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

hiking
11 days ago

A nice simple and not too hard hike. Absolutly beautiful at the end of the colors. The fog was hanging on the peak of Mt Elbert. Love it. Will hike again.

Pretty easy hike for a 14er until you get to the saddle, then it gets a little technical. We went really slow with this one for a total of 10 hours. Started at 630 and was off the mountain still in plenty of time. If you get a nice weather day in the fall I would highly recommend, the Aspen trees were some of the most beautiful I've seen. Of the 12 14ers I have hiked, this was one is up there as far as a good hike and beautiful views. Enjoy!

My first 14er. It felt pretty moderate to me, no section of the trail felt hard. Beautiful views from the summit and good colors on the aspens down low. 9-30-18

camped nearby past Lakeview camping (it was closed). Plethora of camping spots and all along the road to Elbert upper trailhead. We took the lower trail up and looped back on the road. Saw a few deer! And went past the upper trailhead a little to see the beaver dam. My pup loved it and we enjoyed the leaves!

Best to hike when the aspens are in full color! Breathtaking!! Only downside is one half of the loop was fairly heavily traveled by 4WD vehicles.

We did this trail in early August with great weather. The trailhead is up the road about a half mile on the left and is easy to miss. There's a great variety of views a long the way, streams, valleys and a beautiful forest below the tree line. A lot of bouldering above the tree line, there's plenty of cairns but it's easy to lose the trail. Amazing but very difficult hike. It took us nearly as long to get down as it did to get up because of how steep it is. Poles highly recommended!

We really enjoyed this hike today! Quite a workout for us with the elevation gain but was worth it. We did have a 4wd vehicle so we were able to get almost all the way to the trailhead. If not it would take a lot of the enjoyment out. We only saw two other couples all day. One couple was on their way down from the summit of Massive. Yes there is a trail to the summit that breaks off about halfway up and has a sign. Saw a few mountain goats and deer and the scenery at the 1st Lake is enjoyable.

hiking
1 month ago

If you are going during leaf season, this is an excellent trail because it has great aspens all the way and there is a stunning little pond at the top. The guy who said it is a jeep road took the wrong trail. Yes there is a jeep road that leads there, too, but there is also a single track trail & you don't even see that there is a jeep trail that goes there too until you get to the top.

AMAZING AMAZING HIKE...but the miles are off for this trail. I agree with Doug Hess below, my Apple Watch showed 17.8 miles round trip for this hike! We were not expecting to go twice the number of miles for this hike but it was well worth it. The trail is hard to find (especially on the saddle) I’m guessing we meandered off and ended up off trail for better views of the lakes. I went with 2 other fit college students and we made our way out and back in around 7 hours with breaks and food.
Bring warm clothes, sunscreen and lots of food
It’s a long way up there. The switchbacks in the midsection are brutal on the way up and down I highly recommend poles and hiking shoes that don’t squish toes on the way down.
This hike is hard on the knees, and it’s exhausting. Worth the views!!

I stayed at Mt. Elbert Lodge and used Black Cloud Trail all the way to the summit. I also think the mileage reported is a little short of what the hike really is. We started at 4:45 AM and ended around 2:30 to 3:00 PM. Some of us were in shape, some from Colorado, and a few of us from Indiana. It was everyone's first 14er aside from one person. The first portion of the hike is pretty brutal, as we started off like we were in the smoky mountains and could just push. We slowed pretty quick. The views were fantastic the whole way. The false summits can wear you down mentally if you aren't prepared. I took 3 liters of water and plenty of high protein snacks. Force yourself to eat and drink if you're a flatlander. I'll never do it again just because there are so many other new peaks to experience, but I recommend this if you want a challenge and sense of accomplishment. Very few people on this trail, also. Lastly, Mt. Elbert Lodge is awesome, the Twin Lakes Inn for dinner was really good, and the city of Leadville was pretty cool. Can't wait to plan my next 14er in this wonderful state.

