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

I would recommend not taking your car up directly to the trailhead. Road is pretty bad.

hiking
1 month ago

Awesome trail. Did it over Labor Day and still was quite empty. Could easily be considered hard due to length and elevation gain, but its all worth it for the variety of scenery. Although I saw a few 2wd sedans along the road to the trailhead, 4wd or at least something with clearance is recommended to get there.

Amazing hike. A little tough, especially if you’re not used to the elevation, but it has everything. Starts in a forest setting, crosses a couple of creeks and opens up above tree line. Shelf Lake at the top was a real treat and very few people.

An awesome hike! Trailhead is a little hard to find because they recently moved the trailhead. Head up the trail that is connected to the parking lot and follow for about a 1/4 mile then you’ll see a sign for shelf lake. Dirt road was tricky is some spots, but manageable for most cars. This hike is also closer to 8 miles round trip.

Beautiful hike! We went early which helped with the crowds. Uphill, somewhat challenging over rocky areas at times but overall the terrain is easy. Gorgeous views from up top!

hiking
1 month ago

A beautiful hike that passes through aspens, moss covered rocks, woods, over streams and ends at a lake. Challenging if you're not used to hiking at altitude, but an overall great hike!

hiking
1 month ago

A mile was added to the hike when the trail head was moved 1/2 mile south of the original location. Eight miles is a more accurate number now. The South Park and Shelf Lake trail heads were combined into one very large parking lot, rather than two very small ones.

Great trail! Not much shade, so be prepared with sunscreen, hat, and water. My husband and I did not do the entire trail, we did 5 miles out and back. We turned around just as we were getting into a small wooded area. Views throughout are amazing! Since the first part of the trail is out in the open, you get views of the surrounding mountains, Mt Bierstadt, Geneva Mtn, Otter Mtn, Mt Wilcox... very scenic and beautiful. Although the parking lot was full, we only came across 2 small groups of people on our way back. Almost the entire hike we were alone. I’m guessing this is because most who travel to this trailhead climb Mt Bierstadt. We arrived at 8am on a Sunday in sept, and the lot was mostly full, so if you want a spot, get there early. On our way back, we stopped for a short break in a wooded area and heard a ruckus of yipping in the distance, my best guess is that it was coyotes. Did not come across them though. Rest of the hike was quiet. At one point the trail goes off to the left, there are large posts to guide but at some point they seemed to taper off, not sure if they pick back up since we didn’t do the entire trail. Will definitely be back to try more distance on this trail! Very peaceful and lovely.

hiking
1 month ago

You will need an AWD or 4WD vehicle to get to the trailhead. I saw a couple of people try to make it up in their Honda Civic and that was not working out for them.

My GPS tracked the hike closer to 8 miles rather than the 6.8 miles listed. We did go off trail a few times for pictures and the views, but nothing that should have added up to a mile or more. It took us about 1 hour and 30 minutes to get to the lake. Not sure why this hike is rated moderate, it was hard!

Sooo beautiful and calming. One of my favorites so far!

Beautiful trail but not easy, well worth it though!

hiking
1 month ago

Loved this hike! Fairly quiet and beautiful scenery! Three lakes you can hit along the way though the true trail only takes you to the second lake. Another estimated half mile up after the second lake will get you to the third lake - note: it’s an uphill hike to the third but worth checking it off since you got so far already. Only downside is that you have to off-road your car (just a bit - we saw a Honda CRVs do it) to get up to the true trailhead. We chickened out and parked at the bottom so added another mile round trip to the hike. Beautiful and would do again when there is a little snow on the mountains!

hiking
1 month ago

It was a bit tough to find the trail head, but the hike was awesome.

Awesome huge view hike.

2 months ago

a really cool hike. went out on a sunday and i considered it as lightly trafficked. has everything you want in a trail. Forests at the beginning, streams towards the top, rocks in the middle, wildflowers, and a beautifully lake at the top. Definitely recommend. be careful driving to the trailhead if you dont have a high clearance vehicle.

hiking
2 months ago

Spectacular hike overall, with amazing views, varied terrain, and quite a few wild flowers left. The lake was predictably crowded, with lots of off-leash dogs. Our 5 year old hiked the whole thing unassisted, though it was a bit of a challenge for her and we did take snack breaks. Lots of marmots in the rocky areas.

