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

On 7/30 my 14 yr old and I hiked up, crossed the Causeway, and decided to go back instead of doing the entire loop. We arrived at the Stillwater Reservoir trailhead the day before on a Sunday afternoon to an almost full lot, so we decided to camp out and do the hike in the morning the next day (would highly recommend). We started the hike at 7 am the next day and didn't see another person until we were almost to the saddle. Summited a little after 9 and had the Causeway to ourselves for about 20 minutes after a group got done with it themselves. The entire hike was a blast with spectacular views the whole way up. The last mile or so is pretty tough with an incline and switchbacks nearly the entire way, and then the final ascent is almost a straight shot to the top. The Causeway itself boils down to a mental battle; some conquer it, and some don't. I recommend the "low and slow" approach, which just means you're using your hands and feet the entire way to give yourself four points of contact. It was a little breezy at the top, as I suspect it usually is, so bringing a jacket or at least a sweatshirt would be recommended. Also, as some have already said here, some parts of the trail are not well-marked. If the Causeway is your ultimate goal, a good rule of thumb would be to "always stay right". Overall, it was an unforgettable experience that I'm so grateful I got to experience, especially with my son.

One last thing- When researching this hike, you might see articles calling it a "hidden gem". I'm of the thought that this is no longer the case as we passed, probably, 20-30 people on the way down, and arrived back at the trailhead just before noon to an already almost full lot. And this was on a Monday. All this to say, everyone can a should get outside and explore what amazing sights this state has to offer, it's just something to factor in when preparing your trip. If you like things a little more quiet on the trail, start early. Enjoy!

Hiked the loop on 7/11/18 started at about 8am. No snow on trails, awesome weather, and we only saw two other hikers the entire 10 miles. I’m not a seasoned biker by any means but I found the trails to be scarcely/confusingly marked. Take a map with you for sure!! The first two miles up to the causeway were kind of steep but then it’s pretty smooth sailing. There was a good amount of bugs in the forested areas FYI.

Killer wildflowers - July 12th

Hiked the out-and-back on 6/30 and WOW it was perfect with wildflowers in full bloom! We started the hike around 9am (left Denver just before 6am) and I'd suggest starting by 9am or sooner to avoid the crowds. It's a great trail with the last section being much steeper than I expected, but it doesn't last for too long (almost all of the elevation gain is in the last 3/4 mile). We had the causeway to ourselves for about 45 minutes and the views from the top are amazing. On the way down there were hordes of people - one group of 20, two groups of 10, and tons of smaller groups. I'd only feel comfortable crossing the causeway one-by-one, so I expect it gets pretty backed up if you don't start early-ish.

This is a jaw-droppingly beautiful route, couldn't stop smiling. Definitely make the trek out to Island Lakes! Deep in this 23-mile tour de force of breathtaking views, it's a gem among jewels.

Did this trail starting from Skinny fish trailhead walked the lost lakes and crossed the causeway finishing at Trappers Lake. Beautiful walk, took us two and a half days to complete, bug spray is a must! The trails are very easy to navigate if your experienced, we bought a map from Wyatt’s sporting goods that I just stuck in my back pocket. There are moose wandering around, we saw an adolescent bedding down for a storm early in our journey. So do be wary. Overall I loved this hike.

Beautiful hike up to wall lake

My wife and I attempted on 5/27. We got started from the trailhead right around 7:30 AM. The first 2 miles were pretty straightforward and we made some good time. A lot of patches of snow covering the trail, but solid foot prints allowed us to keep on the trail. There were enough breaks that we could keep on the trail no problem. Once we got about 2 miles in, the trail was completely lost. We saw a trail marker sticking out of the snow saying "Please stay on the trail," but it was no where to be found. We spent about 2 hours trying to scale the face in the snow. By about 11 AM, we were post holing knee deep or even waist deep with every step. Made it to about 11,400 before the snow gave out underneath my wife and she slid back down about 100 feet on top of the snow. At that point, I slid down myself.