If you have a vehicle that will make it up the 4WD road, I’d 100% recommend this route! The trail is beautiful, with amazing views over Twin Lakes, and of course the summit views were also great. We even saw a wedding ceremony being performed at the top! There were some other hikers on the trail, but it didn’t look nearly as busy as the north route, which you could see at parts from this east ridge trail. Long but not technical at all, I would absolutely recommend hiking poles for the descent for people with bad knees like me, they were lifesavers. Took us about 6.5 hours RT. Hiked 7/21/18

hiking
1 month ago

First hike since my wife’s emergency hip replacement 75 days ago. A very easy and pleasant hike along the lake. Out and back there were a few slight undulations keeping it interesting.

Nice easy hike. Beautiful views -especially with the aspen beginning to change colors.

on Lily Pond

hiking
1 month ago

Started at the trailhead South Mt Elbert. The hike follows the CO Trail for a couple of miles. You come to an intersection of Mt Elbert and CO Trail. Cross the bridge and follow the sign Lily Ponds. It was beautiful at the ponds. A large beaver lodge in the middle and some geese too. Lots of fish rising when we were there. Nice morning hike, lunch at the pond. Trail starts out as sage then you follow a creek through aspen the rest of the way. I clocked 5 total miles.

Important: the trailhead is up the road a short distance, maybe 1/3 to 1/2 mi on the LEFT next to the green gate (right past it). There are small cairns but easy to miss- look for a sign that says “Attention...” This hike seemed much longer than 8-9 mi, I was with a group of 3 and we all had ~13 mi on our devices. There’s a large boulder field and good deal of scree, which makes the last 2-3 mi pretty grueling. There are also a couple of false summits, so watch for the trail continuing on. I’ve done Huron, Belford, Oxford, and Missouri and this one was the hardest for me. I call this one the beast- such a beautiful beast, though!

One of the best 14ers and trails that I’ve done. Beautiful start through the aspens - the leaves are just starting to change color. There’s a lot of hiking above tree line but you’re on the proper side of the ridge to avoid a lot of the wind until near the summit. A couple of false summits may trick you but the second is almost level with the final summit. A tiny bit of scrambling may be required but the views are well worth it.

3:30AM start on Saturday. Chilly with some frozen precipitation. Summit at 7:20. Warmed up a bit on the way down. No flashlight needed above treeline with a 2/3 moon overhead.

This was a good alternative to Mount Massive, which weather was bad for on Sunday. Seemed longer than 5.4 miles from the trailhead. Did enjoy the great views and scenery along the way, the trail can get a bit confusing when you enter the tree line on Northside of open field. Download the all trails map so you follow off line. no cell phone coverage avail. Also never found the second lake. Still very enjoyable!!!

One of the easier class 2s in the Collegiate Peaks, just like most there is a good amount of scree to hike on toward the summit. Made it fun to trail run down after summiting at 8:30Am Aug.31.18, outstanding views of the many surrounding lakes and tallest 14ers in CO. (Massive, Harvard, Elbert) this was my 46th 14er summit as well, thought I should add that as I’ve seen in the past comments it was the hardest one they’ve done..as far as class 2s go I would rank as Moderate. Basically no exposure, and no intense boulder fields just scree piles. Similar climb as compared to Mt. Massive, personally I think Harvard and Columbia are a little more difficult due to the length of the trip. Bring wind gear!

brutal but good

the absolute hardest hike I have ever done. wanted to do a 14er with an incredible view and 14ers.com reiterated the amazing view from La Plata Peak. the hike itself is intense! once you pass the tree line you are basically hiking very steeply on loose dirt and jumping rock to rock. the wind the day we went was about 50-60 mph too (definitely had some thoughts about turning around but we were so close to the top). we started the hike late, around 945 AM and got back to the car around 4 PM so all in all it was 4 hours up and 2 hours down. this hike is not for the faint of heart, it was a mental and physical battle the entire way but the moment you step foot on the summit is one of the most satisfying and breathtaking moments.

