Find Your Next Adventure

Or leave the current defaults



Quick Trip Search
Colorado Mountain Club
Welcome,   Log OutMember Login •  Contact Us
Home » Calendar » EventDetails

Trip Details

Date Friday  7/9/2021
End Date Sunday  7/11/2021
Group Denver
Event Title BPX Backpack, Seven Lakes, Mount Zirkel Wilderness, 3-day Out and Back
Start Time 6:00 AM
Status Complete
Leader Randall Blosser
Member Price Free
Available Participants Standby
Waitlist Participants 2
Type Trip
Trip Type Backpack
Classification Moderate 
Trail Mileage 12.6
Elevation Gain 2300
Driving Distance 330


Those carpooling can meet at Wooly Mammoth PnR at 6am. That should give time for travel to Big Creek Lake by 10am to meet up with trip leader at trail head. Alternate is to stay in very nice Big Creek Campground or surrounding primitive camping the night before.

For more info Contact

Randy Blosser


There is no cell phone connection at trailhead. Please send text message when passing through Walden or before so trip leader knows your ETA. 


Description: This is a moderate trip to seven alpine lakes in the Mount Zirkel Wilderness area with optional day to hang out at lakes or climb Red Elephant. The trip starts at the Big Creek Campground and Seven Lakes TH. The first one mile is an interpretive trail which leads to upper Big Creek Lake. The 2016 Beaver Creek Fire burned over 38,000 acres, including the first three miles along this trail.  A juvenile was charged with the arson in connection with starting the fire at the nearby Beaver Creek primitive camping area. The forest service has cleared dangerous trees near the trail, but caution should be used during high winds. The standing burned trees are quite beautiful, many with the charred bark peeled back and leaving contrasting color stripes. Many flowers grow in the sunlight areas and wildlife has returned -– watch for moose, bear, bald eagles. The upper Big Creek Lake is only a short distance off the trail and a good place for a break and bird viewing.

Itinerary:Day 1 – Approximately 2 1/4 miles from the TH is Big Creek Falls and the Zirkel Wilderness Area boundary. The next ¾ mile is relatively flat before hitting the edge of the burn area and starting the big climb up to the high country. Take a well-deserved rest at the top of the switchbacks and enjoy the view out to North Park and the nearby flank of Red Elephant. Follow the ridge and gradually ascend through thick subalpine forest with some meadows and marshy areas. At the saddle the trail turns sharply south and starts the final climb to the lakes. Stay left at the unmarked junction with the Buffalo Ridge trail, making sure to note this junction for return trip. Cross a small creek and climb to the tundra and view of the seven lakes. Many camping areas exist but ones too close to the water are permanently closed. The southwest most two lakes offer ample flat dry areas for camping and are good starting points for next optional day hike. (6.3 miles, 2,000 feet up and 300 down).

Day 2 – Day hike to summit of Red Elephant Mountain, 11,552 feet. The entire day will be above tree line with no place to retreat if a thunderstorm comes, so plan accordingly. From camp, simply hike up the hill going south. There is no trail so you will need to wind your way through the krumholtz trees which are thick in places but usually an easy path can be found with a little scouting. For the first two miles hug the ridge, staying close to the eastern edge for the best views of the alpine lakes and valley below. At the high point along the ridge, you will clearly see the path to the top of Red Elephant along the ridge extended eastward with a slight down climb to saddle at 3 miles and before ascending to the summit another 1 ¼ miles away. Return following the same path. (4.0 miles, 1,400 up and 600 down to summit from lake).

Day 3 – Break camp and return to Trailhead retracing route taken on Day 1.(6.3 miles, -2000ft,+300)


BPX is a community of backpackers who respect, trust, help each other, and honor our commitments. By registering for this trip, you are committing to going on the trip and will cancel only for a true emergency. And if absolutely necessary, you agree to cancel as early as possible so another member may take your place on the trip.



COVID-19 and Colorado Mountain Club Programming




Sorry it is past the registration deadline for this event.