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

hiking
17 hours ago

Wonderful hiking and camping.

Went up on July 3rd-5th, 2018 and expected it to be packed but was relatively empty. Only 6 other cars in the Falls Creek Trailhead lot, which holds about 40. Might have been the mid-week holiday, I hear it can get busier. Trail road was a long, 8.2-mile ride, but in good condition even for a 2WD. No trash cans at the trailhead, but bathrooms available.

Hike to the lake is a good one, plenty of wildlife. Porcupine, quail, marmot, elk, and more. Some nice views on the way in.

Camping around the lake is easy, dozens of used campsites. The best are towards the south-west side of the lake, but plenty to choose from. As you go around this way, the trail deviates and breaks apart many different times. If you're heading towards the upper lakes, don't worry too much, they all eventually get back to the main one in some way.

Getting up to the lakes is worth it, and provides exceptional views. A few rock scrambles, but we were able to make it without issue with a small, 12-year-old beagle. Saw a few other dogs as well. 2:30 time to get up and down, not including an hour spent at the top.

Trailhead to Lake Constantine: https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/2827267110
Lake Constantine to Upper Tuhares and Back: https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/2827272184
Lake Constantine to Trailhead: https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/2827275593

Wonderful trail, moderate paced hiking but still challenging enough to be fun. Stunning views throughout the trail.

Only down side is that there are a few patches of thick vegetation throughout the trail, but overall, fantastic.

Long and hard, but worth it. Camped at East Cross Creek. Woke up and hit the trail at 6:30am. Took me 4.5 hours to summit and 2.5 to come back down. Bouldering at the top is exhausting for the last 1/4 mile. Would highly recommend trekking poles to save your knees. Came back down and camped another night and hiked out the last three miles on the third day. Not my favorite 14er, but not the least favorite either.

We camped at Lake Constantine and did a day hike to the lower and upper Tuhare Lakes which was well worth the effort and time. The views were outstanding. There was thirteen of us from all over the country and this was a great place to hike with a group of this size.

4 days ago

Camp at Constantine and hike to the upper lakes. Beautiful scenery and amazing wild flowers.

This hike was INCREDIBLE! We camped at the trailhead Saturday night and took 11 hours to summit on Sunday, including a delicious hour-long respite at the top (and multiple breaks along the way). Started our hike just after 5 am and had the sunrise to warm us up on the first 1000 feet. Hiking poles were incredibly helpful with the 5600 feet of elevation gain. Layers, extra food and sugar, and tons of water are essential. We were 2 adults and a 40 pound dog and went through about 8 liters of water (though there is a lovely river valley about 2 hours in to the hike that allow for some filtration opportunities). Above treeline was very rocky, making for some sore knees and feet. Would highly recommend this hike, but not to first time 14er summiters, flatlanders, or those not in good shape.

Tough for me but loved the challenge!!

Went all the way up to Suprise Lake (the second beaver dam at the end) beautiful views of Mt of the Holy Cross and the bridge over the creek and waterfall is stunning. It's pretty rocky and a few points require some minor scrambling but nothing me my friend and my German Sheppard couldn't do. Probably a hard moderate rating to be more accurate.

It is a moderate hike, and the whole trails goes through the forest, so there is shade. A kind of hike where you enjoy every step, not just the destination. The trail itself is pretty, and the lake at the end is beautiful.
We hiked a little further (to the waterfall at 12,000').

One of the most beautiful trails I've been on in Colorado. Great views of the surrounding areas (and wildfires...). Also one of the most difficult trails I've completed. The up and down doesn't seem that bad until the final up. Little to no snow on the trail. BRING BUG SPRAY. Still feeling those mosquito bites.

It’s beautiful up here. I’d like to hike it further next time.

We completed over 1.5 days days by camping at the creek. Spots were available late afternoon on a Saturday. We left for summit at 4:20am on Sunday and had the top all to ourselves. Wildflowers are everywhere and the trail is in great shape. Loved it!

Surprised to find that Surprise Lake was really just an enlarged boggy pond. Lots of bugs there. However hike was beautiful until about 3/4 of the way to the lake. Gorgeous river which we hiked down to in a few spots. Lots of ginormous Queen Anne’s Lace wildflowers and a beautiful field of sunflowers near the top as well.