As Ben said, it is possible to reach the top, but not via the trail. There was a large area of rock exposed that may have made the top accessible via scrambling . More equipment would make it an easier trip up. All we had were some microspikes. Definitely would recommend starting early because as the sun heats up, the post holing becomes much worse. The way back down was significantly more challenging because all of the snow we simply walked on top in the morning was now melted and caused post holing with every step. Even without reaching the Causeway, it was still a beautiful and certainly memorable hike.

Flight 159- just finished this hike, it was way more intense than I had hoped. The south side was pretty close to impassable without an ice ax and crampons, I luckily found a spot where we could down climb but it was way off trail. There were a few sections where we cliffed out and had to find a different way down, not on the trail. The trail is covered in snow and we were postholing the entire trail. If you do it make sure you have the right equipment, I would even suggest snowshoes. In all it took us 9 hours to do a 10 mile hike. I might suggest doing it later in June. Good luck to the Matthew doing it on the 27th. Camping is plentiful and the road up is fine.

Matthew I appreciate the info. Was worth a shot to see if anyone had hiked it lately. I have been attempting to get through to the Yampa Ranger District with no success as of yet. I may just wing it and see what happens. Happy Trails!

Flight 159 - My wife and I are going to try to do the trail on 5/27/18. I also have been looking for condition reports but have not found any. Looking at the map of US Forest Service Road 900 there are multiple campgrounds along the way each maintained by the US Forest Service. Bear Lake Campground which is 4 miles from the trailhead is open as of 5/14/18 (https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/mbr/recarea/?recid=23030). Horseshoe Campground and Cold Springs Campground both still say "Unreachable" on their respective USFS pages, but both say they generally open on Memorial Day weekend, but with snow until mid-June. I will report back next Tuesday 5/29/18 on road and trail conditions that we encounter. USFS site for The Devils Causeway also states "Unreachable" (https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/mbr/recreation/hiking/recarea/?recid=79305&actid=50)

Has anyone been on this trail lately. Thinking about backpacking in the next week but looking for a condition report? thx

The road is currently pretty impassible. I tried to get out there today with my 4WD Wrangler and ended up getting stuck in the deep snow along the sides. You could maybe get out there with a snowmobile or a 4WD that has chains but the snow really makes you fishtail, is slushy and deep in a lot of places, and feels like it's going to throw you off the road. The drive toward Yampa was gorgeous though so I can't wait until summer when the snow is gone to get back out here!

I love this trail. Amazing views for the entire trip. Tons of water crossings in the spring. None of them are too crazy. Was out for 3 days and I saw 1 other person. Great solitude and amazing scenery. And the fishing is good.

Great hike. Garmin has it at 10.7 miles. Starting to get a little windy and cool. Make sure you start early because by noon rain clouds and lightning develop. It took us roughly 5 1/2 hours to do the round trip with stops and lunch. It is approximately an hour and a half drive to trail head from Steamboat Springs. Elk hunting season has started so be aware this is a heavily hunted area and you may want to avoid it during rifle season.

Challenging first half of the hike and the causeway is a bit scary but it's all well worth it!

11 months ago

Great hike. Great view. Great for prepping for narrow bridges, in my case Angels Landing in Zion next week :) I only did thru the causeway and back which was around 6 miles + round trip. No protection from lightening/storms, make sure you weather watch. Relatively easy/moderate hike, until the last 1.8ish miles which is up up up. Lots of sheep on the trail, so if you have dogs, be sure to leash up, the herding dogs are very vocal. More info, this is the best website:
There are no real signs, so please remember to stay right at both forks to complete the loop

Great hike. Garmin has it at 10.7 miles. Starting to get a little windy and cool. Make sure you start early because by noon rain clouds and lightning develop. It took us roughly 5 1/2 hours to do the round trip with stops and lunch. It is approximately an hour and a half drive to trail head from Steamboat Springs. Elk hunting season has started so be aware this is a heavily hunted area and you may want to avoid it during rifle season.

