South Arapahoe Peak via Arapahoe Glacier Trail

MODERATE 73 reviews
#17 of 112 trails in

South Arapahoe Peak via Arapahoe Glacier Trail is a 8.1 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Nederland, Colorado that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, trail running, and nature trips and is best used from July until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
8.1 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3,231 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

snow

Directions from Eldora: Travel west on CR #130 and northwest on CR#111 to the 4th of July/Buckingham Park Campground. Hiking alternatives include Diamond Lake Trail from Hessie, Arapaho Glacier Trail from Rainbow Lakes, and Arapaho Pass from Monarch Lake (Hot Sulfur District).

11 days ago

Super busy on a summer weekend, but otherwise fun! Last ~600ft of gain is solid class 2 scrambling. Added on Old Baldy next door (~13,030 feet, class 1, added maybe 7/10 mile to overall trip) and had pretty nice views of the Arapaho traverse as a whole.

19 days ago

Gorgeous hike but this seems to be a popular tourist destination so if you're looking to blaze through a challenging hike while catching some scenery on the way this is not the one. Way too many people in big groups to pass on narrow forest trail leading to the alpine.

hiking
1 month ago

Super crowded and 4 mile dirt road that’s not great for low clearance cars!!! But absolutely the best wildflowers I’ve ever seen in Colorado!!! Make sure to wear hiking boots you can get wet, lots of creek crossings and a few marshy areas before you reach the alpine switchbacks!

hiking
1 month ago

Amazing trail, hands down. A few things to point out: 4th of July road is fine for most vehicles - just take it slow; get to the trailhead as early as possible, we got there at 8am and lot was full, but had a short walk from parking on the side of the road; once you make the turn to hop on glacier trail, crossing the bog is easy, just stay to the right of it as you cross and look for rocks to hop on. Thousands of wildflowers and the Columbines were out of control. Views are plenty in all directions and are out of this world. The scramble to the peak was, we thought, challenging - not much of a trail to follow up, but made it up. Will most certainly be back.

1 month ago

this has been one of my favorite hikes to date! Went on 4th of July ( had hike the Fourth of July Trailhead on that day!). lots of other people had the same idea, but the crowd got thinner as we got higher ( most people were headed in the other direction to Diamond Lake) . Tons of gorgeous wildflowers on the way up Arapaho Pass Trail. Beautiful views in every direction! By the time we got to the summit of South Arapaho Peak, we were the only ones up there! Once we hit the rock scramble at the top, we kind of had a hard time finding the actual trail, but we figured it out. I took a friend of mine and this was her first 13er. She loved it! There is kind of a gross boggy marsh you have to walk through to start the ascent, but overall it was no big deal. I'll definitely be going back soon to hike the entire Arapaho Pass Trail.

hiking
1 month ago

Tons of wildflowers - swaths of columbines like I've never seen before. Amazing views once out of the trees.
No trouble parking at 6am, but it was a mad house leaving at 1230. Should be able to stay dry crossing the creeks and boggy areas of you choose your path wisely. That last push is no joke, but there are two nice windbreaks on the summit. Had it to myself the whole time I was up there but passed many people on their way up as I was descending.

hiking
1 month ago

My first 13'er. Took less than 4.5 hours to get from car to glacier and back. Wonderful and beautiful. Some parts can be muddy from runoff but trails are generally good. bring lots of water.

hiking
1 month ago

I did this hike from rainbow lakes TH. Absolutely gorgeous. Very few patches of snow on the trail but doable without micro-spikes. It was 13miles and 3400' elevation gain.

hiking
2 months ago

Awesome hike. Many flowers on the side of the trail and superb views. When you reach the Arapaho Glacier trail from the Arapaho pass trail there will be lots of snow/water/mud for about 500m. After that it's all dry. I didn't make it to the peak as it was too much of a scramble for me, but the views from the ridge are stunning.

I lots the trail on my way down in the snow covered section, I was happy to have downloaded the Alltrails map...

hiking
2 months ago

Completed this hike on Saturday 6/2 and had an amazing time. Got a little off trail right at the beginning bc we were following tracks through the snow. If you end up deep in the woods and come across a bridge, you’ve gone the wrong way. Luckily the All Trails map worked offline and got us back on track. A bit of slipping on the snow but we didn’t need snow shoes or spikes. The peak is south facing so almost everything in the rocks was clear. Saw maybe 10 other people that summited that day. Views were incredible. Elevation gains were noteworthy but definitely day-hike doable. Would highly recommend this hike to folks looking for a more chill summit than a front range 14er. Recommend getting to the trailhead early as the Fourth Of July TH lot fills up fast. With our detour, we ended up hiking 10 miles and it took us 9 hours. Will definitely be doing this one again.

hiking
8 months ago

Bring your micro spikes, it can get slick in winter.

hiking
11 months ago

Tougher than a moderate hike, but still awesome. Quite a bit of false routes on the final scramble to the top, so keep your eyes peeled for cairns.

