Explore the most popular birding trails near Carbondale with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

12 days ago

Best money ever spent if you value your vehicle! Hire Smitty‘ Jeep tours to take you to the trail head and walk the three miles down to Crystal Mill. Also do it on a week day if all possible. All the atv and Jeep drivers I met were nice and slowed down. Beautiful waterfall on the hike to the lake and coming down to the town of Crystal.

Drove to this hike and it is now marked as on private property and there were gates blocking what looked like the intended parking lot. There are lots of no trespassing signs all over, so I don't even think parking up the road off the private property and hiking in would be a great idea.

Tons of wildflowers and great views.

1 month ago

Absolutely loved this hike. Fantastic views of surrounding 14er peaks (Capital, Maroon Bells, Pyramid). Our GPS showed this as a 13.4 mile hike with 4,600 feet of gain. We are both experienced hikers and in good shape, took us 3.5 hours up, and almost 3 back. The first 3.5 to 4 miles to the lakes is easy as you only gain around 1,600 feet during this portion. The next 3 miles will test you some. You take several switchbacks up above the lake to the side of Sopris peak. From there the next section is a steep 300 feet up and very rocky. Once up to the ridge the climb is stunning and the path is pretty easy to follow to the summit. You will go over a false summit and go along a second ridge to get to the true summit. While you can peer over ledges down thousands of feet, the trails are more than wide enough to not feel exposed. I am not a huge fan of exposure and had zero issues. Enjoy!!!!

Difficult but beautiful! They’ve moved the trailhead so now drive 2.7 miles from the Fire Station to three parking areas by the trailhead.

Great little hike up to the lakes. The trailhead is across the creek on the other side meadow, look for an old fence and sign. When you get near the lakes the trail cuts to the right and you may have to bushwhack a little to get to the lakes. On an exciting note we saw a bear across the far lake from us, which motivated us to cut our break short. Overall fun little hike.

1 month ago

Great hike, camped at site 11 near the lake. There was not water at either of the two stream crossings on the way up, so first opportunity to filter water was the lake.

1 month ago

This trail might be moderate to the avid hiker but is nothing less that difficult to most everybody else. Done from Anthracite to Dark Canyon it is mostly downhill but is very primitive in form for much of the trail. Bring shoes with good ankle support. There is also a lot of over hanging brush so plan on getting wet if it just rained or the dew point is high.

All that said though, this is one of the most beautiful untouched drainages in Colorado with a large waterfall, gorgeous meadows, and scattered aspen stands all with a classic Rocky Mountain backdrop.

Beautiful scenery but the trail is pretty primitive. Lots of overbrush, very rocky, and downright hard to find at times. That is hardly something to complain about though as it keeps the entire drainage devoid of people.

you need an experienced 4x4 driver. That got us to the town of crystal which is about 2miles away from the trailhead. We were in a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee. We were able to go get past crystal about .5miles up until the sharp steep switchback with a big boulder in the middle. The drive to crystal took about 2hr. We began to walk from that point it was very rocky and steep. It is made for vehicles and off road toys ie side by sides and four wheelers. You need a narrow frame and wheel base to make it up to the all the way to the trailhead. It gets tricky due to no signage. We made a wrong turn and realized we would run out of sunlight if we did the actual trail. There is a bridge that goes to the left and I believe the trailhead is about .6miles up from that point but we unfortunately did not make it. If you can get your vehicle up there it is absolutely beautiful we saw 4waterfalls,rapids, and stunning mountain views. If you decide to walk from the bottom you will have to be careful due to the amount of vehicles that take the trail and leave little room to step to the side in many places. If you walk from the bottom of the mountain by beaver lake it is about 13miles total. It will be steep and crowded with cars. I heard it was a beautiful view and will try and make it back one day now that I know what to expect.

steep uphill and downhill sections. I'd rate it closer to a difficult rather than moderate hike. Make it shorter and easier by hiking it out and back to panoramic view of area at alpine meadow.

