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

One of the prettiest hikes I have done in the West. Like, epic.

1. Download the trail map before you go. There is one spot in particular where you have to cross the creek and it’s not at all evident via the trail. Using the map saved my butt.
2. Go counter-clockwise. You do not want to miss the view of Gilpin as you come over the pass. (And the approach to Gold Creek Lake is prettier too.)
3. Bring bug spray.
4. There was one creek crossing where I saw no other recourse but to get wet. The others were fine on logs/rocks. The first log was hella fun.
5. My GPS clocked this at 11.7 miles, FYI.

Gorgeous hike, we loved doing it in the counter clockwise direction for the drama of hiking down to Gilpin with a stunning mountain backdrop. Best hike in this area so far

12 days ago

Saw a black bear on trail 3 miles in from trailhead on 7/3/18

Beautiful hike! Only one stream you actually need to have water shoes for, the other have logs or rocks to cross with. I would recommend you going counterclockwise. you get a nice rest at Gold Creek Lake about a third of the way in, and all your uphill happens just before Lake Gilpin. If you go clockwise, the initial ascent is easier, but right after the lake you have a killer uphill before descending.
A couple snow fields present but clear trails and easily navigated. Beautiful scenery and rivers!
Took me and a friend 7 hours round trip, with about an hour and a half of breaks, both being out of shape! Totally do able.

Fairly short hike but challenging. The views on the top are spectacular!

15 days ago

Completed this hike for a second time in early June 2018. Got to the trailhead at 8 a.m. on a Monday and was the only car there. There was still some snow in shaded spots along the trail below treeline. We had to navagate around some snow above treeline, but it wasn't too bad, since at that point you're mainly scrambling. That view from the top across Steamboat Lake State Park past Sand Mountain is the best.

Epic hike! The few snow fields left are getting smaller and the trail was easy to follow. Loved all the flowers. A few steam crossings.

Great hike, take a right after crossing over the river via the log. 4 kids (6, 9, 11, 13) and myself all enjoyed it. Lots of skeeters at the lake so bring spray and long sleeves.

a wonderful trail and adventure!

Wow! Beautiful and rewarding hike. We were unsure if we'd make it reading other recent reviews about the snowfields. We started the loop on the Gold Creek side, and I don't think we'd have made it if we had started in the other direction. There wasn't much snow at all until we got to the second lake (Gilpin). We did lose the trail going around the lake for a little while, but we were able to pull up a map of which direction to head around the lake. We scooted a little bit down the snowfield, but it would have been not as much fun having to trek up that! We did the whole thing in Chaco's which actually worked great because there were several creek crossings. We only saw 3 other hikers the entire time. It felt like we had the entire place to ourselves. Definitely worth it -- gorgeous views, dynamic landscape. It took us almost 5 hours to hike the entire loop including stopping for lunch at GC Lake and spending some time figuring out how to navigate down the snowfield/getting a tad lost after that. It was 12 miles according to my watch.

26 days ago

6/16-6/17 Backpacked the loop clockwise, we lost the trail after the climb after Gilpin lake. It’s usually switchbacks, but was covered in snow. Stay left once you reach the top of that climb...we ended up walking in marsh and fallen trees for awhile before we were able to find the trail again, but we veered right a little...our mistake. But, we eventually made it! Also, bring water shoes for creek crossings. I think we were the only ones camping that night out, so it was very peaceful. One of my favorites by far!

We were on a fly fishing/hike to Gold Creek Lake so only did first part of counter-clockwise route. There were 2 stream crossings, one across a log bridge. The hike and lake are beautiful and moderately challenging for us...mostly a steady uphill to lake. We kept a nice pace to be able to enjoy the views but leave plenty of time to fish.

One of the best round these parts

Gorgeous 360 view at the top. Final stretch to summit challenging exposed loose rocks so be prepared for sun and unsteady footing. Accidentally parked prematurely, added ~1 mile to walk albeit beautiful. Biggest parking area is a basketball court-sized clearing after second split left in road--first area is ~3 spots with sign toward hahn peak trail. There is a third area at the trailhead but only 3 spots and jeep-trail quality road

1 month ago

Great hike with excellent views. Still a bit of snow on the trail in places. Took my two dogs and made it up in an hour, down in 45 minutes. Top is very exposed.

