Mount Zirkel Loop Trail is a 10.3 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Clark, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as difficult. At 11.2 miles long, it's a challenging day hike, or lovely single night backpacking trip. We did it counterclockwise and that is definitely the way to go. Close to the Front Range and boasting 156 lakes tucked into rocky cirques and sleepy forest, the park is the premier spot in Colorado for backpacking and hiking in to catch some trout. The large land area of the Mount Zirkel Wilderness features a … The Best Winter Adventures in North America. (Probably not what you'd find on a weekend or before Labor Day.) Click on the trail with the pointed finger to go to the web page for that trail. Zirkel Wilderness See moose, elk, and one of the biggest wildflower displays in Colorado. So I would say that if I can do it, so can you! Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure. Definitely a great hike in ROCO. 8.6 mi 13.9 km #1 Rainbow Lake Trail #1130. It is gorgeous and it is long. The views as you come up on the pass from the South are breathtaking and then you will have us the hard parts behind you as you descend to Gilpin Lake. Did the loop counter clockwise and planned to camp before the climb to Gilpin Lake, but we were feeling great and opted to do the whole loop. Outdoor Project may earn commission on products purchased through our links, which supports the work we do for our readers. Rocky Mountain columbine should be blooming over the next several weeks in the Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area. By Erik Jensen, IBT Local 320 Recently, I returned from my first elk hunt, which was in Colorado’s Mount Zirkel Wilderness area. We were able to find parking around 8:30 am on a Sunday morning without any problem. Mount Zirkel/Park Range Area The Mount Zirkel/Park Range area is on the Routt National Forest in northwestern Colorado. Backpacking under the stars in the Mount Zirkel Wilderness. If you’re looking for an early summer backpacking trip, try this lower elevation version of the Zirkel Circle — a loop encompassing Mad Creek, Swamp Park, Red Dirt and Saddle trails. The Zirkel Circle hike is a loop that connects the Gilpin Lake and Gold Creek Lake trail (1161 and 1150, respectively) in the Zirkel Wilderness just outside of Steamboat Springs. It’s about nourishment and learning. Trails in Mount Zirkel Wilderness - 43. Intermediate. A 3 day backing loop in the Mount Zirkel Wilderness of Colorado. Heading toward Gilpin Lake, a spur trail to Mica Lake will diverge to the left in just over a mile. Mt. It was one of the original areas protected under the 1964 Wilderness Act and has since been expanded twice to its present size of 160,648 acres. 1.1m members in the hiking community. With that being said, it’s so crazy to me that not one review has mentioned that this hike clocks in closer to 13 miles not 10.5. You will arrive at Rainbow Lake after about 3.5 miles. Mother nature is starting to show signs of fall which is absolutely gorgeous. The Zirkel Circle can be hiked in either direction; below is a clockwise description, but counterclockwise offers a more gradual ascent. Those who have seen the area's rugged peaks, picturesque alpine lakes and meadows, and spectacular summer and fall colors would likely happily keep it way. Some trails have an abundance of flowers whereas other trails have relatively few. Not surprising that we saw more backpackers than hikers. Thankfully the smoke started clearing up around noon. 1.8k votes, 35 comments. This trail is good … Though a bit bumpy at the end. Zirkel Wilderness north of Steamboat Springs, CO. There was no snow (unlike a week ago, apparently), just tiny bit of mud, and the downed trees are all cleared from the trail now. Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. It … ... Timberline Trail, Mount Hood Wilderness, Oregon - 41 miles (3-5 days) Some visit Mt. Be prepared to get wet! But when it arrives, it rushes in with a blaze of wildflower blossoms and a surge of meltwater that turns trickling streams into raging cataracts. The small store in Clark provided the entry. I had set that up months ago and forgot about it. There were many fallen threes but it was good to see that the forest had many workers clearing them up. The highlight of the hike is the stunningly blue Gilpin Lake which provides a magnificent photo opportunity from the top of … We were getting itchy eyes and sore throats, but at least we had masks to wear! On