|Elevation Gain||817 feet|
|My Time||1 hr 45 min|
Hiking to Rock Pond and Brook Pond at Mueller State Park
Hiking to Rock Pond and Brook Pond at Mueller State Park is a great way to spend a half day at the park. The ponds are a nice reward after a long downhill hike through the woods but don’t forget about coming back up the hill!
There are a couple of ways to get to Rock Pond and Brook Pond at Mueller State Park. In Fact, Mueller State Park as a ton of interconnected trails that make a lot of different destinations accessible from different areas of the park.
I started at the visitor center and was intending on hiking the Preacher’s Hollow but ended up hiking the Rock Pond Trail because so many of the trails inter-connected. The other problem is that the trails at Mueller are all numbered instead of named. So if you are on the Rock Pond Trail it is really Trail number 5 for most of the way according to the signs.
Once you learn the trail numbers, or more importantly carry a map, it is pretty easy to find your way around the park. I decided to head to Rock Pond because from the visitor center it is a nice downhill walk interrupted occasionally with some really enjoyable peak views!
The hike down to Rock Pond was so enjoyable. The trail is wide and spends a good amount of time splitting a tree canopy. The day that I hiked was after a fresh spring show storm and the pines lined either side of the trail with snow clinging to their branches. It was a really pretty sight.
The trail winds its way down among the trees for about two and half miles before you reach the ponds. There are a couple of openings with great views of the surrounding land, including some peaks, but for the most part the trail is calm and relaxing. Well, at least until you head back up the same hill on the way back!
Around two and a half miles in the trail will split up. If you continue to head straight and down you will make it to Rock Pond and if you turn to the right you have about a quarter mile to Brook Pond. I headed to Rock Pond first but you can go to either. Just a heads up, the two ponds don’t connect or loop together.
Rock Pond made the long hike all worth it. The small pond is tucked up against a wall of rock on one side with clear view of the woods on another and some open air on the third side. If the walk down to the pond was calm and peaceful, the pond may just be tranquility defined.
On the day that I hiked down to the pond, the spring storm was still hanging onto the tree tops and made for the perfect backdrop against the still pond. The trees even reflected down into the water. A group of people approached looking for beaver. Apparently they are common around the pond but I didn’t get to see any.
Rock Pond is really just a super peaceful spot to stop and relax a bit before heading up to Brook Pond or continuing a long loop in the park by taking the 15 trail up to Geer Pond. I just spent a few minutes here, enjoying the sun and the views before making my way back up to Brook Pond.
While Rock Pond was really impressive, Brook pond is a little less so. On the day that I showed up, Brook Pond looked little more than some pooling snow melt. Now that isn’t to say that it isn’t enjoyable. Brook sits in in an opening with nice views and is a really nice spot. The hike over to Brook Pond is also really nice. The wide trail is mostly flat and tree lined and really nice. I do kind of wish that Brook Pond and Rock Pond somehow worked out into a loop.
Also, while I didn’t see any beavers at the pond around midday, there was definitely a section of dammed up logs near the rocks so I think this would be another good place to possibly see some beaver.
After a quick trip over to Brook Pond I was on my way back the way I came to start the trek back up the hill to do the hike as an out and back.
The Return Trip
One thing to keep in mind for the return trip to the parking lot is that it is all uphill from the ponds. While many hikes head up to a peak, this one heads down the entire first part of the hike to make it to the ponds. The return trip is about 800 feet of elevation gain over mostly gentle grades that make it to around 15% at their steepest.
Its a lot like walking up a ramp. A very long ramp that just seems to go on an on with a slight uphill grade. From Brook Pond it is about two and half miles back to the visitor center. It is a really enjoyable two and a half miles though. Alternating between wooded cover and some nice peak views as you get closer to the top.
Overall, I really liked the hike and it had a very relaxed and enjoyable feel to it. The ponds were really nice and the gentle slope was relatively easy to handle. It is almost like more of a “get lost in nature” walk than a super strenuous hike. Although the elevation gain on the return definitely had me worn out by the top.
Video of Rock Pond and Brook Pond at Mueller State Park
I have put together a quick time-lapse video of the hike to give you a feel for what the hike will be like. If you enjoy this video make sure to subscribe to my YouTube page, it is free to subscribe and you will be the first to get updated when new content is available.
Distance and Elevation
If you don’t have the AllTrails app you might want to check it out, I really love mine. It records your progress and is a great way to search for hikes that are nearby and gives you difficulty measurements. According to AllTrails today’s hike was around 5.1 miles and had a total elevation gain of about 817 feet including undulations. That put the high point at around 9,648 feet. I was also moving for a total of 1 hour and 45 minutes.
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This is one of those tricky hikes where all of the elevation gain is on the back half. The hike down to the ponds from the visitor center is nice and easy with some really nice views. Once you have reached the ponds it is all uphill to get back on an out and back. You can can some other trails from the pond but you will run into the same problem of having it be all uphill. Because of the back half elevation gain I am going to list this hike as moderate.
The trails at Mueller State Park are really well developed and thought out. Most of them are wide and easy to manage. I was there during a bit of a spring snow storm and the trails were covered with snow but even then they were easy to handle. The terrain I did see was well packed dirt. The hardest part for me is that all the trails are numbered and intertwined. It can get a little confusing if you are looking for the name of a location, like Rock Pond, and don’t have a trail map with the numbers on it.
Access to Mueller State Park
Mueller State Park has parking and bathrooms at the visitor center. There are several smaller parking area’s at the different trailheads that are around the park. This trail was started at the visitor center parking lot opposite of the visitor center. There is a decent amount of parking but it fills up pretty quick. There is a $9 fee per vehicle to enter the park or you can buy a season State Park pass. Mueller is located in Teller county at 21045 CO-67, Divide, CO 80814.
Wrapping up Rock Pond and Brook Pond at Mueller State Park
I really enjoyd Hiking to Rock Pond and Brook Pond at Mueller State Park. The trail is wide and easy to handle. The views at the top and at the ponds are really nice. I didn’t run into any other hikers except at Rock Pond so for me it was a really relaxing and enjoyable hike in some fresh snow.
Getting back up is a bit of a challenge after descending down 800 feet in elevation but if you take it slow and take some breaks to enjoy the view I am sure you will enjoy the hike and enjoy your time at the ponds.
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