Monarch Lake Loop via Cascade Creek Trail
This is an easy 4 mile loop trail in Arapaho National Recreation Area.
Starting at a combined trail head and ranger station, this trail loops around Monarch Lake on a fairly level trail. There are the typical ups and downs along the route, but total elevation change for the hike is 148ft over the 4 miles.
The trail is mixed packed gravel, forest path, and stony path. Can be hiked in sturdy sandals and trail runners.
The route offers quiet shady forest, scenic views across the lake, stream crossings (bridges available) and a variety of flowers, wild raspberries, and the occasional moose sighting.
The trailhead coincides with Crater Lake via Buchanan Pass Trail, and Cascade Creek Trails
This trail goes by Monarch Lake.
Parking is a fee area ($5 2019) adjacent to the trailhead. Parking pass kiosks are available along the access road along Lake Granby, but are sometimes out of service. You do not have to go back into Granby to get a pass, as the trailhead is manned at a Ranger Hut and sells passes on site. Maps are also available at the ranger station.
There is an outhouse at the trailhead that is well maintained and stocked with paper.
There are picnic tables around the trailhead by the lake for lunch/snacking after the hike
Kids will love this hike for the raspberries, lake view, rocks for skipping, and if lucky, a moose sighting. A short stony section of the trail early on may be tough on young ones. There are plenty of steam crossings and bridges for rest stops and some splashing entertainment.