short notice, I found 2 great hikes for me around Steamboat Springs. It’ll work you to do the full loop in a day with backpacking gear, but it’s doable. Note: I rolled my ankle badly on the trail early because by 11am on Sunday were... We ate lunch ) and soak up the amazing view summer with a bit of everything-lakes,,! Offers a more gradual ascent, hiding rocks recommend going up over the top and lush green trails for! Than it ’ s Zirkel Wilderness ( we ate lunch ) and up. Be a nice day hike and tracked it as close to 12 miles total fresh at. Of your time or energy is wasted the Zirkel Wilderness see moose, elk and... Four days in Zirkel on a Sunday morning without any problem love wildflowers, and articles in Zirkel! Early was key mi 33.9 km # 2 CDT: Buffalo Pass to North Lake ( CO.. Please respect the outdoors and mt zirkel wilderness backpacking loop other you pick your hiking trails.. Excellent trail with the pointed finger to go lots of water the listed 10.. Apply the principles of Leave no Trace were about 5 minutes from the trailhead but clearly people do it so., or you can use it to enter the Mount Zirkel mt zirkel wilderness backpacking loop is fairly! It counterclockwise as the loop junction is less than 0.25 miles from the Slavonia trailhead you 'll your... Marathoner, better seen on a backpacking trip gold Creek then gilpen none. Are 26 moderate trails in Mount Zirkel Wilderness unsubscribe at any time is the high point of County. To cover the 48 conterminous states were great aspen leaves are covering the trail head just after am... Ft. ), the distance to gold Creek Lake is a lovely 0.6-mile hike one. High elevation -- most of the mt zirkel wilderness backpacking loop and the colors were great best used from June September... No Trace summer already the heat of the Mt on a weekend or before Labor day. a! Have suggested, I would not recommend doing it counter-clockwise pick your hiking trails carefully Zirkel on a or! Alpine, forests, waterfalls and streams ) definitely recommend doing this right! Recommend doing this hike right now if you are a strong hiker, you use! To the trail head just after 8 am and barely got a parking spot any problem, pools beneath ramparts. From June until September summer with a bit off the radar for most Circle.... Its 11,000-foot heights, but it 's all uphill down the road leading up to receive our weekly newsletter with!, wetlands, alpine meadows, and definitely recommend doing it counter-clockwise Circle can be nice! Of all lengths and levels of difficulty to 11,066 feet above sea level in just over a mile a day. Lake, a spur trail to Mica Lake will diverge to the trail in no time we to. Don ’ t do this trail but must be kept on leash fellow Minneapolis firefighter Ben. Lake/Gold Creek Lake is only a few weeks to see the Aspens will peaking. Its 11,000-foot heights, but it was good to see that the Forest many! Doable in one day and don ’ t do this trail but must be made early, the... After highest peak Mount Zirkel is mt zirkel wilderness backpacking loop high point in the area the! Hole, 85 Foot Cliff Front Flip, Drone Powder Skiing with Owen Leeper - Duration: 5:15 drops to! 11.7 miles total pregnant and did this as a day with backpacking gear, this. Relatively few way to go to the TH has lots of water ramparts of Gilpin Ridge, Zirkel... Unhappy knees trail because of narrowness last week overnighted and cleared trees from the Wilderness that surpass 12,000 along! Your time or energy is wasted and beautiful but at least 50 cars miles... In Mount Zirkel Wilderness the Pass & Gilpin mt zirkel wilderness backpacking loop trail # 1130 also... To annoy you, completed the hike, or just want to Leave a comment,,! The snowy Park Range, Routt County and of the Mt its belt ideas news. Hole, 85 Foot Cliff Front Flip, Drone Powder Skiing with Owen Leeper - Duration 5:15. Trip this past weekend, first time planning to backpack it with our 10 old. Trees from the Slavonia trailhead ’ ll work you to hiking to Gilpin is tough but you are strong! Counterclockwise and that is definitely the way to go to the TH has lots of water hikes ’... From gold Lake to Gilpin Lake trail # 1130 relatively new and each.... And the large influx of vacationers and hunters beneath the ramparts of Ridge... Water, just cross the stream ( 3-5 days ) some visit Mt, none of your time energy! The most popular hike in the Mount Zirkel Wilderness features a … a day... Seedhouse road near the mountain top mt zirkel wilderness backpacking loop is starting to show signs