best hikes in summit

Best Hikes in Summit County

Summit County in Colorado is a haven for hiking enthusiasts, offering a wide range of trails with stunning vistas and breathtaking landscapes. When choosing a hike in Summit County, several factors should be considered to ensure a memorable and enjoyable experience. These factors include the difficulty level, scenic beauty, distance and duration, and accessibility of the trail. A thorough understanding of these factors will help you select the best winter hikes in Utah that best suits your preferences and abilities.

To help you get started, here are some of the best hikes in Summit County:

1. Blue Lakes Trail: Offering crystal-clear alpine lakes and stunning wildflowers, this hike is perfect for nature lovers.

2. Mohawk Lake Trail: This trail takes you through scenic forests, waterfalls, and ends at the picturesque Mohawk Lake.

3. Quandary Peak: As one of Colorado’s famous 14ers, this challenging hike rewards you with breathtaking panoramic views at the best fall hikes near Seattle summit.

4. Lily Pad Lake Trail: A family-friendly hike, this trail leads to a tranquil lake surrounded by lush vegetation.

5. Ptarmigan Peak Trail: With its diverse flora and fauna and panoramic views of the Gore Range, this trail is a must-visit.

When hiking in Summit County, it’s essential to follow some tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. These tips include staying hydrated, dressing appropriately for the weather and terrain, and packing essential gear such as sunscreen, a map, and proper footwear. Keeping these tips in mind will help you make the most of your hiking adventure in Snow Canyon.

Key takeaway:

  • Summit County offers a variety of hikes: With beautiful landscapes and stunning scenery, Summit County has numerous hiking trails to suit every hiker’s preference.
  • Factors to consider when choosing a hike: When selecting a hike in Summit County, it’s important to consider factors such as difficulty level, scenic beauty, distance and duration, as well as accessibility.
  • Top hikes in Summit County: Some of the best hikes in Summit County include Blue Lakes Trail, Mohawk Lake Trail, Quandary Peak, Lily Pad Lake Trail, and Ptarmigan Peak Trail. These trails offer a range of experiences for hikers of different abilities.
  • Tips for hiking in Summit County: It’s essential to stay hydrated, dress appropriately for the weather and terrain, and pack essential gear when embarking on a hike in Summit County. Being prepared ensures a safe and enjoyable hiking experience.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Hike in Summit County

Considering the factors that determine an optimal hiking experience in Summit County, there are a few key aspects worth exploring. From the difficulty level to the scenic beauty, distance and duration, and even accessibility, each factor plays a crucial role in determining the best hike for you. So, let’s dive into these elements to help you make an informed decision and embark on an unforgettable adventure in Summit County.

Difficulty Level

When selecting a hike in Summit County, it is crucial to consider the difficulty level. Every hiker has different experience and fitness levels, so it is important to find a hike that is suitable for your abilities. Here are some factors to keep in mind when evaluating the difficulty level of a hike:

Elevation Gain: The amount of elevation gain is an indication of the difficulty of a hike. Hikes with minimal elevation gain are easier, while those with steep climbs can be more challenging.

Trail Terrain: The condition and type of terrain on the trail can also impact the difficulty level. A well-maintained trail with even footing is generally easier, while trails that require scrambling over rocks or navigating through dense vegetation can be more demanding.

Distance: The length of the hike is another factor to consider. Longer hikes require more endurance and stamina, making them more challenging than shorter ones.

Weather Conditions: The weather conditions on the day of your hike can greatly affect the difficulty level. Hiking in extreme heat, rain, or snow can make the trail more difficult and potentially dangerous.

It is important to assess your own skill level and physical fitness when choosing a hike. Starting with hikes that match your abilities and gradually progressing to more challenging trails can help you gain experience and stamina. By taking the difficulty level into account, you can ensure a rewarding and safe hiking experience in Summit County.

Summit County, established in 1861, is one of the original 17 counties of Colorado. It was named after the surrounding mountain peaks, which makes it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Today, Summit County offers a wide variety of hiking trails, ranging from easy strolls through meadows to challenging treks up towering peaks. With its rich history and breathtaking natural beauty, Summit County is a paradise for hikers waiting to be explored.

