This is one Colorado hike that needs to go on your bucket list immediately.

Sure it's 15 miles round trip, but you're not going to see this kind of Colorado beauty from the highway. The Lone Eagle Peak hike gives you a variety of scenery, a stunning view of Lone Eagle Peak, creeks, waterfalls, and lakes. There's an excellent chance of seeing deer or moose in one of the meadows. And on top of everything, it's not an extremely popular hike so it's a great place to get away from the crowds of some of Colorado's more-traveled trails.

Keep in mind here, I'm not talking about climbing Lone Eagle Peak. There's a big difference between climbing and hiking. I'm a hiker, not a climber. This trail takes you from Monarch Lake to Crater Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park- not to the top of the peak.

I admit, a 15-mile hike is a little more than I would normally try to tackle in a single day, but I think with a certain amount of preparation it seems doable. And the thought of seeing some Colorado backcountry that most people will never experience is extremely appealing.

Which of the following does not appeal to you: Beautiful waterfall, mountain lakes, stunning mountain views, wildflowers, wildlife? If you are up for a big hike this summer, why not make it Lone Eagle Peak Hike? And if not this summer, it's been said this is a gorgeous hike in early fall.

Breaking the hike up into two days is certainly an option for backpackers who want to camp overnight, but a camping permit is required.

From Monarch Lake to Crater Lake, this is one Colorado hike I don't want to miss, and it's going on my hiking bucket list right now. There's got to be a reason why this was voted the 12th best trail in the country.

The Lone Eagle Peak Hike trailhead is a four-hour drive from Grand Junction. Just hop on Interstate 70, travel east to exit 157. From there, go north to Granby and then on to Monarch Lake Dam.

[HIKING PROJECT]