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    Arapaho Pass via Monarch Lake Hike

    This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
    Very Hard
    This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
    This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
    21.9 km
    This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
    1,182 m
    User Ratings
    These ratings are completed by users who have completed this trail and not subject to reviews by 10Adventures.
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    Directions to Trailhead

    The Arapaho Pass via Monarch Lake Hike is a challenging point to point trail through the Indian Peaks Wilderness. The primitive trail on the west side of the divide demands careful footing and skillful navigation. This hike is tough, but well worth the effort. One of our favorite things about this hike is the fact that it is one way. You don’t need to backtrack through the sights and trails you’re familiar with, instead each mile in the other direction is a new adventure through the wilderness—how fun!

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    Route Description for Arapaho Pass via Monarch Lake Hike

    Lace up your hiking boots and pack your backpack because we are hiking through the wilderness. This rewarding hike will guide you from the west side of the Continental Divide, all the way over to the east. This trail is primitive and overgrown in sections, so make sure you have a trail GPS handy. Additionally, the hike over the pass is exposed to the elements, wear layers and check the weather prior to your departure to avoid storms. The hike up the Divide is also very rocky and steep, hikers should be prepared to scramble up a loose rocky talus to the summit.

    This hike begins from the Monarch Lake Trailhead in the Arapaho National Recreation Area and ends at the Fourth of July Trailhead. Make sure you have a car waiting for you at the finish line! From the Monarch Lake Trailhead take the Arapaho Pass Trail. Continue along this trail as it guides you through the woodlands. Navigate overgrowth and around any downed trees along the path. As you progress through the trail, you will gradually begin gaining elevation. It will become steep and rocky as you begin to ascend the timberline. Maneuver through the switchbacks until you top the trees. This section of the trail is technical and exposed. As you ascend Arapaho Pass you will have to climb a steep talus field. Scramble over the loose rocks and boulders, following the switchbacks to the pass. Once at the top of the pass you will have amazing views of the surrounding cloud scraping Indian Peaks and the alpine lakes below. Enjoy the view before beginning your descent.

    Now this is the easy part. Continue following the Arapaho Pass Trail down the side of the Divide. Mind your footing as you descend the steep rocky ridge. You will be guided back into the woods for the final segment of your adventure. Maintain along the Arapaho Pass Trail for the entirety of your hike, avoiding any diverging trails at junctions. Hike the trail all the way down to the Fourth of July parking lot.

    Getting to the Arapaho Pass via Monarch Lake Hike Trailhead

    The Arapaho Pass via Monarch Lake Hike departs from the Monarch Lake Trailhead in the Arapaho National Recreation Area off Country Road 6. Passes are required and can be purchased online or on-site.

    Route Information

    • Backcountry Campground

      Yes, permits required.

    • When to do


    • Pets allowed

      Yes - On Leash

    • Family friendly


    • Route Signage


    • Crowd Levels


    • Route Type

      One Way

    Arapaho Pass via Monarch Lake Hike Elevation Graph

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    Arapaho Pass via Monarch Lake Hike Reviews

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