Awesome hike! We did it 6/2/18 and it was definitely difficult with all the snow but still worth it if you have GPS. There were ~4 river crossings, lots of postholing, and lots of sliding down snowfields. We went counterclockwise and getting to Gold Creek Lake was pretty easy. Then, there was a fairly wide river that we had to take off our shoes to cross (knee deep). After that, it was difficult to follow the trail due to the snow. Climbing up the pass was the most difficult part, again due to the snow, but the view from the top was amazing. We then slid down the snow and lost elevation quickly, using GPS on my phone (would have been very tricky without it). We crossed another wide river, and finally got down to
solid, dry ground again. Beautiful lower trail through Aspen trees and meadows. We saw in the guestbook on our way out that two people encountered a bear!

Great views from the top

2 months ago

This is a nice hike on soft ground. We only went 3.6 miles in for the sake of my 9 y.o. Swiss Mtn Dog, but enjoyed the forest and scenery. There are quite a few downed trees which could irritate mountain bikers, but that is better for us hikers, truthfully! The hike is in the shade most of the morning being on the north
side of the ridge which is great for dogs. However, carry enough water for both yourself and your canine friend, as water along the trail is very limited!

Absolutely my all time favorite hike. So beautiful. Stop at the clark store and get ice cream after ;) So tranquil.

off road driving
7 months ago

I was originaly Struck by Lightning while in the Womb on this Volcano in 1989 in July, 22nd I think?? My father died in the Lookout tower and My uncle Aunt and pregnant mother had to come down a different route which is now private.

However I attempted this trail in Aug 17, My first time back to the valcano, however due to incoming storm I did not go all the way to the top, will attempt again next year.

However this was an amazing trip and very rouged and rough, just like a like it. over the last 15 years or so the road has degraded and is more treacherous then it used to be, so make sure you have a lift, but nothing a jeep cant handle.

I want to note that in various spots we encountered frees bear deposits, so do be warned, if you are taking this in the summer and have your doors off on you jeep, might be a good idea to have a some self defence

8 months ago

Completed this trail over Labor Day weekend. There's a dirt road up to the trailhead that gets a little rough as you climbed. We have a CRV and stopped a little short of the trailhead, although we probably could have kept pushing to the top. The trail begin as a continuation of the dirt road you drive in on. Keep an eye out for the trail that will split off to the right after about a quarter mile or so. The trail winds through open forest and proves a healthy mix of sun and shade. The final hump to the summit offers a series of more obscured trails over varying grades of rock and gravel. Enjoy the lookout station from the top. 360 views abound. Entire journey lasted about 2.5 hours.

9 months ago

Beautiful hike. No spots of interest, creeks, or watering holes, just a beautiful forest hike. Make sure to bring plenty of water for your dogs though, I was hoping for a creek at some point but ended up giving half my water to my dogs.

9 months ago

Although the hike isn't as hard as I thought it would be, it is all up hill. An SUV or truck is recommended to drive to the trailhead.

Steep and rocky. Beautiful views.

beautiful hike! Beautiful view at the top!

We hiked this last weekend. The views are spectacular.

11 months ago

Great hike, a little busy, but spread out. Hiked it counter-clockwise to avoid traffic. Saw a few bears, views were great.

awesome view

11 months ago

Did my first solo backpacking trip here in late June. And went counter clockwise. I camped the first like above Gold Creek Lake in a nice meadow. I had had a late start so I took my time. There were three crossings on the way the south side of Gilpin Lake including a intimidating log crossing with all the runoff flowing fast and high beneath.

Day two I peaked the pass to Lake Gilpin. The last thousand vertical feet on both side was snow covered with no signs of a trail, but the trail map I had with topography gave me a pretty good idea where I was going. Once I peaked the view was amazing. Lake still partially frozen. The trail down was hard to see but once the snow gave way to rock underneath the lake it was back to the regular trail. One deep crossing below the lake and then a good hike back to the car.

11 months ago

We did this counter clockwise as a two day. Camped at gold creek lake. Wildflowers were beatiful, fish were biting like crazy at gold creek lake, water in gilpin lake was cold but refreshing after going up over the ridge with packs on, heard report of a bear on the gilpin trail but didn't see it.

A few things to note: the forest service sign at the trail head (or at the entrance to the national forest land) will say no campfires allowed, but the wilderness area sign said they were fine. Not sure which is right. You're also not supposed to camp within a quarter mile of either lake. The best campsites I saw otherwise were in the meadow between mile 6 and 7

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