Fremont Peak (7,273′), Royal Gorge

Fremont Peak (7,273′), Royal Gorge

View of Fremont Peak from the trail

Fremont Peak (7,273′), Royal Gorge

Fremont Peak is the high point along a narrow ridge of hills rising near the eastern edge of the Royal Gorge’s north rim. The desert peak is part of a very small sub-range of mountains called the Gorge Hills. These peaks are relatively low and are covered in desert flora. Great views of the Royal Gorge, the Sangre de Cristo mountain range, and Pikes Peak can be seen along the trail and summit.

Don’t miss the Elkhorn Loop Picnic Area and Overlook to get a closer look of the bridge and the Royal Gorge, only a couple minutes drive from the EastRidge Trailhead. Great views just steps from your car, check out the last two pictures. You can find a map here.

Summers in this area can be dangerously hot, plan accordingly.

  • Destination: Fremont Peak
  • Trailhead: EastRidge Trailhead, Royal Gorge Mountain Park
  • Round trip: 3.9 miles / 6.3 km
  • Elevation: 6,919′ – 7,273′ (+354′) / 2,109m – 2,217m (+108m)
  • Note: over 1000′ total gain

Area: Royal Gorge
County: Freemont

Elevation Map (select to enlarge)

The Royal Gorge Bridge is the highest bridge in the United States. It spans 880 feet across the Arkansas river at a height of 955 feet. Built in 1929, it was the highest bridge in the world until 2001.

GPS Track with Elevation

Video Tour

Trail Directions

From the Eastridge trailhead head downhill and to the left (heading south) to get on County Road 389B.

Folllow County Road 389B until it ends at the radio towers

From the end of the road, you will see Fremont Peak across a saddle to the southeast. Follow the the trail heading in that direction.

You quickly come across a trail junction with a sign for the Summit trail. Follow the trail towards the peak (southeast).

Once underneath the peak, pick a social path up the steep slope to the summit. There is no maintained trail.

Trailhead Directions

The Crags (10,856′), Front Range

The Crags (10,856′), Front Range

Fantastic views

The Crags (10,856′), Front Range

The Crags Trail #664 follows Four Mile Creek through deep forests and lush meadows, ending at a rocky dome with unobstructed views in all directions. At the summit of the windswept dome there are views of the Rampart Range, Pikes Peak Mastif, Catamount Reservoirs, and distant mountain ranges to the west and north.

The majority of the Crags trail has a gentle elevation gain, with the first and last half-mile gaining the most elevation.

  • Destination: The Crags
  • Trailhead: The Crags/Devils Playground
  • Round trip: 7.3 miles / 11.7 km (winter mileage)
  • Elevation: 9,665′ – 10,856′ (+1,191′)/ 2,946m – 3,309m (+363m)

County: El Paso
Agency: U.S. Forest Service
Nat’l Forest: Pike

Elevation Map (select to enlarge)

GPS Route with Elevation

Video Tour

Trail Directions

Take the clear and well-used path over a bridge and through the forest.

After climbing for 1/2 mile you will see the trail junction with the Devil’s Playground #664A, stay to the left on 664 to The Crags.

Continue following Fourmile Creek northeast through a valley. The trail will be wooded at first, but will eventually open up into a meadow with views of rocky cliffs and the rough western flank of Pikes Peak.

During the last 1/2 mile the trail re-enters the forest and gains elevation as it turns north along a small ridge.

The trail ends on the top of a rocky outcropping with excellent views all around.

Trailhead Directions

Hanging Lake (7,290′), Glenwood Canyon

Hanging Lake (7,290′), Glenwood Canyon

The trail follows Dead Horse Creek

Hanging Lake (7,290′), Glenwood Canyon

Hanging Lake, in Glenwood Canyon, is a beautiful travertine lake formed high up in Deadhorse Canyon. The lake was formed when an acre and a half of the valley floor sheared off from a fault and dropped to what is now the shallow bed of the lake. This travertine lake is extremely sensitive, so please respect the special regulations to preserve the lake.

The beautiful turquoise colors of the lake are produced by carbonate minerals that have dissolved in the water. The fragile shoreline of the lake is composed of travertine, created when dissolved limestone is deposited on rocks, logs, and shoreline. Hanging Lake was designated a National Natural Landmark in 2011.

Hanging Lake is closed due to the impact from a 2020 wildfire. More information can be found here.

Destination:
Trailhead: Hanging Lake
Round trip: 2.2 miles / 3.5 km
Elevation: 6,120′ – 7,290′ (+1,170′)/ 1,865m – 2,222m (+357m)

County: Garfield
Agency: U.S. Forest Service
Nat’l Forest: White River
National Natural Landmark

GPS Route with Elevation

Video Tour

Trail Directions

The trail is a steep and rocky scenic trail that climbs from the bottom of Glenwood Canyon, up through Deadhorse Creek Canyon, to the Lake.

The Spouting Rock trail at Hanging Lake will take you to a towering limestone wall and the source of Hanging Lake.

