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Shadow Mountain

  4.3 ( 8 ) Favorite


9.9 mile 15.9 kilometer out and back


Ascent: 1,798' 548 m
Descent: -1,798' -548 m
High: 9,861' 3,006 m
Low: 8,311' 2,533 m


Avg Grade: 7% (4°)
Max Grade: 37% (20°)


No Dogs
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Trail shared by Brian Smith

A west-side hike that rewards with stellar views of the divide, Grand and Shadow Mountain Lakes.

Brian Smith

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife


Visit an early fire lookout resting near the summit of Shadow Mountain and experience a fantastic view of Shadow Mountain Lake, Grand Lake, and Lake Granby. This hike can
be accessed from either the Grand Lake or Shadow Mountain Dam trailheads for
the East Shore Trail.

Need to Know

A small fee is required for parking in the Arapaho National Recreation Area.


Follow the East Inlet Trail to the south along the eastern shore of Shadow Mountain Lake. This is a mostly flat trail that offers serene views across the lake. Just under two miles from the TH, you'll reach a junction with the Shadow Mountain Trail. Turn left and start up the Shadow Mountain Trail. The trail contours up the western flank of Shadow Mountain at a very manageable grade. Fairly continuous dense forest make this a trail with with fairly limited views. Every so often, you'll catch a glimpse of Grand or Shadow Mountain Lake through the canopy.

Eventually, you'll reach a sign that directs you to the fire tower. Follow the trail to the fire tower and climb the tower for stunning panoramic views. To the west, the Never Summer Range dominates the horizon. You'll also have great views of Grand, Shadow Mountain and Granby Lakes from the tower.

From here, retrace your steps back to the TH.

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Family Friendly, ADA Accessible, Flora & Fauna, History & Background


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Jul 14, 2019
Vincent Chiu
Tried coming back via Range Meadows trail but it was flooded partway. Also confirmed my new sunglasses are too tight above the ears and exacerbatin… 10.5mi — 5h 30m
Dec 27, 2018
Mike G
Staring temp. at trailhead was 4 deg. My insulated water hose was freezing. Did not come across a single person. Glorious.
Sep 22, 2018
David Parrott
Great day - 30 minutes on top for relaxed lunch, sitting in the sun. Many deadfall blocking trail early on, but volunteers were cleaning them up! 9.6mi — 6h 30m
Sep 15, 2018
Brandon D’Acquisto
Jul 24, 2018
Genevieve D'Acquisto
May 13, 2018
David Higgins
Lots of fallen trees, but an otherwise easy day on the mountain
Nov 18, 2017
David Schendt
Aug 20, 2016
Ann Grenzenbach

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 8 votes


in West Side


  4.3 from 8 votes
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in West Side


in Colorado


172 Views Last Month
3,512 Since Jan 30, 2015



Shadow Mountain and Granby from the Lookout with permission from Hobbes7714 Photo Credit: Andrew Wahr  Link: https://twitter.com/WahrAndrew
Jan 15, 2015 near Grand Lake, CO
Trees and Sun up to the Lookout with permission from Hobbes7714 Photo Credit: Andrew Wahr  Link: https://twitter.com/WahrAndrew
Jan 14, 2015 near Grand Lake, CO
Shadow Mountain Fire Lookout
Nov 23, 2017 near Grand Lake, CO
Summer's view over Shadow and Granby. with permission from Hobbes7714 Photo Credit: Andrew Wahr  Link: https://twitter.com/WahrAndrew
Aug 15, 2016 near Grand Lake, CO


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