Are you looking for a nice long hike in the mountains where you can get a good workout with your dog and see some fantastic glacier lakes? The Saint Vrain Glacier Trail is a tough trail with rugged terrain, and is a little over 17 miles out and back because you have to travel on the Buchanan Pass Trail from the Middle Saint Vrain Trailhead to get to the Glacier Trail, making for a furbulous day adventure!
You and your canine kiddo will start on Buchanan Pass Trail at the Middle Saint Vrain Trailhead, which you will find at the western end of the Camp Dick Campground on Middle Saint Vrain Road (Forest Road 114). The Buchanan Pass Trail travels first along the Middle Saint Vrain Road and meanders along the Middle Saint Vrain Creek in the midst of mature pine, aspens, and fir trees. This trail travels into the Indian Peaks Wilderness, and at about 5 miles in, intersects with the Saint Vrain Glacier Trail. You will have to cross the creek a couple of times, which may be difficult during heavy rains.
The Saint Vrain Glacier Trail then curves northwest through a spruce flat where you can get a glimpse of the Sawtooth Mountain, then continues back into the taller trees again. When you get to the Timberline Falls, which are beautiful after a moderate to heavy rain, you have gone about 3.5 miles. You and your poochie can take a break at the falls to get some pawesome pictures.
Getting back on the trail, you will go another 1.5 miles to get to the Saint Vrain Glacier Trail where you will keep right. The climb will get steeper here, and boulders are everywhere, so plan accordingly. Still following the creek, the trail crosses over it several more times, sometimes with bridges, and sometimes across logs, rocks, or just wading.
Climbing to the top of the trail requires some skill and bravery, as well as a GPS in some areas where the path seems to have been grown over since many hikers turn back here. However, if you want to see the Lake Gibraltar at the end of the hike, you will have to find your way to the top of the hill where it runs into a pawsitively lovely valley with a half dozen small lakes, rock walls, and remnants of glaciers.
This is another furrific place to take a break before you and your pooch head back to the trailhead at Camp Dick. Be sure to keep your canine kid on a leash and watch out for elk, moose, and mule deer, which do not see many humans or dogs up there. The wildflowers are absolutely amazing as well during the spring and summer. Be sure to bring water, snacks and clean up bags for the journey.
You and your pup will love this hike and will want to come back and do it again.