Great trail hike, beautiful views. Trail is perfect and well maintained. Good easy hike straight up. I drove up the 4wd upper trail head road in my Subaru outback with no issues. Starting at the upper trail head I still recorded 10.5 miles up and back so prepare for a long hike, but it is worth it!

So I would say this is probably one of the technically easiest hikes I have done. But don't let that fool you its a long day hike and the elevation will challenge you if you're not used to it. We drove up as far as we could go in our civic up the 4 wheel drive route (about 1.2 miles). Don't do this if you're scared about scraping a little here and there. We also made sure to navigate the road during daylight the evening before to be sure I could make it. Anyway, we left the lodge at 5am and drove up the 4 wheel road and parked at the spot I picked out the day before. Got to the 4 wheel parking lot on foot around 6am (trail head). Reached the peak at 12ish (us low landers were sucking wind). We saw a few people turn back on the way up but most made it up. we got back to the car around 6pm. Again, technically easy, but still a tough day hike. Not the nicest views when you get up there but still really cool to say you've been to the highest peak in Colorado.

The most difficult I ever done. Started with my wife at 5.50 AM . After a pleasant way in the forest, the trail steep immediately. The real challenge is the last 1.5 mile, with talus scrambling and continues loosing the trail. Same thing going down. The view from the top was excellent. We stay about 30' on the top. The descent took more then the climb, because slippery small rocks. We reached the car at 15.00 PM. Very hard and challenging hike, but it worth. Not recommended for beginners and need some training before to go. Me too recommend to pay attention at the location of the start of the trail, especially in the dark. I think a little more info should be posted at this place.

Got park area at 5.20 AM and leaving at 5.40 with my wife.Pretty cold 30 degrees. Trail start easy, with easy crossing of two streams. The sunrise from Mosquito was stunning with forest start to live. The trail goes up alert 3 miles ,well marked with some steep sections to the saddle at the ridge. Wonderful views all around . The trail remain easy to follow on the ridge paying some attention. Two mountain goats in sight! Passed the false summit quickly we reach the top. Stunning views, even with the smoke from wildfires. Because the nice weather we stay on top for 45 minutes. Back to the car at 15.05 PM. Wonderful hike, strenuous but it worth. We did almost 14 peaks, but this is one of the best at all. We never forget

You have to really work for this one. Seventeenth fourteener of the summer and by far the most difficult one I’ve done. Several sections were very steep and me and my friend got off trail near the beginning which put us back about an hour. Some sections of the trail are not marked that well, especially once you enter the boulder field. On my way down, we lost our trail and ended up going down a lot of loose and sketchy scree for a bit before we found the trail again. Views were spectacular but I will never do this one again.

If anyone has any info or advice for my post below please contact me at keastonh@gmail.com Thanks!

***HELP! I left my camera int he trialhead parking lot..My friend and I climbed Mt Massive on Thursday and returned to the car Friday around 11pm..I vividly remember setting it on the tire of my van prior to leaving. The camera is a canon g7x, it could be ran over but I'm hoping the sd card is still intact...I am happy to pay a finders fee to anyone generous to send it to me if they have it..Thanks.

Got to the trailhead just before 7pm Thurs night with my buddy and hiked up to treeline. Used headlamps until we found a good spot to camp, and hit the hay by 10pm. We got up later than we had planned around 5:45am, and made our way to the summit. This was my 10th 14er, and the mileage was no joke. The hike from this route seemingly goes on forever after you get above treeline. Enjoy the walk thru the woods early on, because the hike doesn't really start till 11,800. Stay to the left as you ascend the ridge to avoid going too low, and making for a more difficult climb. Amazing views from the summit. Made it back down to camp around noon, and then made the endless descent thru the woods to the car. All in all I imagine this route was more scenic than others, but much, much, longer. We were glad we camped the night before, as this would have been a lot of mileage for a top to bottom trip.

hiking
1 month ago

Nice and easy Sunday hike with visitors from NJ. Doable for everyone with mountain and lake views throughout. Really cool seeing Dexter’s house and the history behind the area.

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