Round Trip Distance: 5.3 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation: 9590 - 9953 feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Time: 3 hrs. 30 mins.
Trailhead: Scotts Lake
Fee: none
Attractions: Scenic loop

The Carhart trail is located in the Flat Tops Wilderness Area of the White River National Forest east of Meeker, Colorado. Named for Arthur Carhart, who surveyed Trappers Lake in 1919 and recommended it for preservation, the trail makes a loop that takes it all the way around Trappers Lake. Enroute it has connections with the Wall Lake, Trappers Lake and Little Trappers Lake trails.

To get there from Meeker head north on Highway 13 for 1 mile and turn east toward Buford on County Road 8. Continue for 38.7 miles and turn right onto the Trappers Lake Road. The Buford Road, CR #8, is paved up to the Forest Service boundary where it turns to gravel. Turn right after passing the sign in this photo that is across from the Trappers Lake Lodge.

Continue for another mile where the Scotts Lake trailhead will be on the left. The Outlet, Scotts Bay and Wall Lake trailheads also provide easy access to the Carhart trail.

There are trail registers at each of the trailheads. If Search and Rescue gets called out they will check the register to hopefully get an idea of what your plans were.

As the trail departs from the parking area hikers are treated to some spectacular views of Scotts Lake and the peaks and ridges beyond Trappers Lake

Near the quarter mile point the route crosses into the Flat Tops Wilderness Area and meets up with the main loop of the Carhart trail. For this post we followed the Carhart trail to the right.

After traveling along the shore of Scotts Lake for a short distance the easy to follow trail travels around the contours of the hill passing a marshy meadow.

As Scotts Bay comes into view a fork comes up where the better part of the trail keeps going to the right around the side of the hill where it climbs up to the Scotts Bay trailhead. Take the fainter trail to the left at this point to remain on the Carhart trail. A lot of casual hikers make a loop out of the Scotts Lake and Scotts Bay trailheads, or simply hike out and back from one of the trailheads to Scotts Lake, so that portion of the trail is more worn.

Trappers Lake comes into better view as the trail passes by Scotts Bay.

From there the trail begins gradually climbing away from Trappers Lake passing a couple of small ponds along the way. This portion of the trail was left treeless by the 2002 Big Fish fire.

Near the 1.3 mile point the Carhart trail bumps up against the Wall Lake trail which is where we turned around. Pay close attention to the sign if you hike beyond this spot. The Carhart trail goes to the left at this intersection and the trail straight ahead is the Wall Lake trail.

We have hiked the Carhart trail going in the other direction beginning at the Outlet trailhead but had to turn around at the creek crossing below Little Trappers Lake because it was running so much water it was unsafe to cross. It is probably safer after mid July when most of the snow has had a chance to melt. Whether you hike all the way around Trappers Lake or not the Carhart trail is a great choice for taking in some incredible scenery. (There were mosquitoes at the trailhead but they didn't seem to like our sunscreen. We carried a can of OFF but never used any of it.) If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.