DISTANCE
6.8 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2076 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

birding

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

walking

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

snow

hiking
3 months ago

This is one of my favorite hikes in Colorado!!! It is rarely busy and offers a wide range of environments to trek through from forest, to boulder fields to tundra. In July the fields above tree line are covered in a wide variety of wild flowers, and there are giant patches of columbines.

The climb begins quickly. You'll accumulate a big chunck of elevation gain through the first 2 miles. The trail leads to an incredible view down the valley from a pretty exposed overlook. The next couple of miles are a more gradual uphill. It is a beautiful hike through boulder fields and forest with the sound of the stream ever present. The last third of the trip is the most grueling. It is a sustained climb to the lake.

In past years I have camped along the trail then tackled Square Top the next day.

Things to note - County Road 1038 is not well taken care of and has boulders that you will have to get over or around. There is almost always standing water a few inches thick somewhere on the road. I have seen a Prius make it to the trail head, but have been on trips where the driver of a Subaru didn't feel comfortable and parked two miles from the trial head. Be aware before you try and get there and don't be afraid to park before the road becomes brutal.

Also, the trail head isn't extremely well marked when you are heading up the road. I needed my GPS to make sure I was headed the right direction and find the trail. But, there is a very large boulder with a sign that guides you, it is just easier to see if you are looking back down the road toward the entrance from Geneva Road.

Bring bug spray or permethrin clothing. This trail is along a creek and bugs become unbearable without it. You may also want to make sure your hiking boots or shoes are waterproof. The trail has standing water sporadically and there aren't ways around the soupy parts. Lastly, once you get above tree line 7-foot-tall shrubs are grown right up along the trail and can feel like they are attacking you. Long sleeves offer a fair bit of protection.