South Arapahoe Peak via Arapahoe Glacier Trail

HARD 151 reviews
#15 of 139 trails in

South Arapahoe Peak via Arapahoe Glacier Trail is a 8.1 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Nederland, Colorado that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, 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

running

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

no shade

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).

hiking
muddy
rocky
scramble
snow
3 months ago

One of the best trails I've done in Colorado. Road in was quite long...maybe 4 or 5 miles on gravel...wouldn't take a low-riding car by any means. We got to the final parking lot early around 8 AM. There were a good amount of cars (maybe 15) but still got a parking spot without too much worry. The first stretch of the hike is through the trees and had a good amount of people every few minutes or so. There were several cascades along the way which made this part very enjoyable. After getting to the first sign, turn right towards Arapaho Pass, not the Diamond Lake Trail. After a while the trail will start to flatten out and you will be in sort of a valley with large mountains surrounding you. This part was honestly one of the prettiest parts of the hike. Just after turning right at the next intersection by the mining equipment, we saw two moose just chilling by the river!! After that we headed up to the peak. From here we only saw maybe 3 or 4 different hikers the rest of the way up and back. It appeared it just snowed the night before, but despite the little bit of snow, the temperatures were great throughout the trip. A little cold and windy at the top. Once we got to the point where we could see the glacier, we thought we were at the top. Turns out this was just the beginning of the excitement. Coming from the coast 2 days ago, the elevation was giving us some headaches around 12500 ft. We took it slow scrambling up to the top from there! The hike took us just over 7 hours, hiking at a decent pace but stopping for lunch and pictures a decent bit. Overall definitely recommend if you are looking for some adventure in Colorado.

hiking
muddy
off trail
rocky
washed out
3 months ago

First, the last 8 miles or so are on a unpaved, very rocky deeply pitted road where you can’t really drive over 10 mph or so. I am not exaggerating there were only pick up trucks / SUVs at the parking lot. If I didn’t have 4-wheel drive I think my car would’ve gotten stuck. Second, about 2/3 of the way the trail disappears and the terrain was muddy with deep brush cover, I could not find any semblance of a trail. When the trail is there it is well maintained and there several beautiful views. That said, due to the horrendous road and the complete absence of a trail, I will not be going back. There is also significant road work to repair what looks like rock slides on Boulder Canyon road. In all from Denver the drive took over an hour and a half.

hiking
muddy
no shade
rocky
scramble
3 months ago

What a hike! Loved this peak! We started late and thankfully the weather held out on us. Even though we saw some clouds turning stormy/rain life. You cannot beat the wildlife & views. The tundra is turning yellow & red and south Arapaho peak is this jagged little pill that rises out of it. Even got to see a few bull elk on the way down after hearing one bugle & then even a fox! There are a few muddy sections and you’re above treeline for a long time. The last part of it turns to a bit of steep class 2 rock scrambling and it’s very easy to lose the path since there seems to be multiple. We panicked & headed down instead of laterally when we first saw the storm and that doesn’t work. Stay close to the jagged part of the ridge & you’ll be good ... and not scaling crazy rocks.

hiking
muddy
rocky
scramble
3 months ago

What a hike! Loved this peak! We started late and thankfully the weather held out on us. Even though we saw some clouds turning stormy/rain life. You cannot beat the wildlife & views. The tundra is turning yellow & red and south Arapaho peak is this jagged little pill that rises out of it. Even got to see a few bull elk on the way down after hearing one bugle & then even a fox!

hiking
scramble
3 months ago

You can’t beat the views at the top of this peak! This was our first time in Colorado and at this high of elevation. It was pretty tough for us Upstate New Yorkers who are used to Adirondack hiking, but totally worth it!! Highly recommend.

hiking
muddy
rocky
scramble
4 months ago

The hike up to the pass through glacier trail wasn't too bad but the 40 mph gusts of wind to the face made it difficult to breathe at times once you get above the tree line. It kicked my butt and I definitely got jealous of those hopping and running along like it was nothing. Scramble was just from the pass to the peak. There's a few spots around the streams that got pretty muddy. Plenty of rocks within the trail but not overwhelming.

hiking
rocky
4 months ago

Trail was accessible and well maintained. Beautiful scenes of the tree tops with snow capped areas and plenty of run-off streams to trek through. Some areas are very rocky. Normal hiking shoes were fine. Wasn’t too time consuming. The entire trail took me roughly 4 hours. Just a heads up— you’ll be driving on a dirt road to get there. I’ve seen smaller 2WD cars on the way there, but wouldn’t recommend it. There’s an entrance to the 4th of July trail in the upper parking lot. You’ll want to take that to eventually access Arapahoe Pass. After ~3hrs into the hike, you’ll come to a fork where you can either access Arapahoe Pass or Glacier Pass. I haven’t been down Glacier Pass, only Arapahoe.

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
4 months ago

Total a** kicker but great accomplishment for someone only acclimated to Chicago elevation. Toward the top we could only go 10-20 paces before needing to catch our breaths again. We took our time and spent about 4-5 hours reaching the top. Great views. Hiked 9/3 and it was totally dry (aside from the streams) and snowless. For any other idiots like me who may underestimate this trail: - It’s ~entirely~ uphill (granted you are climbing a mountain) - Very rocky. But again it’s a mountain. - I don’t feel like there was much/any scrambling but a lot of others seem to think it applies so I’ll mirror that. - There’s no water source once you pass the stream and weird rusted iron structures. Fill your water pouches there. - Wear sunscreen. - The rocky areas are full of lemmings that yell at you but it’s fun and cute. One lazy marmot chilling on a boulder could not have cared less that we were there but I was excited to see him.

Fantastic hike with a scramble at the top. Surprised the trail was so wet at the mid part. Great day!!

hiking
5 months ago

One of my favorite trails I’ve done thus far in CO. This hike has everything! Good climb & some rock scrambling at the top. Would like to go back & camp at the trailhead, explore more of the area

hiking
muddy
scramble
5 months ago

Hiked 8/6 and the wildflowers are finally in full bloom! Trail is a bit muddy in spots, but generally in great condition. Love the views the entire way. With about an hour summit break, RT time was just over 5 hours. From the summit, it’s easy to get going right down a gully. Aim left heading down along the ridge and you’ll stay on somewhat better trail. One of my favorite 13ers - can’t wait to do it again!

hiking
5 months ago

Hiked 7/31 from 4th of July TH. Tons of wildflowers & marmots. Trail is free & clear except for a couple muddy areas (generally avoidable by rock-hopping). Feet stayed dry the entire time. Started on trail at 6:45am, summit at 9:30, stayed on summit for ~half an hour and back to the car at noon. Saw trail runner just before summit push that came from Rainbow Lakes, said the trail from there was free & clear as well. Great half-day hike!

hiking
5 months ago

One of my absolute favorite CO hikes, but it takes a while. Arrive very early or you will likely end up trying to beat weather down the mountain. Surprisingly trafficked despite the location and difficulty. In colder years snow can be a problem even in July.

hiking
5 months ago

This hiks is incredible! The IPW right now looks like it came straight out of the pages of a fairytale. Snow-capped peaks, waterfalls and wildflowers galore, the greenest tundra grass, glistening tarns, hummingbirds and marmots everywhere. And SO much water. I think I spent half my time walking in a creek. The final summit push is tough but worth the effort, and stellar views abound all along the trail. Free of snow, but muddy and very, very wet!

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