Trailhead Directions

Lake Helene (10,630′), Front Range

Lake Helene (10,630′), Front Range

Notchtop Mountain towers over the valley

Lake Helene (10,630′), Front Range

There is no signage and you must follow a social trail to get to the lake, but despite it’s obscurity, Lake Helene is a spectacular destination inside Rocky Mountain National Park. The lake is situated at treeline, between Flattop Mountain (12,324′) and Notchtop Mountain (12,129′).

Even lesser known Two Rivers Lake is a short walk from Lake Helene, and also worth the visit while in the alpine valley.

Destination:  Lake Helene
Trailhead: Bear Lake
Round trip: 7.2 miles / 11.6 km
Elevation: 9,475′ -10,630′ (+1,155′)/ 2,888m-3,240m (+352m)

County: Larimer
Agency: National Park
Nat’l Park: Rocky Mountain

Elevation Map (select to enlarge)

GPS Route with Elevation

Video Tour

Trail Directions

Follow the Bear Lake trail for less than 1/2 mile to the Odessa Lake Trail Junction and take the trail to the right. The trail climbs above Bear Lake to the Flattop Mountain trail junction. Continue towards Odessa Lake, climbing through forests and meadows. After approximately 3.5 miles from the trailhead you will see social trails on your left for Lake Helene. The lake is partially concealed from the trail and spurs are fairly easy to miss. If you make a sharp hairpin turn north (right) and begin descending, you’ve passed it.

Two Rivers Lake is near treeline just downstream of Lake Helene. A thick forest and boulder field stand between the main trail and lake, making it easier to walk east from Lake Helene through the forest and meadows.

Trailhead Directions

Mills (9,965′) and Jewel (9,990′) Lake, Front Range

Mills (9,965′) and Jewel (9,990′) Lake, Front Range

Cove on Mills Lake eastern shore

Mills (9,965′) and Jewel (9,990′) Lake, Front Range

Located within Glacier Gorge in Rocky Mountain National Park, Mills and Jewel Lake provide dramatic views of the surrounding peaks. The summer route initially takes you to Alberta Falls, another popular destination in the park.

Mills Lake is named in honor of Enos Mills (1870-1914), who is considered the father of Rocky Mountain National Park.

The view from Mills Lake towards Longs Peak is the image used on one side of the 2006 Colorado State Quarter.

Destination: Mills & Jewel Lake
Trailhead:  Glacier Gorge Trailhead
Round trip: Jewel Lake 6 miles/ 9.6 km
Elevation: 9,240′-9,990′ (+750′) / 2,816 m – 3,045 m (+229 m)

County: Larimer
Agency: National Park Service
Nat’l Park: Rocky Mountain

Elevation Map (select to enlarge)

GPS Route with Elevation

Video Tour

Trail Directions

The winter route was utilized , bypassing Alberta Falls and intersecting with the summer trail about 50 ft from the Loch Trail/Glacier Gorge intersection.

Trailhead Directions

Crater Lake (10,400′) and Mirror Lake (10,325′), Front Range

Crater Lake (10,400′) and Mirror Lake (10,325′), Front Range

Crater Lake with Mt Achonee

Crater Lake (10,400′) and Mirror Lake (10,325′), Front Range

Mirror Lake and Crater lake are found deep in the heart of the Indian Peaks Wilderness. Cascade Falls is a popular destination found along the trail. It is about 4.5 miles in and comprises of multiple waterfalls.

The destination, Crater Lake, sits in a large bowl under Mount Achonee (12,469′), Lone Eagle Peak (11,920′) and several unnamed 12,000′ peaks. Peck Glacier and several perennial snowfields can be seen clinging to the steep terrain west of Lone Eagle Peak. This trail is rated as moderate, but if done in a single day the mileage would make this a difficult hike.

The Indian Peaks Wilderness encompasses over 50 lakes 133 miles of trails, with many other beautiful destinations such as Mt Audubon and Mitchell Lake.

Destination: Crater & Mirror Lake
Trailhead: Monarch Lake Trailhead
Round trip: Crater Lake 15 miles/ 24.1 km
Elevation: 8,365′-10,400′ (+2,035′) / 2,550 m – 3,170 m (+620m)

County: Grand
Agency: U.S. Forest Service
Nat’l Forest: Arapaho
Nat’l Wilderness: Indian Peaks

Elevation Map (select to enlarge)

GPS Route with Elevation

Video Tour

Trail Directions

The trail begins along the west shore of Monarch Lake. The trail is level as it follows the northern shore of the lake. There are occasional switchbacks as the trail follows Buchanan Creek through pine, aspen, and spruce forests. There are several waterfalls along Buchanan Creek and later along Cascade Creek, including Cascade Falls.

There are two trail junctions, both of which are clearly marked. At ~3.5 miles stay right on the Cascade Trail at the junction for Buchanan Pass Trail. At the junction ~6.5 miles, stay right to head toward Crater Lake. The trail to the left continues to Pawnee Pass Trail. After a short climb you’ll come to an open meadow with a large boulder field on the left-hand side. The trail crosses a large flat rock bed and is marked by 5-6 cairns. After following the cairns back onto the clearly defined trail, several steep switchbacks take you up to the basin.

The trail appears to end at Mirror Lake as you walk around the side (right) of the lake, but the trail picks up on the west side of Mirror Lake and takes you to Crater Lake, a very short distance.

Trailhead Directions