Location: Loveland Pass, CO
Distance from Denver: 60mi (~1hr) ♡ ♡ ♡
Hike: ~3.5mi RT ♡ ♡ ♡
Difficulty: Difficult (due to incline and altitude) ♡
Parking Situation: Small lot right near the trailhead ♡
Parking Fee: N/A
Happy mid-August! We cannot believe that we are at the tail end of summer and even then, there is still so much snow on some of our tallest peaks. We had been waiting *patiently* all summer for the trail up Mt. Sniktau to clear, and we finally decided to tackle this beast one (early) Saturday morning. We got to the trailhead around 6am and were the second car in the parking lot. We had the mountain to ourselves for about an hour before we saw others climbing up to meet us. And even then, this trail was not as crowded as a 14er can be - are you ready to give this a try?
Pre-Hike: Do a quick google search to make sure there isn’t a bike race going on the day of your hike. The morning that we went, there were no signs on I-70 or at the start of Loveland Pass that it would be closed later in the day for a biking event. We were in for a very *unpleasant* surprise when we descended - we started driving down the Pass when a state trooper forced us to turn around on the narrow road (with mountain bikers everywhere!) and follow him for a detour. Avoid this headache - do a quick search before you go!
Dog Friendly Trail: There are no restrictions and we saw quite a few people hiking with their pups here.
Parking: Try to get to the trailhead as early as you can! The closest parking lot is small, but a lot of people are visitors so some spots turn-around quickly ♡
Facilities: Facilities can be found at the A-Basin ski resort, a short drive away from the trailhead.
What We Brought: plenty of water, sunscreen, a hat, snacks, and hiking poles.
Wow, where do we start with this hike? The basics are probably a good place as any other: this is a very clear and well defined path. Once you reach the fork in the trail, turn left to follow ridge line to the top of Mt. Sniktau.
Now for the not so basics: this is a very very sneaky mountain! By that, I mean that it looks pretty easy to climb. From the start of the trail, when you look up, it looks like a gentle ascent to the top. Friends, this is fake news! The crest you see from the start of the trailhead is a false peak and the ascent is quite a bit more difficult than it seems. The views along the trail, however, are absolutely breathtaking! The higher we got, the more of the surrounding mountain ranges we could see. Honestly, it was mountains on mountains on mountains for 360 degrees! One more pertinent point to mention - there is one part of the hike where you have to rock scramble. We found it relatively doable on the uphill, but the downhill was another story because of how unstable the rocks are for footing. But take your time, go slow, and yield to one another (without judging each other’s speed) and it’ll be fine.
The entire trail is pretty exposed and above tree line. This had two big implications for us. (1) If we saw a storm on the horizon - we were going to turn around. Thunder (and lightening) storms are no fun, especially when you are so fully exposed. (2) We also brought plenty of water and a hat - we got an early start, but the sun was beating down on us as we summitted and on the descent.
Overall, though, this was an incredible hike that truly challenged us and also rewarded us with stunning views ♡ If you want a similar backdrop, but less of an incline, we highly recommend West Ridge trail which is simply across the street from Mt Sniktau!