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Square Top Mountain is a 6.9 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Idaho Springs, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from July until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 6.9 miles Elevation Gain: 2,440 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

hiking

nature trips

skiing

snowshoeing

bird watching

running

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

over grown

rocky

scramble

no shade

4 months ago

I hiked square top this past Sunday. wind was okay until we got to the summit. There wasnt all that much snow. The hike is fairly steep, so be prepared. Much better than bierstadt.

hiking
icy
snow
4 months ago

A tougher hike than I anticipated, but very rewarding, with excellent views of a multitude of 14ers, both near and far.

hiking
snow
4 months ago

It was sunny, cold, and windy at the peak. It was very beautiful at the top with 360 views. It was hard workout to reach the top after the first lake, almost elevation gain of 1900 feet in 1.5 miles. The snow covered some of the trail, and that had added some difficulties. It was a winter hike for sure. Be prepared!

hiking
4 months ago

I hiked this trail on November 4...very challenging! Check out my video on YouTube: Nash Potatoes Outdoor Show.

hiking
5 months ago

completed 10-6, insane 360 views, absolutely no one on the summit. 14ers get the publicity but this one is a must. super windy be prepared. tough ascent hiking West ward into the wind but totally worth it.

hiking
5 months ago

This is an outstanding hike as long as you go past the summit cairn, west, until you reach the cliffs. Then it's extraordinary. Honestly, I would put this way above Bierstadt. Nothing to block views to south (Fairplay), can see down into Keystone, parts of the lake and all the way to Collegiate Peaks. Insane 270 degree views. But have to hike across to those cliffs. Way up is straight up from the lake. Almost no switchbacks, so be prepared. I have done this in the snow also and ice axe is must have. Trail goes close to right side cliffs and going left across the false summit is a steep slide if you get going. Square Top is basically Greys with no crowds. Highly recommend it.

hiking
5 months ago

Actually hiked this at the end of August just forgot to leave a review, but an extremely beautiful hike! Got to the trailhead around 6:30am and the Squaretop parking lot was less than a quarter full but the Bierstadt parking lot across the streets was packed and there were cars already lining the roads. The first half of the uphill between the TH and the lakes is pretty flat and easy and I didn’t see a single person until after I passed the lakes. After that point it gets VERY steep with only a few few flat spots. Only saw one other group that was ahead of me on the way up, but I passed them before the summit. Once you gain the final ridge it’s easy the rest of the way to the actual summit because it’s so flat. Beautiful views at the top of Grays & Torreys, Bierstadt & Evans, the South Park, and more distant mountains, but it was also pretty windy. Saw a lot more people on the way down, and especially past the lakes it got extremely crowded on the trail. Overall very fun and challenging hike, but the views are totally worth it !!

hiking
no shade
5 months ago

hiking
no shade
off trail
scramble
6 months ago

Literally not 6.9 miles - we have a Garmin inReach and it clocked us at 7.9/8 miles. Went super early & started the hike around 6:15am, sunrise was gorgeous over the 14ers facing the trail. The beginning of the hike is so easy that it’s almost misleading. Don’t be mistaken though, this hike can be difficult if you are not in “hiking” shape. A ton of vertical gain at about half of the hike in and the false summit makes you second guess your decision, but this hike is extremely rewarding once you get about 3/4 of the way up. Views are phenomenal!

hiking
6 months ago

This trail is rated accurately as hard! The wind was kicking our butt the entire time, but being in full sun the whole time helped. The trail is relatively mild to the lake and beyond that, get ready to get your heart pumping. It does have a false summit, so get ready for that! And it is very steep in places headed up. There were small areas of scrambling, but our pup could handle it! Don't know if we'd do it again, but would recommend if you want a challenge and spectacular views!

hiking
no shade
6 months ago

We (two retirees and a dog) arrived at the parking lot at 8:30 am on a Tuesday. There were two other cars ahead of us. Trail was as described. Starts out gently climbing up to the lower lake and then the fun begins. I knew the last mile would be hard, and it didn’t disappoint. The grade is very steep - over 50% in some spots. We walked slowly and made it to the summit in about 2-3/4 hours (the last mile took an hour). The first false summit is the hardest and then it flattens out on top. We were alone on the summit, and it was very windy and chilly but spectacular views, and we found a small wind shelter to eat lunch and then start down. Saw two other hikers who had summited as we were climbing, and then a few others on the way down who were hiking to the lakes. A totally different experience from the crowds on Bierstadt. Overall a great hike a I felt accomplished to have summited. I have climbed Bierstadt a few times and it is no more difficult than Square Top, and just a couple hundred feet taller.