Really enjoyed this easier moderate hike. Great views along the way and fun rocks to play or hang out on.

Not your average 14'er. Settled in a very fragile environment in the valley where camping is permitted but No Fires year round. You will ascend a very good chunk of altitude and cross the flatter section before the initial climb to get to this brilliantly distinguished peak; you will have to regain this altitude on the return trip after a scramble - so bring a lot of water and decent amount of fuel for the stomach. The more you travel upwards the more indiscernible this trail gets. There's a reason that this mountain won't be 14,005 feet tall for very long - it's falling apart at a hastening rate so be respectful or do not come here! Church of the Holy Cross is visible from the peak on the opposite end of the bowl, as well as many well known mountains visually three hundred sixty degrees such at Mount Crested Butte,Ski Cooper, Copper, Aspen, and many more.

I’m currently plannng 7 day trip doing a loop up Cross Creek down Fall Creek, and back over to the Cross Creek Trailhead. My plan is this:

Day 1. Hike up Cross Creek to Harvey Lake and camp
Day 2. Hike past Treasure Vault Lake, over Fancy Pass and into Holy Cross City, and either camp there or a little further down the trail at Hunky Dory Lake.
Day 3. Hike to Lake Constantine and camp.
Day 4. Visit the nearby Tuhare Lakes, then camp again at Lake Constantine.
Day 5. Hike to Half Moon Campground but continue on over Half Moon Pass and down to the East Cross Creek crossing, and camp.
Day 6. Tackle the summit of Mount Holy Cross, then back down and camp again at East Cross Creek crossing.
Day 7. Follow East Cross Creek about a mile or so over to Cross Creek and Cross Creek Trail, then back down Cross Creek Trail the remaining 5 or six miles to the trailhead, and pray that my car will still be there.

The normal conclusion of this loop would involve hiking 8 miles down the dirt road from Half Moon Campground to the Cross Creek Trailhead, resulting in total hiking distance on the last day of 11 to 12 miles, which would start with a 1000 foot ascent over Half Moon Pass. My proposed alternate route would cut that distance by about half and eliminate the big ascent back over Halfmoon Pass, plus I’d still be doing my hiking n the wilderness instead of down a boring dirt road. The only drawback is that there is no established trail down East Cross Creek back to Cross Creek, but the rangers tell me there shouldn’t be any big problems negotiating that short traverse.

If anyone has tried this before, I’d love to hear from you! My email address is jmichaelclaylaw@aol.com.

Went backpacking to Surprise Lake last night. Like other reviews say, lots of mosquitos. We were the only ones there though.
The road is closed about a mile before the trailhead, so it was just under 4 miles to the lake.

Nice hike if you only have a half of a day. The gate was closed adding a mile or so to the overall hike. Great views along the hike from several vantage points. We took a short detour off the trail before the bridge about 50-yards downhill to the creek. Beautiful area to lunch or rest on the smooth boulders & rock walls with swirling eddy’s below cascading down to mini-waterfalls. Very serene & regenerative stop along the trail. Stopped at the bridge and headed back down with the family.

Went backpacking in this area; we made it up to Harvey Lake but got rained out Saturday night and came back down to the TH on Sunday.

On paper this trail seems pretty moderate but after ascending to Harvey Lake, it was considerably more difficult than expected past Surprise Lake approximately. There is an astounding amount of deadfall on the trail as you go up and with the water still being high there are a few creek crossings that require care. After Reed's Meadow there is also a completely flooded section you will have to navigate without stepping in. The bugs are plentiful right now so finding a good windy campsite took time. If you are trying to go backpacking in this area right now I suggest go as high as you can manage to avoid mosquitoes. We did not encounter many at Harvey Lake at 11k and above.

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked this with my dog last week (Early June) and started at 1030 am. I like to go for time instead of destination since I’m busy busy. We made it to an awesome bridge in 90 min!

The trail is pretty easy to find the whole way and there are no crazy inclines. We had trouble in one spot on the way back where we went right instead of left on a crossroads and ended up at Tiguan Road. Don’t try to take it back to Minturn, you won’t be happy! Thankfully other hikers helped us back.

