For the first 12 miles this interesting hike follows the Wyoming Trail north along the crest of the Continental Divide. Then, after passing just 280 feet below the summit of Mount Ethel, it turns east to descend past the Slide and Rainbow Lakes. Rainbow Lake is particularly impressive: at nearly 100 acres in size, it is the largest lake in the Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area. Although the total amount of elevation gain for this hike is nearly 3,000 feet, it is not particularly strenuous. Most of the gain is realized along the 12-mile segment of trail that follows the Continental Divide where, although there is a great deal of up and down, none of the grades are particularly steep. I would classify the hike as long but relatively easy, with plenty of rewards to justify your effort. The trail passes six very scenic lakes, and the variety of landscapes range from pristine alpine tundra to dense conifer forest.
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Directions to: Wyoming Trailprint directions
Trail Statistics & Information
|Nearby City||Steamboat Springs|
|Elevation Gain||2,950 ft|
|Skill Level||Mostly well marked and well maintained.|
|Season||Midsummer through mid-fall. The higher parts of the trail are usually covered with snow from mid-November through early July.|
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