View from the top is worth it!

hiking
11 months ago

Wonderful views! Made it up as far as the rock scramble...at 65 too old for that! I also thought it harder than a moderate hike but I'm sure that has a lot to do with my age! The young folks we saw on the trail didn't seem to be having any problem. Rockier and wetter than I thought it would be. Glad my hiking boots were waterproof. Saw the mama and baby moose cross the road as we were driving in and marmots at the top.

hiking
Friday, August 11, 2017

Stunning wildflowers in early August and very few people on the trail once you make the turn at the 4th of July mine. Had the summit all to myself. Incredible views all around!

hiking
Friday, August 04, 2017

The views are great the whole time, the trail is wonderful and the marmots are everywhere.

hiking
Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Beautiful Trail. I did this a little later in the day. The views up and down valley were great, with plenty of gaps in the trees to take in the scenery. Tree cover on the lower portion of the hike is moderate to heavy, with some slippery/muddy spots under the heavier tree cover. There are plenty of gaps in the trees to take in the scenery. Tree cover thins out as you ascend, with very little cover at 4th of July Mine, which is the cutoff from the main trail to go up to South Arapahoe Peak and the Arapahoe Glacier Overlook. Bring sunscreen! The only major obstacle on the way up to the mine is a water crossing on a break in what is effectively a waterfall. Water flow at this crossing is always swift, but during lower late season flow some stepping stones stick out of the water. However, after rain or during snowmelt the water level can rise significantly.

Please note that it is another 1,500 ft climb over 2 miles from the mine to the overlook over steep exposed terrain. If you've reached the mine and are already pretty tired, or a few clouds are starting to roll in, consider saving the glacial overlook for another trip. It cannot be emphasized enough how quickly weather can change back here - clouds and thunderstorms will literally appear out of nowhere as air rises over the continental divide.

About 4th of July Road: It appears that they've taken a grader to the lower section of the road since this spring, removing many of the washboards and potholes on the lower section. Don't let this fool you however, the road is still a little rough, especially as you get higher in elevation. Do not bring your sports car up, there are a few small sections where you need some clearance. Restrooms are at the bottom of 4th of July Road and up at the trail head. There is no parking allowed along 4th of July Road until you reach the trail head - it's all private property.

hiking
Monday, July 10, 2017

Wildflowers are out! Gorgeous day-hike with a nice trail gradient until the final push- there is about .75 mile steep boulder field until the summit. The views are worth the scramble. Got to the trailhead at 8am and it was already packed - get there super early to beat the crowds and the rain on the weekends.

hiking
Sunday, July 09, 2017

Great hike with variable features. Rock hops, waterfalls, streams and great views. Got to the trail head at 7:30AM Sat morning and already lots of people. Get there early if you are doing a weekend hike and as previous reviews state, an AWD with some ground clearance will make the drive to the trail head a little less stressful. Wildflowers are in bloom, enjoy!

hiking
Thursday, July 06, 2017

oh my gosh. what an amazing hike! started early at 6am, drove all the way to the trailhead which btw, the road there is pretty rough. 2wd cars can make it i guess but not without some scraping, good clearance is recommended. the ascent took about 6 hours with lots of breaks as it was my first 13er, views from the summit are absolutely incredible and worth the struggle to the top. descent took about 3 hours and i really wish i had trekking poles, lots of loose rock and skree all over the trail. lots of wildflowers, marmots, sunshine, and running water too. love love loved this hike.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Most rewarding hike I've done in the Indian peaks. Little snow left at the top of the tree line but nothing too bad. If you make it up to the glacier. Go ahead and scramble up to the top of south arapaho. Full 360 from the summit

hiking
Monday, August 15, 2016

AWESOME hike. A lot of great views and a great workout. It was VERY busy by 8am due to volunteer projects - definitely going to go back on a day without an event because it's a place to explore. The trail system is awesome - plenty of places to go and trails that connect with more trails. Parking is limited and there ARE restrooms.

BE WARNED OF THE ROAD TO THE 4TH OF JULY TRAILHEAD. It is a rocky (and I mean ROCKY) dirt road that looks privately (aka not really) maintained. Take it SLOW, especially if you don't have a 4x4 or AWD vehicle. We were able to make it up in a Sentra (not without scraping a little), going SLOW...but my brother's Audi...not so much...Needed to go back to Ned to get a tow truck.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Great hike. We were able to reach the top of South Arapaho Peak. Awesome view!

hiking
Sunday, July 10, 2016

Epic day in mid July with wildflowers galore. Do the scramble to the top of the S Arapaho Peak - it's worth it.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Beautiful day in October , got to summit early and back down before the afternoon rain

hiking
12 days ago

13 days ago

Load More