hiking
no shade
rocky
6 months ago

I’d recommend this trail if you enjoy a challenge. First couple miles are great, the lake is nice as well! Last mile and a half or so was steep but worth the views. Went on a Sunday and started around 9:30a, not a too crowded! Separate parking lot for this trail, don’t park on road unless full. My 65lb Shepherd mix did this without terrain issue. Somewhat windy at top, so be prepared!

hiking
no shade
6 months ago

First mile and a half are very easy and flat then it gets very steep until you reach the peak. There is a false summit and then you walk along a ridge line for about 20 minutes until the actual summit. Took us about 4 hours to do the whole thing, including stops. Very strenuous hike but worth the views.

hiking
no shade
6 months ago

I love 13ers. No crowds, amazing terrain. This trail is great - very soft unlike the typical rocky CO trail. As others have noted, it IS a lung buster, especially about 2/3 of the way up. Enough that you'll question yourself on the way up, but will remember why at the top. Great lake to relax at on the way down. Make sure you have the PeakFinder app on your phone - Square Top is uniquely located with views of more peaks than I've ever seen from one summit. Also, note that the trailhead in the upper parking lot says Square Top Lakes. Don't take the interpretive trail. After passing the first lake there is another trail marker for Square Top Lakes, but no mention of the summit. However, there is an obvious trail to the left with a cairn and after a little bit you'll see a trail marker for Square Top Mt. and South Park. I don't typically use poles, but they are a good idea for this trail. Low temps, sustained winds at the top. Bring your gear.

hiking
rocky
6 months ago

There are two false summits and the last two miles are very steep but completely worth the views at the top. Not too rocky and the lakes were nice to look at and dip your feet in. The parking lot for Square Top is separate from the Mt Evans one.

hiking
6 months ago

No clouds, lots of wind and a moose. Couldn't have asked for a better day.

hiking
bugs
no shade
6 months ago

Highly recommend this trail, it definitely kicked my butt, but the views were well worth it. I started at around 6am & only saw two people on the way up and a couple groups on the way down. I think it’s a hidden gem. Also I ended up recording 8 total miles. Not a lot of shade so recommend starting early!

recorded Square Top Mountain

hiking
rocky
scramble
6 months ago

hiking
no shade
6 months ago

What a beautiful trail! A moose was seen on the trail early Labor Day the morning we hiked this. After the lakes the trail to the top becomes much steeper and tricky due to loose rocks. Poles are highly recommended. The views are stunning all around. We are flat landers from MO so slow and steady got us to the top. Bring plenty of water. We drank about 2.5 liters each.

hiking
6 months ago

Rewarding but very tough trail. There were some ponds near the bottom which was great for the dogs. Some very steep loose sections. Started getting busy as we finished up about 12:30 so reccomend an early start.

hiking
no shade
7 months ago

Started at 7, back to the car by 11. Trail ran some of the way.

hiking
no shade
7 months ago

Don’t let the crowds queued up for Bierstadt fool you—this mountain is relatively untraveled compared to its across-the-road neighbor. Even on a holiday weekend, we only saw two other people while at the summit. It has a pretty good view of Gray’s and Torrey’s, and the lakes below have a pretty turquoise hue once the sun comes overhead. We were lucky to not summit on a windy day, but having a jacket/hat/gloves for the top was still nice during summer conditions (the whole top ridge where things level out was considerably cooler). As others mention, this is a workout almost immediately after the lake, and the trail appears pretty faint in many parts without any cairns to lead the way—it’s much easier to see on the way down. Due to the steepness and the loose rock/dirt combination of the trail, I would also recommend having poles handy for the descent.

hiking
no shade
7 months ago

A definite lung buster but so glad I pushed myself to the top. Square top peak has the widest range of Rocky Mountain views I’ve seen from one spot, you can see tons of peaks in every direction except east (To the east is just mount beirstdat across the way, but it’s a beauty!) And the rest of the hike was gorgeous also. Definitely bring gloves and a windbreaker, maybe even a gaiter or balaclava to the top. Trekking poles were a must for me especially on the way back down, without them it would have been murder on my knees and increased my paranoia of slipping and falling down the steep path.

hiking
no shade
7 months ago

Gorgeous hike with great views from the top. Things were pretty cold at the top but that was to be expected. Only thing I'd have done differently was bring gloves. This one isn't the hardest hike in terms of the trail but it is an absolute lung-buster. Definitely look forward to exploring this area more.

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