Home | Getting Started | Gift Center | Gear Store | Topo Maps | My Wildernet | Newsletter Signup

Backpacking: Colorado > Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests > Sulphur Ranger District

Quick Facts

Cascade Creek Trail

Beginning Elevation: 8,346 Feet (2601.6 Meters) at Monarch Lake
Difficulty: Difficult
Elevation Gain: 4,195 Feet (1307.7 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 12,541 Feet (3909.3 Meters) at Pawnee Pass
Length, One-way: 10.5 Miles (17.5 Kilometers) to Pawnee Pass
Other Maps: Arapaho Roosevelt National Forest Map
TI Topo Maps: #102 Indian Peaks, Gold Hill; #200 Rocky Mountain National Park
Trail Number: 1
Usage: Heavy
USGS Maps: Monarch Lake

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

The Cascade Creek Trail, #1, begins at Monarch Lake and leads up to Pawnee Pass. It is one of the most heavily used trails in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. It is also one of the most spectacular, offering the traveler a large diversity of attractions. Campsites and fishing are available along the creek. Horses are not allowed past Cascade Falls. Backpackers going up to or over the pass should be prepared for extremely windy and often cold weather, especially in early and late summer.

The trail leads past Hell Canyon and Pawnee Lake. It intersects the Buchanan Pass Trail and the Crater Lake Trail.

Snow is normally present on the trail above the Crater Lake-Cascade junction, and Pawnee Lake is frozen until the end of June. The pass trail is generally free of snow by mid-July. After crossing the pass, the trail can be followed down to Lake Isabelle and Long Lake, on the east side of the Divide.

Directions from Granby: Follow Highway 40 west to Highway 34. Go north on Hwy 34 to Forest Road 125, on the south end of Lake Granby. Follow 125 east to the Monarch Lake Trailhead.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Accessible: Summer through Fall (NOTE: Snow is normally present on the trail above the Crater Lake trail junction and Pawnee Lake is frozen over until the end of June. The trail to the pass normally holds snow until Mid-July.) .

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Filed By: Heidi (Kansas City, MO)
Time of Day: 9a - 1p
Length of Time: 4 hr
Difficulty: Moderate
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Hike around Monarch Lake is very easy, with beautiful view of water, trees, islands within the Lake, and distant mountains. Also saw ground squirrels, and wild asters. Got steep just before reaching the falls. Definitely worth the climb - the view from above is a commanding view of mountains and pines below. Simply breathtaking!
Conditions: A few rock slides and a narrow creek to cross. Would recommend having a hiking stick to take some strain off joints during the hike.
Water Availability: No water of facilities en route. Would recommend packing water, snacks, and t.p. (Water above the falls is near the spring source. Couldn't resist drinking some. Tasted cool and looked clear. Did not have any after effects :-)
Recommended Clothing: Light jacket or long-sleeve shirt for cool morning air. Will probably be in short-sleeves by the return if done this time of year.
Suggested Accessories: Might have been nice to have along some binoculars to scope out the distant mountains from above the falls. This is a long walk (maybe 7-8 miles roundtrip). Hang in there!

Filed By: Steve Brooks (Dallas, TX)
Time of Day: 9:30 AM
Length of Time: Two Days
Difficulty: Moderate
Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Truly a beautiful experience. For a 54 year old flatlander, like myself. I suggest making a base camp at Shelter Rock and then hike the rest of the trail as a day trip. Stop for lunch at Crater Lake and take in the beauty before attempting to reach Pawnee Pass. Lots of awesome creek crossings and waterfalls and a recent winter avalanche field. Wildflowers were in abundance. Met the nicest people on the trail. Please remember to Leave No Trace as others have not. Thank You
Conditions: Encountered two avalanche areas. Both were cleared. One old log creek crossing is probably not going to make it another year.
Water Availability: Plenty of water and lots of places to restock.
Suggested Accessories: Take the usual gear. A single hiking stick for balance on the way down was useful. No bears encountered.

Difficulty: Moderate
Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: One of the most beautiful trails around. Spectacular waterfalls (there are others besides the impressive Cascade Falls) coupled with incredible mountain scenery (see Crater Lake and Lone Eagle Peak) make this an unforgettable overnight trip.

Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Backpacking Cascade Creek, Buchanan Pass, Crater Lake and connecting trails.
ICON Cold Water Fishing Cascade Creek and area lakes.
ICON Hiking & Walking Cascade Creek, Buchanan Pass, Crater Lake and connecting trails.
ICON Viewing Scenery Cascade Falls, Pawnee Lake, Pawnee Pass and other areas along trail.

Related Activities
Buchanan Pass Trail - The Buchanan Pass Trail, #2, is located east of Granby and Monarch Lake. It leads from Cascade Creek to Buchanan Pass.

More Information

Visitor Information:

Grand Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, 928 Grand Avenue , Grand Lake, CO, 80447, Phone: 800-531-1019


About Wildernet |  Email to a Friend  |  Disclaimer |  Privacy |  Contact Us  | Comments & Suggestions
Advertisers & Sponsors |  Owners & Operators |  Tourism Promotors
©1995-2019 Interactive Outdoors Inc. All rights reserved.