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Fall Creek Trail #2001

Intermediate/Difficult
 4.5 (4)

A favorite for backpackers and anglers, this trail also boasts wildflowers, alpine lakes, and great scenery.


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Map Key

8.7

Miles

14.0

KM

Point to Point

12,565' 3,830 m

High

10,342' 3,152 m

Low

2,545' 776 m

Up

1,715' 523 m

Down

9%

Avg Grade (5°)

27%

Max Grade (15°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Commonly Backpacked · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Tigiwon Road (to get to the Half Moon Trailhead) is closed annually from May 1 to June 21 and opens on June 21 if the road is snow-free by that date. Camping is okay in the Holy Cross Wilderness, but you must self-register at the trailhead and carry the permit during the visit.

Description

This description follows the trail from north to south, but the route can be done in either direction. From the busy Half Moon Trailhead, proceed south through initially non-descript woodland with a rocky/rooty trail surface. Soon, things become more interesting as brief Gore Range views appear and the trail crosses several sizeable ravines scoured by recent landslides. After a few small stream crossings, prepare to be dazzled by large meadows brimming with wildflowers. Late July and August are prime season for the widest variety of wildflowers here.

Resist the urge to bed down among the colorful flowers and continue the steady ascent. Large glacial boulders and erratics are scattered along this valley. At about 2.3 miles, you'll reach a large, shady trail junction where the Notch Mountain Trail #2000 leaves toward the west. Continue straight (southwest), contouring along the hillside and crossing a few small streams as the trail rolls up and down through this area. Soon Lake Constantine appears across picturesque flower-studded fields. This large lake features excellent fishing, and makes a popular turnaround point for a hike and many backpackers overnight here. The various meadows, marshes, and rocky points are fun to explore.

The remainder of the Fall Creek Trail between Lake Constantine and Hunky Dory Lake gets much less traffic. Continue along the west side of Lake Constantine, and at about 4.5 miles, go past the trail up to Tuhare Lakes. Cross Fall Creek and begin the much steeper climb up to Fall Creek Pass (12,580 ft). Grind up through high alpine terrain and beauteous fields chock full of wildflowers and marmots. Descend from the pass and head through more ruggedly cliffed-out landscape, all still above treeline. The west side of the pass is home to the small, rocky Seven Sisters Lakes, each on its own small stair-step of land.

Follow French Creek downvalley until reaching the extremely pretty Hunky Dory Lake situated next to a large talus slope. Vegetation finally returns in the form of trees and wildflowers. After Hunky Dory Lake, the grade mellows considerably before the trail ends at the Hunky Dory Trailhead.

Flora & Fauna

Marmots, pika, lupine, aster, Indian paintbrush, Rocky Mountain columbine, spruce, and fir trees await on this scenic trail.

Contacts

Shared By:

Megan W

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 4 votes

#6149

Overall
  4.5 from 4 votes
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4 Star
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Trail Rankings

#482

in Colorado

#6,149

Overall
201 Views Last Month
1,580 Since Aug 6, 2017
Intermediate/Difficult

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67%
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Photos

Rocky Mountain Columbine along the Fall Creek Trail
Aug 6, 2017 near Minturn, CO
Big view the whole way up
Jul 9, 2018 near Minturn, CO
Easy strolling on the Fall Creek Trail
Aug 6, 2017 near Minturn, CO

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Check-Ins

Aug 9, 2019
Atsuko Ohtake
Left my Katadyn water filter at Half Moon Trailhead! Please contact me if found
Aug 8, 2019
Atsuko Ohtake
Beautiful! Had drenching rain for 6-7 hours just after finding a nice campsite at Hunky Dory Lake. Stuck in tent till the morning
Jul 6, 2019
Thomas Parsons
Parked at Half Moon. Lots of snow by Lake Constantine. Didn't make it to Tuhares lakes bc of snow. Great hike. 9mi — 6h 30m
Sep 17, 2018
Dirk Stugg
Sep 4, 2018
Natalie Grybiene
A breathtakingly beautiful hike. The pass is fairly challenging but so worth it. 8.7mi
Jul 6, 2018
Luke Snow
Backpacking trip up to Constantine Lake and back. Stunning views the whole way up. The lake was fairly crowded but we found a secluded spot. 8.8mi — 32h 00m