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    This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
    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.
    708 m
    This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
    25.7 km
    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.
    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

    Cascade Creek Trail


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    Table of contents

    The Cascade Creek Trail to Mirror Lake and Crater Lake is truly breathtaking. Pass through lush aspen groves, through meadows, past waterfalls and up to not one, but two crystal clear alpine lakes. Crater Lake and Mirror Lake are set in the foreground of the craggy Indian Peaks, presenting a perfect photo-op. We love this hike, and we think it is one of the most scenic adventures in the Indian Peaks.

    Route Description for Cascade Creek Trail

    We’re telling you—hiking the Cascade Creek Trail up to the Mirror and Crater Lakes is a must on your next trip to Colorado. This trail takes you through the quintessential Colorado terrain up to alpine lakes nestled between jaw-dropping snow-dusted mountains. The Cascade Creek Hike will require hikers to conquer some technical terrain like a steep rock scree and downed trees, but it is all worth it. Not only will you be rewarded with inspiring vistas at the lakes, but the path there is just as scenic.

    Start the Cascade Creek Trail at the Monarch Lake Trailhead. Continue along the trail as it guides you past Monarch Lake and along Buchanan Creek. You will eventually meet a fork in the road, turn right, continuing on Cascade Creek Trail. Along this path, you will pass a stunning waterfall as you gradually gain elevation. Follow along the woodland path until the next junction. Veer right, heading south on Crater Lake Trail. At this point the trail will become steeper as you ascend over the ridge to the lakes. Mirror Lake will be the first one you pass, and Crater Lake is the larger lake at the end of the trail.

    Enjoy the sights of these shimmering lakes flanked by the Indian Peaks. Stay overnight at the lakes’ designated campsites or head back onto the trail. Either way, retrace your steps back to the parking lot when you are ready.

    Getting to the Cascade Creek Trail Trailhead

    The Cascade Creek Trail departs from the Monarch Lake Trailhead off of Country Road 6 in the Arapaho National Recreation Area. Parking permits are required.

    Route Information

    Cascade Creek Trail Elevation Graph

    Weather Forecast

    Check Area Weather


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