7 months ago

All Trails needs to change the elevation gain on this hike as we ascended almost 1500 feet in a little over one and a half miles starting from the road ( about half of the trail one way). As of January 8, 2017, the trail has about a foot of snow on it with about half of it being packed down. Snowshoes would be helpful but are not really needed.

Would not recommend the effort is insane and nothing special at the end.

Did this -many times in 70s- 80s -90s don't get any better. Check out the little lake on top the gem-it has ice all year. I believe is Siberia lake. Nice to see young ones have the same taste- once stayed till ran out of supplies-(15 days)

Great trail! Once you pass the tree line be very careful! Especially coming down! Can be just tough footing. Defiantly recommend! Be conscious of the signs your body is telling you such as altitude sickness and shaky legs! Amazing view and wonderful challenge.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Loved this trail! Gorgeous wildflowers. We hiked from the Crested Butte side off Gothic Road. We did not make the loop because of lightning. The wildflowers were still spectacular on August 10.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Nice hike along the creek

Friday, August 04, 2017

We were in Redstone for a wedding and this trail was conveniently located right near the Redstone Inn where we were staying. I did some research on this trail beforehand and to get to the trail head it is very recommended that you have an SUV type vehicle. Getting from the main road to the trail head requires a drive up a two-track dirt/gravel trail that is used to access the trail head/water treatment plant. Once at the trail head it is very noticeable where the trail starts. We only hiked about a mile in the trail because we had to be back for the wedding later that day. But it's a very gorgeous trail, it opens up initially with some great views of the valley. After that you're mostly in wooded areas that have stream crossings along with waterfalls. Only going that mile in, we had a 500 ft. elevation increase so you're constantly going up. I would definitely want to come back and go further along the trail, including a hike in and camp.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Breathtaking!!! Kicked my butt BUT worth every struggling breath I took and 4 toenails I lost...time to hike the beauty again soon...can never get enough! ❤

Saturday, July 29, 2017

love this hike. This was third time for me, and second fort my daughter. Real challenge with nothing but beautiful sites.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Absolutely amazing! We hiked up to Geneva Lake from the trailhead the quick way. Camped out in spot number three with beautiful views of Snowmass Mountain. We hiked up to Little gem lake and that was well worth it. Even took a dip in the lake. Afterwards we headed out to complete the loop. Strenuous and 3 creek crossings, but I loved it.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Really beautiful hike. We hiked in four miles to enjoy both lakes, then back down. Highly recommend. Very dog friendly hike as well.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Nice trail with lots of shade. Views about 1.75m up. Steep sections. Spring about .6m up.
Not super exciting, but nice.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Great hike! The last mile at the top was rocky and tough. Started at 6:00 am and got to the summit in 4 hours. Lots of bikers, dogs and fellow hikers.

Monday, June 26, 2017

The snow has melted enough to make it to the top. Wear sunscreen

Friday, October 14, 2016

We never even made it to the trailhead. In the "getting there" section describing this hike, the road description of "a fairly difficult 4 wheel drive road with some steep drop offs" should be rewritten. It is NOWHERE near an easy place to get to. The road is badly rutted & uneven, rocks jutting everywhere, steep incline, teeth rattling, gut wrenching ride. Be forewarned. The hike may be terrific but getting there could potentially do damage to your vehicle.

Monday, August 08, 2016

Trail was very beautiful. But it is not a moderate hike. Forest service rates this as very difficult.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Access to trail head is poor. Have to hike up a utility road for about a mile. Trail itself was hard but incredible views of the canyon walls. Improve access road so more visitors can park at trailhead.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

awesome 4x4 driving up and down to the trail head, be prepared to take it slow. The trail itself offers amazing view of the Maroon Peaks and a waterfall. Once you arrive at the lake, hop on a rock and enjoy one of the best views in Colorado

Sunday, June 19, 2016

beautiful area. the wild flowers were amazing

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