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Tonohutu Creek Trail



13.8 mile 22.2 kilometer point to point


Ascent: 3,681' 1,122 m
Descent: -157' -48 m
High: 12,207' 3,721 m
Low: 8,569' 2,612 m


Avg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 28% (16°)


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Trail shared by Brian Smith

A beautiful portion of the CDT leading all the way from Grand Lake to Flattop Mountain.

Brian Smith

Features Birding · Cave · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife


One of the longer trails in the park, the Tonohutu Creek Trail is a segment of the much longer Continental Divide Trail (CDT). It rises from the shores of Grand Lake, through beautiful forests and meadows, to its terminus at Flattop Mountain.

To start a hike on this trail, navigate to the Tonohutu Trailhead off of West Portal Rd. and head north on the trail. About a mile into the trail, you'll arrive at the Tonohutu Spur which leads to the Kawuneeche Visitor Center. The trail parallels the Tonahutu Creek up a very manageable grade to Big Meadows, 4.2 miles from the visitor center. Just as you enter the aptly named Big Meadows, you'll see a trail that spurs off to the west. This is the Green Mountain Trail which climbs over a saddle and back down into the Kawuneeche Valley. At the north end of the meadows another trail, the Onahu - Tonohutu Connector, will spur off to the left, this time leading to the Onahu Creek Trail.

After you've sufficiently enjoyed the sweeping views on offer in Big Meadows, prepare for the trail's grade to steepen as Tonohutu Creek Trail begins climbing the drainage between Snowdrift Peak and Nakai Peak. Roughly seven miles into the trail you'll come to another major attraction: Granite Falls. There are some backcountry campsites located near the falls.

If continuing past the falls, get ready for your hike to increase in difficulty exponentially. Just past a junction with Haynack Lakes Trail, the Tonohutu Creek Trail starts to climb the southern flank of Sprague Peak. The grade stays steep for about a mile and a half during which time your surroundings will transition from coniferous forest to alpine meadow. Once above tree line, views of surrounding peaks are panoramic. Continue along the alpine trail for another couple of miles to its terminus at Flattop Mountain where the North Inlet Trail and Flattop Mountain Trail come together.

Flora & Fauna

From a base elevation of around 8,500 feet to a maximum of over 12,000 feet, this trail passes through multiple altitudinal zones. The types of flora and fauna present around this trail will transition from those characteristic of the montane zone, into subalpine and finally, the alpine zone.


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Aug 18, 2017
Clay Cutler
Hiked as part of our trip from Grand Lake to Cub Lake/Estes Park
Aug 15, 2017
Darren Jacoby
Jul 9, 2017
David Scott
Aug 29, 2016
Larry Triplett
Jul 12, 2014
Mike J
Beautiful day in Moose country.

Trail Ratings

  3.0 from 1 vote


in Grand Lake


  3.0 from 1 vote
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18 Views Last Month
1,328 Since Jan 15, 2015



Big Meadow
Jan 21, 2015 near Grand Lake, CO
Ptarmigan Point - North Inlet/Tonahutu trail junction.  VERY windy!
Jul 20, 2016 near Grand Lake, CO
Granite Falls.
Jan 19, 2016 near Grand Lake, CO
Granite Falls
Jan 15, 2015 near Grand Lake, CO
Fire and Avalanche
Jan 21, 2015 near Grand Lake, CO
Granite Falls
Jan 15, 2015 near Grand Lake, CO