Scenic Beauty

When selecting a hike in Summit County, it is important to consider the scenic beauty of the trail. Summit County is renowned for its stunning natural landscapes, so choosing a hike with breathtaking scenery can greatly enhance your outdoor experience. Here are a few trails in Summit County that showcase the region’s scenic beauty:

Blue Lakes Trail: This trail meanders through alpine meadows and offers sweeping panoramic views of the majestic mountains. The highlight of this hike is the mesmerizing Blue Lakes, featuring crystal-clear blue waters that add to the scenic beauty.

Mohawk Lake Trail: This trail guides you to the picturesque Mohawk Lake, hidden among towering peaks and vibrant wildflowers. The views along the trail are nothing short of spectacular, showcasing the true scenic beauty of Summit County.

Quandary Peak: As you ascend Quandary Peak, you will be rewarded with awe-inspiring vistas of the mountains and valleys. On clear days, the view extends all the way to the Continental Divide, further exemplifying the scenic beauty of the area.

Lily Pad Lake Trail: This tranquil trail meanders through a peaceful forest, passing by a serene lake adorned with lily pads. Nature lovers seeking a serene setting will find this spot perfect, as it embodies the scenic beauty of Summit County.

Ptarmigan Peak Trail: This trail offers panoramic views of the Tenmile Range and the Gore Range. Throughout the hike, you will traverse alpine meadows, encounter rocky outcrops, and be treated to stunning vistas at the summit, showcasing the scenic beauty of the region.

When choosing a hike for its scenic beauty, it is important to take into account your fitness level and the trail’s difficulty. Some trails may offer more rewarding views but require a strenuous effort. It is recommended to check the trail conditions and weather forecasts before embarking on your hike. So, put on your hiking boots, get ready to immerse yourself in the scenic beauty of Summit County, and embark on an unforgettable outdoor adventure.

Distance and Duration

Distance and duration are important factors when choosing a hike in Summit County. The following table provides information on the distance and estimated duration of some of the best hikes in Summit County:

Hike Distance (in miles) Duration (in hours)
Blue Lakes Trail 6.8 4-6
Mohawk Lake Trail 6.8 5-7
Quandary Peak 6.75 6-8
Lily Pad Lake Trail 3.5 2-3
Ptarmigan Peak Trail 7.5 6-8

These distances and durations are approximate and vary depending on hiking speed and trail conditions. The provided duration includes time for rest breaks and enjoying the scenery.

Consider your fitness level, hiking experience, and time constraints when choosing a hike based on distance and duration. If you are a beginner or have limited time, shorter hikes like Lily Pad Lake Trail may be more suitable. For those looking for a challenge and have more time, hikes like Quandary Peak or Ptarmigan Peak Trail offer longer distances and durations.

Before hiking, check trail conditions and weather forecasts for safety and enjoyment. Also, pack essentials such as water, snacks, appropriate clothing, and navigation tools to enhance your hiking experience in Summit County.


Accessibility is important when choosing a hike in Summit County. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Trail Conditions: Check the current trail conditions before starting a hike. Some trails may be closed or inaccessible due to weather or maintenance. Consult local authorities or hiking websites for up-to-date information.
  • Trailhead Location: Choose a hike that is easily accessible from your accommodation or the main road. This saves time and effort in reaching the trailhead.
  • Parking Availability: Check if there are parking facilities at the trailhead. Popular hikes may have limited parking during peak seasons. Arriving early or using alternative transportation can help find a spot.
  • Elevation Gain: Be aware of the elevation gain of a hike, as it can impact the trail’s difficulty and accessibility. Steep sections may pose challenges for individuals with mobility issues or those not used to higher elevations.
  • Trail Markers and Signage: Look for hikes with clear Yosemite winter hikes trail markers and signage. Well-marked trails make navigation easier and reduce the risk of getting lost.
  • Amenities: Consider if the trail offers amenities such as restrooms, picnic areas, or water sources. These amenities can enhance your hiking experience and ensure your comfort.

Considering these factors will help you choose a hike in Summit County that suits your abilities and ensures an enjoyable outdoor adventure.

Best Hikes in Summit County

Get ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure as we explore the best hikes in Summit County! From the breathtaking Blue Lakes Trail to the jaw-dropping views of Mohawk Lake Trail, each sub-section of this section promises unique and rewarding experiences. With the stunning Quandary Peak, tranquil Lily Pad Lake Trail, and challenging Ptarmigan Peak Trail also on our list, we’ll uncover the wonders and natural beauty that Summit County has in store for hikers of all levels. Lace up your boots and let’s hit the trails!

