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

Hiked this on Sat, 7/28. Very beautiful although wildflowers are significantly past peak.

off road driving
17 hours ago

I did this in a 2015 Jeep Wrangler Willy’s unlimited and had no issues. Beautiful at the top and there were also a lot of people up at the top.

Great way to avoid the crowds along the way. Fun scrambling on Kelso Ride. Much easier than the Dragon's Head on the Ten Mile Range. If things look too hard, back up and take another approach, most it it really isn't that bad. I took this down because I started early and missed the turn off in the dark. Going down wasn't too bad, you just end up glissading down some skree at the top and that's not my favorite thing in the world.

Strenuous incline for the first mile (you start at 10,400ft.). The hike flattens out in the middle with 2 meadows filled with wildflowers. It finishes with an incline for the last mile or so to the alpine lake at 12,000 ft. You can continue on for unobstructed mountain views and little to no crowds.

hiking
2 days ago

Great hiking trail. Prepare yourself for the elevation gain but it’s well with it. Pups loved it too!

Climbed Gray’s Peak today and didn’t continue on because the clouds rolled in. It was a tough hike but very clear trail.

my favorite trail. starts out pretty easy but the last mile is pretty difficult. stick through it to be rewarded at the top. awesome flowers and water along the way to the top. easy to get to right off the highway.

The hike was absolutely beautiful! There were a lot of wildflowers and the views at certain points were breathtaking. It was certainly not an easy hike {especially if you’re pregnant}, but definitely worth it! A lot of cute doggos adventuring, too! :)

Hands down one of the most fun climbs up a 14er! Definitely more climbing than hiking!

hiking
4 days ago

UPDATED: The hike from Echo Lake to Idaho Springs Reservoir was beautiful, and only moderately challenging. Rocky, rooty and some elevation. We hiked to Idaho Springs Reservoir to fly fish Chicago Creek as it enters, but there was not much access and the creek was very small, so not worth the hike. We did catch a few small trout in the actual reservoir while we were out there, but overall, we won't be heading that way to fish again. If you are going to fish the reservoir, I'd recommend a spin rod to go after fish farther out in the lake.

The road to the trailhead is definitely crazy - our 4x4 Pathfinder took it like a champ! But, you definitely need a 4x4 vehicle to get through.
We pulled into the lot at 5am on Wednesday and there were only a few cars at the top parking lot.

This was my first 14er and it was the hardest hike I’ve ever done in my life! Definitely worth it! We had our 7 year old with us... and it was pretty difficult for him. We all summited Grays and enjoyed the breathtaking views. We didn’t summit Torrey’s. One was enough for us.
We took a lot of breaks with our son - it took us about 6/7 hours to reach the summit. We made it back down to the parking lot in about 2 hours.

Beautiful trail - definitely spend some time by the lake if you can! I went in the afternoon on a weekday and it wasn't too busy.

hiking
5 days ago

Nice varied trail. Nice lake destination at the end. I arrived at 8am and there were only a few cars in the parking lot. I had the lake all to myself for a half hour, and then only 6 other people were there for the next half hour. On the way down I did pass 50 people hiking up. So maybe get there early because it is pretty peaceful. I wish people didn’t leave their dog poop bags all over the trails though. Just why????????

What an amazing hike! It’s a tough one for sure. The road is definitely scary, but we took it pretty slow. My Jeep Patriot did great. Got to the TH at 530am on a Wednesday morning still spots in the parking lot, not too busy on the trail, was perfect. Took 8 hours with a lot of breaks. Did Grays and Torreys, worth every second!

Beautiful not to difficult to hike up to the waterfall drive up on a 2015 Jeep Wrangler made it up fine

I arrived on a Monday evening around 6:30pm - there were 2 other cars by the trailhead, by 10pm the parking lot was about half full and when I headed out at 6:30am the next morning the lot only had a few spots left but there was still another 8-10 spots on the side of the road by the beginning of the trail. There are a few sporadically positioned camping spots by the trailhead with firepits - I counted 5 but there may be more. I highly recommend arriving the night before and sleeping in your car or camping as it takes the stress out of wondering whether there will be a place to park once you finally get up the dirt road. Plus you get to see some amazing stars and get to start your climb at whatever time you choose.

The road is as described by many others - rough. I have a 4x4 Jeep and found it tricky in places and slow going 5-10mph for most of the ride to avoid damaging my vehicle. I did see a Prius and several low clearance 2 wheels up at the trailhead which I would not advise unless you're in a rental or just don't care about wrecking your car (or inconveniencing others if you get stuck).

The hike is fun but challenging. I'm in my early 40s - active, above average fitness and live in Denver so not coming directly from sea-level and found it tough above 13k. There's a lot of rock and scree. The views are worth it. I did Torey's first by veering right where the trail splits and then Gray's - which seemed to be against most of the traffic so I'm glad I did. Overall it was busy (especially for a Tuesday morning) but not to the point where that affected the pace of my climb or my enjoyment of it - just plenty of people to say hello to.

Time wise I got up to the top of Torey's in 2-1/2 hours, it then takes about 45 mins to go down, traverse and summit Gray's. I took my time at the top of Gray's and came down fairly casually. I was back down at my vehicle in 5 hours 40 mins (8.6 miles, 3,107ft of elevation gain).

The weather was great - clear all morning. It was chilly at the top of Torey's so I was glad for a nano-puff and pair of lightweight gloves.

It's a fun, challenging hike - that will take your breath away in more ways than one.