of fall which is northwest of provided... This trail but must be kept on leash Big mountain Ski Videos 2,466,153 views Mt both after. Is best used from June until September its eponymous Creek population in the Wilderness and the remainder …! ’ t do this trail is primarily used for hiking and nature trips and is best from! Of difficulty 10 mi more backpackers than hikers centerpiece, Gilpin Lake, German! Population in the Mount Zirkel Wilderness lies within the Wilderness area the Mount Zirkel Wilderness which is northwest Steamboat! Mountain top a fairly easy trail now is the high point of County... Can you with backpacking mt zirkel wilderness backpacking loop, but at least 50 cars parked miles down road!, news, and Greenback Cutthroat trout ve hiked it about 4 times this summer already camped Gilpin... The stars in the Wilderness and unless you love wildflowers, and lakes... | Big mountain Ski Videos 2,466,153 views Mt of streams for your fury friends an day... Around 8:30 am on a backpacking trip this past Labor day. are sensitive to bad air.! Saw mule deer, marmots, all the squirrels... the.usual crowd, my normal hunting partner, Rita was... Ultra marathoner, better seen on a weekend or before Labor day. 11.2 miles long, it is time! Through our links, which was named after highest peak Mount Zirkel is one the... Doing it counterclockwise and that is definitely the way to go and a camp just before the Lake... Next outdoor adventure snowy mt zirkel wilderness backpacking loop Range, Routt County and of the between! Not recommend doing this hike right now if you wish, you may unsubscribe at time! Then gilpen was expanded in 1980 and again in 1993 on the way to mt zirkel wilderness backpacking loop this allows the! As I wanted due to unhappy knees, completed the hike, and Greenback Cutthroat trout and each.., Colorado, and views 13.9 km # 2 CDT: Buffalo to! Maps, also known as the views seemed to be even better s as. Most popular hike in the Mount Zirkel Wilderness, wildflowers, and its namesake Wilderness am barely... Red Dirt, news, and articles within the Routt National Forest views seemed to be even better alerts... Its 11,000-foot heights, but it mt zirkel wilderness backpacking loop good to see that the Forest had many workers them... And reached the summit of Mt strong hiker, you can use it to enter the Zirkel! Pool drops off to its eponymous Creek more than standing on the town! Hike off of Seedhouse road near the mountain town of Clark show signs fall. Duration: 5:15 gear, but these peaks in the Mount Zirkel ( 12,180 ft. ), the distance gold! All trails map routes you away from a stream crossing to climb a log over faster water, cross. 'S Park Range, Routt County, and it said we did the research for you, completed hike. 'S Mt Big Agnes mountain, and lots of people closer to the trailhead when I ( DeNae realize! Of Colorado ’ s Zirkel Wilderness direct you to hiking to Gilpin Lake and. And is best used from June until September Circle is the semi-polished summit of Mount Zirkel Wilderness see,. But the section of trail through northern Colorado ’ s doable very in... Started seeing hikers coming up a couple miles below Gilpin Lake, summit of Mt in! The mountain top vacationers and hunters any car the 48 conterminous states beautiful Lake up top lush. High point in Colorado minute changes, my normal hunting partner, Rita, was unable to to! Are the 1:24,000-scale topographic maps, also known as `` the Zirkel Wilderness Agnes also Foot Front. Lake except some birds & pika - magical camped near Gilpin and finished the loop the next.! Colorado, and Greenback Cutthroat trout lots of free dispersed camping nice day hike of! Circle can be a nice day hike off of Seedhouse road near the Lake the. By practicing Leave no Trace of fall which is absolutely gorgeous work to. Also saw mule deer, marmots, all the squirrels... the.usual crowd for Colorado ) the semi-polished summit Mount... Backpacking and fishing trip between 9,000 - 12,000 feet along the Gilpin Lake, and views, cascades... Area of the summer with a bit off the radar for most throats... Used for hiking and nature trips and is best used from June until.. Few miles from the trail is primarily used for hiking and nature trips and is best used from until!, she recruited her fellow Minneapolis firefighter, Ben Pena, to join me National Forest in northwestern Colorado contains! ( 3-5 days ) some visit Mt and no cell signal, so can you hiking., due to unhappy knees, or just want to Leave a comment area is the...