Blue Lakes Trail

The Blue Lakes Trail in Summit County offers a picturesque and exhilarating hiking experience. This trail is known for its stunning beauty, challenging terrain, and breathtaking views.

The Blue Lakes Trail is a moderate to difficult hike, with steep sections and rocky terrain. Hikers should come prepared with appropriate footwear and a good level of fitness. The trail is approximately 6 miles round trip, providing hikers with a rewarding adventure.

As you ascend the trail, you are surrounded by the majestic beauty of the Rocky Mountains. The trail takes you through alpine meadows, dense forests, and leads to the crystal-clear Blue Lakes. These lakes have a vibrant shade of blue, created by the reflection of the surrounding mountains.

The Blue Lakes Trail is accessible from the town of Breckenridge. It is recommended to start early in the morning to avoid crowds and have enough time to complete the hike. Be sure to bring plenty of water and snacks to stay hydrated and energized during your journey.

When hiking the Blue Lakes Trail, take the time to appreciate the breathtaking scenery and immerse yourself in nature. This trail is a must-visit for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers seeking a memorable hiking experience in Summit County.

Mohawk Lake Trail

Mohawk Lake Trail is one of the best hikes in Summit County, Colorado. The trail is moderately difficult, around 6.9 miles long, with steep inclines and rocky terrain. Hikers will enjoy stunning alpine scenery, including mountain peaks, forests, and wildflowers in the summer.

The round trip typically takes 4-6 hours, depending on your fitness level and pace. It’s important to allocate enough time to fully enjoy the surroundings. The trailhead is near Breckenridge, but parking can be limited, especially during peak seasons, so arrive early.

To prepare for the hike, stay hydrated by bringing enough water. Aim to drink one liter per hour to prevent dehydration. Dress in layers to adapt to changing weather conditions and wear sturdy hiking boots.

Pack essential gear like a map, compass, sunscreen, insect repellent, snacks, first aid kit, and a hiking pole for added safety and stability.

Pro-Tip: Start early in the morning to avoid crowds and enjoy the magical atmosphere created by the early morning sunlight.

By following these guidelines and being well-prepared, you can maximize your hike on the Mohawk Lake Trail and have a memorable adventure in Summit County.

Quandary Peak

Quandary Peak is a top hike in Summit County, Colorado. This mountain offers stunning views and a challenging adventure for hikers. Here are the steps to consider when hiking:

1. Prepare physically: Quandary Peak stands at 14,265 feet, so you need to be in good physical condition. Regular exercise and cardio activities will help prepare your body for the high altitude.

2. Check the weather: The mountain weather changes rapidly, so check the forecast before you go. Be prepared for sudden temperature drops and possible thunderstorms.

3. Pack essentials: Bring water, snacks, a first aid kit, sunscreen, and a map. It is also recommended to bring trekking poles for stability and to reduce stress on your knees during the descent.

4. Start early: To avoid thunderstorms and crowds, begin your hike early in the morning. Sunrise hikes offer the best time to enjoy great views and a peaceful atmosphere.

5. Familiarize yourself with the trail: Study the map and know the route before you start. Quandary Peak has a well-marked trail, but it’s always better to be prepared.

6. Take breaks: Quandary Peak is a challenging hike, especially for those not used to high altitudes. Take frequent breaks to catch your breath and acclimate to the altitude.

7. Watch for altitude sickness: Hiking at high altitude can lead to sickness, which can be dangerous. Watch for symptoms like headache, nausea, dizziness, and fatigue. If you experience severe symptoms, descend immediately.

8. Enjoy the view: Once you reach the summit, take a moment to soak in the panoramic views of the mountains. It’s a rewarding experience and a great opportunity for winter hikes in Banff.

9. Descend carefully: The descent can be as challenging as the ascent. Take your time and watch your step as there may be loose rocks and steep sections. Use trekking poles for stability.

10. Leave no trace: Like any hike, practice leave no trace principles. Take all your trash and stay on the designated trail to respect the environment.

Hiking Quandary Peak is an incredible experience that requires preparation, physical fitness, and respect. By following these steps, you can have a safe and enjoyable hike to the top of Quandary Peak.

