Hiking

Awesome!

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Liz Taintor
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 2, 2020
Hiking
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Troy Krumland
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 23, 2020
Hiking
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Jon Bormann
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 22, 2020
Hiking

Great day hike. Beautiful lake up top and lush green trails (for Colorado). Recommend going up over the top and making a loop.

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Hannah Burns
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 19, 2020
Hiking

Definitely in the top ten best hikes I’ve ever done!

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Emily Harrell
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 17, 2020
Hiking

Beautiful, moderate hike. The view overlooking Gilpin Lake is fantastic. Trailhead was very busy so parking and getting on the trail early was key. Passed a number of folks on the trail which required stepping off the trail because of narrowness. Trail itself is well kept. If you are a strong hiker, you can do it in a day and don’t need to backpack it.

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Sara Gorevan
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 17, 2020

It is gorgeous and it is long. Definitely more like 13 mi than the listed 10 mi

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Emily M
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 16, 2020
Hiking

Excellent trail with a bit of everything-lakes, wildflowers, and views! We took a right at the fork to this in a counter clockwise direction. This way was less steep. We did this as a day hike and tracked it as close to 12 miles total. We were able to find parking around 8:30 am on a Sunday morning without any problem.

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John Michael
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 15, 2020
BackpackingGreat!Off trail

Completed this past weekend, first time planning to backpack it with our 10 year old pup. Wonderful views as always. Did the loop counter clockwise and planned to camp before the climb to Gilpin Lake, but we were feeling great and opted to do the whole loop. It’ll work you to do the full loop in a day with backpacking gear, but it’s doable. Closer to 11 miles on my recording. All trails map routes you away from a stream crossing to climb a log over faster water, just cross the stream.

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Francisco Castro Cara
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 10, 2020
Hiking
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Wesley Herring
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 10, 2020
HikingGreat!Off trailRocky

just did 2 nights this weekend. fantastic backpacking and lots of streams for your fury friends. Tip - go counter clock wise - gold creek then gilpen

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Celeste Paisley
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 9, 2020
HikingGreat!

Don’t do this trail, unless you love wildflowers, butterflies, alpine meadows, and gorgeous lakes! With that being said, it’s so crazy to me that not one review has mentioned that this hike clocks in closer to 13 miles not 10.5. Not surprising that we saw more backpackers than hikers.

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Mellie P
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 8, 2020
Hiking

Did the loop mid-week and was not disappointed. We camped near Gilpin and finished the loop the next day. Beautiful wilderness. Lots of running water and wildflowers everywhere.

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