Overall, it was a beautiful hike through various terrain with lots of surprises along the way including carcasses and some people riding llamas. We didn’t see any wilderness animals along the way but maybe because it was the middle if the

On our way up, we only encountered a few people but by the time we were headed down the trail was busier. Lots of dogs and most of the good owners leashed when coming into sight of my canine companion. This is important to us as hikers because sometimes he’s a jerk when on leash and sees a non-leashed dog. We need space on the trail to give the dogs/owners to pass by without confrontation. There was plenty on this hike.

I hear if you go far enough you’ll get to a lake. Can’t wait to try!

Did the first mile and it very enjoyable. The trail is currently closed until the end of the month for elk migration so you cannot do more than a mile in. Not totally sure the 2 star review makes sense as trail is not open. The first mile was pretty excited to return

This is a Very Hard, Very Rewarding hike-climb-scramble.

Be prepared for a very long day and a pre-dawn start if the weather is risky—-which it always is in the Rockies, right.

You will definitely want a walking stick or two mainly to help your knees on the return. A whole lot of descending and this can play havoc on the knees-quads-patellofemoral joint.

It is definitely one that I’d repeat.

This used to be my dad's favorite area to hike when he lived in Colorado 25 years ago. Growing up in CA it was a person goal to come here one day since I'd heard so much about it from him and see this place. Beautiful area as everyone can attest to. Difficult hike even for the physically fit. I loved it, but it was mentally challenging as you get close to the summit due to the many rock steps that lead to the top. Hard on the knee's as well. Make sure to check the weather. Happy hiking

Only able to get within 1.2 miles of the trailhead due to snowmobile only activity on the road. Wasn’t planning on the extra distance, so we grabbed another trail off of Berthoud Pass.

backpacking
7 months ago

Very beautiful and very hard. You have to go over a 1,400 ft elevation gain ridge and then straight back down it before you even start to hike Holy Cross. Bring a TON of water and water filtration to refill at the stream crossing. I burned through 5L on summit day. My friend and I did it as the first backpacking trip of the Summer and it was tough over 3 days and 2 nights. Bring bug spray. Our temps got up to high 70's in the day and high 20's at night in July, reapplied sunscreen like 20 times in 3 days and still got some sun exhaustion. Once you get about 1 mile past the ridge a view opens up of Holy Cross that is the most beautiful view I've seen in Colorado.

Absolutely gorgeous the whole way. Nearly everything was covered in snow and the lake was almost completely frozen. A majority of the trail was frozen too so be prepared.
Really not too challenging even with the ice. Nice and gentle inclines most of the way.

We hiked here with our dogs and it was awesome! The trail has a good combination of uphills, downhills, and flat sections and some great views. There was a really nice meadow area near the creek where we left the trail and played in the creek for a bit and the trail was easy to find again, even after following the creek for a while. There was a fork in the trail at one point and we took the right trail which took us to a GORGEOUS view of the creek below, and it was here that we turned around to make it home before dark. Next time we will take the left fork to see where it goes!

This was one of the most beautiful hikes I have ever done. It is a great place to escape the world.

hiking
9 months ago

A beautiful, but rigorous hike. It took me, a 54-year-old male in fairly good shape, roughly 10 hours. The younger guys were doing it faster, but be sure to give yourself enough time. Also, take lots of water. I went through 4 liters in September.

This was our first 14er, so it has a special place in my heart! Probably could have chosen an easier one, considering I live at sea level and only had three days to acclimate before setting out... This trail was a really challenging in-and-out for us. Between the elevation gain and struggling with the altitude, there were points where we were taking 20 steps and pausing to catch our breath!

But the path it winds offers unbelievable views of forests, other peaks, and small alpine lakes nearly the whole way, which means you're never just slogging. You're constantly being blown away by the scenery only a 14er provides, which we'd never experienced before!

There are some tight switchbacks less than halfway that were BRUTAL for us and the last couple miles are making your way along thick scree fields, which slow you down. But there's only a little easy bouldering to get to the summit, and holy hell that view is completely worth it.

If did it again, we'd camp along the way and wouldn't attempt 12+ miles in one day without being properly accustomed to the altitude. :)

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