Explorer | 40 pts
This is actually the second time I have been up to Gilpin, and I strongly recommend anyone to check it out. The trail guide on this loop is lacking some details, a lot which are seasonal. Be sure to be prepared to take your boots and socks off because you will have to on 4 occurrences. The first is right before you start the major switchbacks to the entrance to the lake. It's nothing major, but it's worth noting that the log set down further down the path should NOT be used. If you fall off, it's fast rapids with icy cold water.
If you plan to actually travel the loop, note that you will have to take the the trail that follows the lake to the left. This guide casually references the "pass" to the other side of the mountain. It is a pass, however, the trail was completely covered with snow, which was an unpleasant surprise. Just follow the footprints up the pass, and you should be fine. We went late enough in the afternoon for the snow to soften, but trecking poles and proper footwear should be utilized. When you get to the top, go towards the left of the pass and you will find the trail. It's a pretty tame hike down to meet up with Gold Creek trail. There are 3 spots where you will have to ford the river again, so be prepared. One of the spots was actually pretty intense, so find a long enough stick to help balance your weight upstream towards the rapids.
Despite the few surprises on the trail, this hike was great. The views from Gilpin are phenomenal, especially from the saddle (or pass). The quasi-tough hike is more than worth the payoff.