Create an account

Start your adventure today.


    Already a member? Login

    Black Canyon to Dark Mountain Hike

    This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
    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.
    17.2 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.
    803 m
    User Ratings
    These ratings are completed by users who have completed this trail and not subject to reviews by 10Adventures.
    Be the first to add a review!
    Directions to Trailhead

    The Black Canyon to Dark Mountain Trail exhibits the diversity of the Colorado wilderness as it guides hikers through the arid terrain of the Lumpy Ridge Area. This adventure reveals several unique geological features like the Twin Owls, Balanced Rock, Keyhole Rock, and Gem Lake.

    Download the 10Adventures App

    View Black Canyon to Dark Mountain Hike on Map

    View Map

    Join our newsletter

    Get a weekly dose of discounts and inspiration for adventure lovers

    Route Description for Black Canyon to Dark Mountain Hike

    Immerse yourself in the wilderness and reconnect with nature along the Black Canyon to Dark Mountain Trail. This path guides adventurers through luxuriant meadows and dense tree coverage, revealing impressive Front Range views. This diversity of the terrain means diverse weather; thus, we recommend wearing layers as protection against inclement and windy conditions. Wear microspikes or snowshoes in the autumn or winter months to aid in the navigation of the likely icy terrain. Located within the boundaries of the Rocky Mountain National Park, visitors are required to purchase a pass.

    Begin your hike along the Black Canyon to Dark Mountain Trail from the Gem Lake Trailhead. From here, track northwest along the Lumpy Ridge Trail. At the first intersection, keep left and you will be diverted onto the Black Canyon Trail. Hike this meadowed path along the Black Canyon Creek as it gradually ascends below the timberline. Climb up the now forested path and at the next junction, turn right onto the Dark Mountain Trail. Hike through the mountain saddle and revel in the sights of Dark Mountain looming above.

    At the next junction, track the Cow Creek Trail briefly before merging onto the Gem Lake Trail. As you venture the Gem Lake Trail, you will be granted views of the Balanced Rock and Longs Peak towering in the distance. This route will guide you down to Gem Lake and back to the trailhead, marking the end of your adventure.

    Getting to the Black Canyon to Dark Mountain Hike Trailhead

    The Black Canyon to Dark Mountain Hike departs from the Gem Lake Trailhead off Lumpy Ridge Road.

    Route Information

    • Backcountry Campground

      Designated Dispersed Campsites, view details here.

    • When to do


    • Pets allowed


    • Family friendly


    • Route Signage


    • Crowd Levels


    • Route Type


    Black Canyon to Dark Mountain Hike Elevation Graph

    Weather Forecast

    Check Area Weather

    Black Canyon to Dark Mountain Hike Reviews

    Add a comment

    You must be logged in to post a comment.

    Nearby Trails

    Nearby Regions

    Get travel inspiration and discounts

    Join our weekly travel newsletter