Loved this hike! Beautiful as the trail ascends through the forest. Two steep parts, one about1-2 miles in and the ascent to the lake. A small and bigger waterfall and a few stream crossings, love the water! I have two dogs and needed water in addition to my 3 liter camelback. The lake is beautiful and quiet. My dogs loved it too!

Wildflowers are gorgeous right now! Mountain rains in the afternoon were also really pleasant. Rockier terrain than I expected but me and my small-ish dog had no trouble. Super pup friendly hike!

Rough terrain but had a great time. Took a swimsuit and swam in the lake for about 10 minutes. Definitely worth bringing a pair of goggles for, you can see clear to the bottom.

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike! Got up super early to be the first one on the trail! Amazing views I took my time and still only saw 4 people on the way down. Not bad! Would totally do this one again! So beautiful!

2 months ago

Road is a little rough getting to the trailhead. Beautiful wildflowers, wildlife (including a fox) on the way back. Great trail for acclimating to higher elevation.

hiking
2 months ago

One of my all time favorite hikes that I started when I was 35. Now at 67 it's a bit tougher but still able to hike and fish the lake. Horrible road going in but other than that perfect hiking conditions and unbelievable wild flowers. Very clear water at the lake and brilliant red cutthroats

very busy, easy hike and good for dogs. dont let them drink the water unless you want to see projectile vomiting. (sorry Lilly)

Went out with the family this afternoon (wife, 11yr, 3yr, and dog). The kids loved the hike and we all had a lot of fun. I like that you start in the trees, then head up over the tree line. TONS of wildflowers to brighten your day. Unfortunately we didn’t make it the whole way to the lake because we heard some thunder and decided to head back to the car, but we were so impressed we decided to come back next week. The drive up to the trailhead on the dirt road IS a little treacherous. I’d suggest 4WD or an experienced driver... really experienced.

Started early to beat the crowds. On our way down we passed a ton of people and dogs starting their day. The road up to the trail head is pretty spotty and best done in 4wd. We decided not to risk getting stuck and hiked up the extra .7 mile up to the trailhead. Beautiful hike with some really nice views and wildflowers. Cool little waterfall by the lake to stop and hangout at.

Gorgeous trail. Flowers were indeed exploding. 20 yrs in Colorado and never seen so many columbines. Not just bunches but am entire field. Road is in pretty bad shape but navigable in a car. However, I do not recommend it. The hike elevation profile is a bit deceptive. It is not a steady climb. You get about 40% of the elevation gain in about three quarters of a mile of travel. The two steep sections are really steep. A very fit person can go out and back in about three and a half hours. The rest of us will need over four. However, to really enjoy it, go slow to enjoy the scenery plan to spend five.

hiking
3 months ago

Nice hike but misleading description. The new trailhead adds considerable distance to the stated mileage. I would say it’s at least 9 RT. First part very steep and rocky then gradual incline but still rocky along the valley through the trees until the final steep part up to the lake. At timberline the wild flowers exploded. This was the highlight of the hike in my opinion. Yes there is a lake and it’s clear but the flowers—wow! Oh and the road is terrible the whole way. There were 2wd cars and vans and even camping trailers all along the way but I wouldn’t do that road without higher ground clearance.

hiking
3 months ago

great hike. Did the first week of June 2018, last water mile had to walk around/through some snow wasn't bad just make sure to not lose the trail. very lightly trafficked. we started at 730am and were the first ones up and saw three groups on the way down. would deffinetly do again.

A little crowded for me even with an early start. That's to be expected anywhere off Guanella Pass though. Great hike for small kids. We took a 4 and 5 year old and they made it to the first lake like troopers. Wildflowers everywhere! Even spotted a bald eagle over the lake.

hiking
3 months ago

Just got back from this pretty hike , lots and lots of wildflowers . The first mile had me so out of breath I couldn’t enjoy the views !! LOL when you cross the boulder field there is a huge flat one to take in the first of many scenic views ! The upper stretches are very scenic with the clear lake. A must for the avid mountain hiker

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