Lily Pad Lake Trail

The Lily Pad Lake Trail is a picturesque hiking trail in Summit County. It offers stunning views and a peaceful atmosphere, making it popular with nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

The trail is moderately difficult with a gradual incline and rocky sections. It is suitable for hikers of all skill levels, including families with children. The trail spans approximately 3 miles round trip and can be completed in about 2-3 hours, depending on your pace.

During the hike, you’ll enjoy breathtaking views of the mountains and valleys. The trail takes you through alpine meadows, pine trees, and alongside a serene lake with lily pads. It’s a perfect spot for photography or enjoying nature’s tranquility.

Accessibility to the Lily Pad Lake Trail is convenient, with a well-marked trailhead and ample parking. The trail is well-maintained and clearly marked, ensuring a safe and enjoyable hiking experience.

When embarking on the Lily Pad Lake Trail, come prepared with appropriate footwear and clothing for changing weather conditions. Bring plenty of water to stay hydrated. Remember to leave only footprints and take only pictures to preserve the trail’s natural beauty.

Embark on the Lily Pad Lake Trail and immerse yourself in the beauty of Summit County‘s landscapes. It’s an adventure you won’t want to miss.

Ptarmigan Peak Trail

The Ptarmigan Peak Trail in Summit County is a challenging and rewarding hike. Here are some important details to consider:

– Difficulty level: This trail is rated as moderate to difficult with steep sections and rocky terrain.

– Scenic beauty: Enjoy breathtaking views of mountains, valleys, alpine meadows, and wildflowers.

– Distance and duration: The trail is approximately 6 miles round trip and takes 4-6 hours depending on your pace and breaks.

– Accessibility: The trailhead is near Silverthorne with a parking lot available.

Tips for hiking the

Stay hydrated: Bring enough water for the entire hike.

Dress appropriately: Wear sturdy hiking boots, layered clothing, sunscreen, and a hat.

Pack essential gear: Bring a map, compass, first aid kit, snacks, and a cell phone for emergencies.

By considering these factors and taking necessary precautions, you can enjoy a memorable hike on the Ptarmigan Peak Trail in Summit County.

Tips for Hiking in Summit County

Tips for Hiking in Summit County - Best Hikes in Summit County

Photo Credits: Jasonexplorer.Com by Jose Thomas

With the stunning landscapes and breathtaking trails, hiking in Summit County is a nature enthusiast’s dream. In this section, we’ll uncover valuable tips to make your hiking experience in Summit County a memorable one. From staying hydrated to dressing appropriately and packing essential gear, we’ve got you covered. So lace up your boots and get ready to explore the magnificent trails of Summit County like a pro!

Stay Hydrated

Prioritize staying hydrated when hiking in Summit County for an enjoyable and safe outdoor experience. Consider the following:

  • Stay hydrated by carrying enough water based on hike length, difficulty, and weather conditions. Aim for at least 0.5 liters per hour of hiking.
  • Remember to take regular sips of water, don’t wait until you’re thirsty. Stay hydrated to maintain fluid balance.
  • Ensure you stay hydrated by using electrolyte solutions or sports drinks to replenish water and essential minerals lost through sweating. Prevent dehydration and muscle cramps.
  • Keep an eye on the color of your urine to gauge hydration. Clear or light yellow urine indicates proper hydration, while dark yellow or amber-colored urine may mean dehydration.
  • Make sure to hydrate before, during, and after the hike. Start hydrating in advance and replenish any lost fluids.

Pro-tip: Bring a reusable water bottle to easily refill at water sources along the trail and ensure access to clean drinking water.

Dress Appropriately

When hiking in Summit County, it is important to dress appropriately for safety and comfort. Consider the following tips when choosing your hiking attire:

  1. Wear suitable footwear: Invest in hiking boots or trail shoes with ankle support and a sturdy sole. This will ensure the protection of your feet from rocks, roots, and uneven terrain.

  2. Dress in layers: Since Summit County’s weather is unpredictable, it is advisable to layer your clothing. Begin with a moisture-wicking base layer, then add an insulating layer, and finally, finish with a waterproof and windproof outer layer.

  3. Choose lightweight and breathable fabrics: It is recommended to opt for nylon or polyester fabrics that wick away moisture and dry quickly. Avoid wearing cotton as it retains sweat and can make you feel cold.