11 months ago

I highly recommend this hike for the diversity of the landscapes you get to see along the way. The altitude was a little hard for me but you can take your time and enjoy the view. This was my first trip to the Flat Tops and I can't wait to go back.

Astounding hike. We did the 10 mile loop in ~6 hours, including lunch breaks and a ton of stops for us unaccustomed to the altitude. the hike to DC was demanding but beautiful. the causeway itself was maybe the most terrifying thing I've ever done, but the feeling you get afterwards is incredible. The back 6 miles are incredible and easy, and you're rewarded with some solitude after the DC crossing. can't recommend it enough

Such a great experience! Scary crossing the causeway, but an adrenaline rush for sure. Definitely longer than 10.1 miles. We logged nearly 14 miles for this trail.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Very strenuous but spectacular views. Trail would be extremely hard to follow without gps and proper planning. The trail split off into several "cattle paths" that led to nowhere. Didn't see a single person after the trailhead until after the Chinese wall at West Lost Lake. Saw no large animals but plenty of tracks and droppings. The Devil's Causeway was very exilerating with amazing 360° views, and is only a few miles from the Stillwater reservoir.

Friday, August 04, 2017

Just hiked up to the devils causeway and back down last weekend. Mosquitos weren't bad at all, flys were more bothersome. Got up and down in 2hr 40min. Unique hike

Friday, July 14, 2017

I completed this loop on July 13, 2017 in just under 6 hours with lots of photo stops and rest breaks. Spectacular hike with varied terrain and amazing profusion of wildflowers on the lower portions. I started at the Stillwater Reservoir TH and went right past Little Causeway Lake up to the Devils Causeway (DC). I am a fit and experienced hiker and rate the ascent up DC as one of the most physically demanding I've experienced - due to steepness and altitude - but absolutely worth the effort. The top of the approach to DC has snow banks covering the trail in 2 spots, but they are easily traversed. Crossing the DC was fun and exhilarating - more of a mental challenge than a physical challenge, and I felt safe doing it. The vistas from the top are world class. Once across the DC and continuing the loop to connect with Bear Creek trail, I was surprised at the lovely meandering miles across the high elevation bench - basically a gentle slow descent atop one of the Flat top plateaus. You are above tree line here and fully exposed to sun/rain for a few miles. The final few miles descend into alpine pine forest and running river for a complete change of scenery. Bear Creek trail has running snowmelt on it at times and some more minor snowfield crossings - nothing difficult, just wet. NOTE that the mosquitos at the lower elevations (the first and last few miles) are brutal! Swarms and aggressive - but my deet worked great.

A fantastically beautiful and fun part of Colorado. The trek out to West Lost Lake ended up being pretty strenuous and unfortunately the mosquitos were out in full force, but it was well worth it. The trek back along Chinese Wall was quite a bit easier with even more spectacular views. With all the late snow fall this year there were several medium and large sized snow fields still but they were all easily crossable.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Beautiful country, getting a little to populated for my liking, but if u come to the flat tops it's a must do hike.

Monday, July 03, 2017

Just did this loop counter-clockwise as an overnight trip, starting at the Stillwater Reserve trailhead and going up the East Fork trail, across the Devil's Causeway, down the Chinese Wall Trail, and back up Bear River. Beautiful hike, lots of bugs, little sketchy across the Causeway but my dog and I made it across fine. From about mile 2 to mile 6 or so is above treeline and rather exposed.

Friday, April 07, 2017

It is a long hike and the end gets steep. Very enjoyable!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Hiked to and across the causeway, then back in July. The causeway was so amazing and fun to cross. Makes for fun pictures too! There were a lot of mosquitos in the first half of the hike up, in the woods. Still worth it!

Monday, October 03, 2016

Actually the best hike ever. One of the most amazing views I've ever seen and what a thrill it is crossing the causeway.

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