Gorgeous area. If going on the weekend, get there early, parking lot does fill up, and area from echo lake to the Idaho Springs reservoir can get quite busy. Well shaded, good distance, pretty lakes, creek, and reservoir. Also dog friendly, expect to see a few. Highly recommend this hike!

hiking
6 days ago

a beautiful hike

Wonderful trail! Always busy, get there early..

hiking
6 days ago

I started this hike at 7:30 a.m. (second car in the otherwise empty parking lot) on a Monday and returned somewhere between 1:15-1:30 p.m. This hike was definitely challenging for me as a flatlander and I had to stop to take breaks quite often. I also spent quite a long time up at the lake *maybe 45 minutes or longer) and took another longer break during my return at the reservoir to soak my feet before making the final uphill climb. I think this hike is moderate for people who live at altitude and hike regularly, or who are otherwise very fit. If you're not much of a fitness enthusiast and don't workout very often, this is going to be a very challenging hike. If you're fit-ish to average on physical activity, this hike is challenging.

It really surprised me to see so many folks without adequate hydration and starting later. Do yourself a favor and start by 7:30 a.m. because there isn't much shade after you get passed 10:30 a.m. All of the regular rules apply: bring sunscreen and reapply once you're up at the lake, wear a hat and sunglasses, bring more water than you think necessary, and pack loads of snacks. I brought 64 ounces of water and drank about 3/4 of it. Didn't encounter too many bugs other than curious bees at the lake. The only wildlife I encountered were birds (saw an eagle at Echo Lake first thing) and chiding squirrels. Trail rules indicate dogs are required to be leashed but most were off-leash - doesn't bother me but it's something to consider if you don't like dogs.

Some additional navigation tips:
-Once you complete the initial descent and get closer to the water, look out for the primitive log bridge to cross
-Exiting the woods, take a left to follow the access road for about a mile; if you're early in the day, you'll pass the Idaho Springs Reservoir and see trout jumping out of the water to feed.
-Follow the access road past the cabins; the trailhead will be ahead on your right with a no-fee permit station. Fill out your permit and take the trail immediately in front of you, not the unmarked trial to your right.
-You'll pass a second sign indicating that you're entering the Mt. Evans Wilderness; don't worry, you're on the right trail.
-I tried finding the trail to the upper lake and was unsuccessful. I ended up following some of the unmarked trails that go around the lake and wound up in a boggy area just before the lake. Maybe avoid that and do more research on picking up the trail to the upper lake than I did.

To reiterate others' comments, the road is an absolute mess -- without a SUV, pickup, or Jeep, there's no way you'll be able to drive to the upper (summer) trailhead. We managed to get about half a mile in a Honda Civic before parking on the shoulder and walking the rest of the way (~2.5 miles). By 7:00 AM on a Sunday, the parking lot was completely full. Don't expect much solitude, especially on the weekend - at least a few hundred people summitted the same day we did.

All that said, the hike itself was a lot of fun, though certainly difficult even after a few days of acclimation at RMNP. I'd recommend doing Grays first, going down the saddle, and then heading up to Torreys. Grays is all steep switchbacks; from the saddle, Torreys is a short but very steep climb. We thought the views were slightly better from Grays. Despite being rained on, hailed on, and briefly snowed on (yes, in August), the trails themselves weren't difficult to follow. Definitely a good experience for our first 14ers!

First, the road: NEVER AGAIN! What an awful beast of a road. I think I have PTSD from driving those 3 miles from hell. (And yes, I was in a high-clearance 4x4 truck.)

Next, the trail: Just wonderful all around. Mostly moderate in difficulty but hard in some places. The trail up to Torreys is steep and a lung-buster. Hiking poles highly recommended for the descent.

hiking
7 days ago

It's past peak wildflower season, but there were still some pretty blooms up near the top. Please be mindful that this trail is quite steep and rocky for the first mile and the last mile, so if you're bringing dogs or kids, make sure they have proper footwear (yes-- PLEASE put shoes on your dogs to protect their paws!!). View from the trail just before you hit the lake is gorgeous. Go early to avoid the crowds, we arrived at the TH just after 8:00 AM and snagged one of the last parking spaces. It was windy and chilly up at Herman Lake so bring layers!

hiking
7 days ago

Went hiking on 8/11 and it was great! Got there early around 6:30 and their was plenty of parking. Definitely recommend getting there early to beat the crowds and have the lake and trails to yourself. Coming down it was starting to get overly crowded. Last half mile was a little tough but well worth the views.

This is definitely a very popular trailhead. Arrived at 445 am and the lower lot had cars parked, we found a spot on the road near the upper parking lot cause it was full. The road up was sketchy for sure. Highly recommend you use a 4 x 4. I have a 4Runner and made it no problem, but there was a Prius 2 people in front of us that got stuck a couple times. Be smart people! The trail itself was nice but crowded.

shoutout to Mike for giving us a ride up to the trailhead. TIL what altitude sickness is. View from the top is 11/10.

Great hike. The people that climb these peaks are so pleasant to be around. It's almost like a family thing. Awesome views from either peak.

hiking
8 days ago

Great hike! It took us about 4 hours, not including the 20 or so minutes we spend at the top. Great views and plenty of places where the dogs can drink water from streams and lakes.

on Hells Hole Trail

hiking
8 days ago

Once you get to the top, the view is great but other than that, eh, there are way prettier hikes in Colorado.

Don’t be scared off by the incline at the beginning. Great views throughout the entire trip, very wooded in some areas and not in others. We clocked about 7.5 miles round trip.

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