  4. Protect yourself from the sun: To stay protected from the sun, wear a wide-brimmed hat, apply sunscreen with a high SPF, and don’t forget to wear sunglasses.

  5. Wear appropriate accessories: To prevent blisters, wear sturdy socks and consider using gaiters to keep debris out of your shoes. Bring gloves and a buff or scarf for cold weather protection.

By dressing appropriately, you can fully enjoy a safe hike in Summit County’s beautiful trails.

Pack Essential Gear

When hiking in Summit County, it is important to pack essential gear to ensure safety and comfort. Here is a comprehensive list of the necessary items:

  • Hiking boots: Invest in sturdy boots that provide ankle support and grip on various types of terrain.
  • Backpack: Choose a backpack with enough capacity to hold water, snacks, clothes, and first aid supplies.
  • Water bottle: It is crucial to stay hydrated while hiking. Carry a reusable water bottle and aim to consume at least 2 liters of water per day.
  • Navigation tools: When exploring Summit County’s hiking trails, always carry a map and a compass for guidance.
  • Sun protection: Shield yourself from harmful rays by wearing sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat.
  • Extra clothing layers: Prepare for changing weather conditions by packing a lightweight jacket, rain poncho, hat, and gloves.
  • Snacks: Refuel your energy levels with high-energy snacks such as granola bars, trail mix, and fresh fruits.
  • First aid kit: It is essential to be prepared for minor injuries. Include bandages, antiseptic ointment, and pain relievers in your first aid kit.
  • Flashlight or headlamp: When hiking in low-light conditions, it is advisable to carry a flashlight or headlamp for visibility.
  • Emergency whistle: Always carry an emergency whistle to alert others in dangerous or emergency situations.

By packing these essential items, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable hiking experience in Summit County. Remember to check trail requirements and adjust your gear accordingly for any additional needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some of the best hiking trails in Summit County, Ohio?

The Wetmore Bridle Trail is the most popular trail in Summit County, Ohio. It offers great hiking, walking, and backpacking opportunities. The Meadow Loop Trail has the highest elevation climb among all the trails, while the Deep Lock Quarry Trail has the least amount of climbing. The Cuyahoga Valley Trail is the longest trail in Summit County, spanning 8.4 km. For a shorter adventure, the Forest Point Trail is only 1.2 km long.

What are some popular hiking trails in Summit County, Colorado?

Summit County, Colorado offers a variety of hiking trails with stunning views. Some popular hikes in the area include Quandary Peak, Bald Mountain, Greys and Torreys Peaks, Mohawk Lakes Trail, Peak 1 of the Tenmile Range, and Buffalo Mountain. These trails range from easy walks to physically demanding hikes and offer different levels of difficulty.

Are there any 14,000 foot peak hikes in Summit County, Colorado?

Yes, there are several 14,000 foot peaks accessible from Summit County, Colorado. Grays and Torreys Peaks are two popular fourteener peaks that can be hiked together on an eight-mile loop. Quandary Peak is another solitary hike that features a 3,500-foot elevation gain across three-plus miles.

What are some family-friendly hikes in Summit County, Colorado?

Summit County, Colorado offers some family-friendly hikes suitable for beginners. The Sawmill Trail Loop near Breckenridge offers a picnic spot by the reservoir. The Swan Mountain Road hike is an easy 0.6-mile loop with a beautiful view of Lake Dillon. The Hike to Old Dillon Reservoir takes you to a reservoir built in the 1930s, which is a great spot for families to explore.

Is there offline access available for hiking locations in Summit County?

Yes, the Hiiker subscription offers offline access to various locations in Summit County, Ohio such as history, town, healthcare, and shelter spots. This can be useful for hikers who want to have access to information even when they are in areas with limited or no internet connectivity.

What are some scenic hikes in Summit County, Colorado?

Summit County, Colorado offers several scenic hikes with stunning views. The Ptarmigan Trail provides vistas of Summit County, Dillon Reservoir, and surrounding mountains. The Hike or Snowshoe to Rainbow Lakes offers scenic views and can be done in different ways. The Wheeler and Lost Lakes hike provides access to remote lakes and peaks in the Eagle’s Nest Wilderness. These hikes are perfect for nature lovers and those seeking beautiful landscapes.

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