|Elevation Gain||847 ft|
|My Time||2 hr 7 min|
Hiking Mueller State Park Overlooks Loop
Mueller State Park has a ton of different interconnected trails throughout the park with lots of options on where to go. The views alternate between woods, ponds, and peaks depending on what you like to see. Hiking the Mueller State Park Overlooks Loop gives you the best of all the viewing options.
There a few different options to get into the same trails at Mueller but I started this hike at the Homestead parking lot and on the Homestead trail. The trailhead was close to the campground I was staying at and made for an easy start. I was only on the Homestead trail for about a tenth of a mile before heading south on the Revenue Ridge Trail. Revenue Ridge was covered with 3-4 inches of fresh snow which was really enjoyable.
Revenue Ridge lasted for about a mile. It winds through the woods and gets narrow at times. Though it was tough to see exactly where the trail was in the thicker snow. After the mile it comes to the top of a small ridgeline and intersects with the Outlook Ridge Trail, which heads to the west across the ridge and towards the overlooks.
Outlook Ridge Trail
I really like the Outlook Ridge Trail. Not only because the sun started to peak through the clouds and it got a few degrees warmer, but also because the trail is one of the flatter ones so it was a good place to catch my breath. The Outlook Ridge Trail provides access to the Raven Ridge Overlook, The Red Tail Overlook and the Lone Eagle Overlook with smaller trails leading down to the overlooks.
The Raven Ridge Overlook is a third of a mile from the junction with Revenue Ridge Trail. Another third of a mile down the trail gives access to the Red Tail Overlook Trail. Finally, the Lone Eagle Overlook is a tenth of a mile further after Red Tail. I only made it to Raven Ridge and Red Tail as the snow and cold made me cut the hike a little short.
Raven Ridge Overlook at Mueller State Park
The first of the Overlooks to visit is the Raven Ridge overlook. One of the odd things about the overlooks at Mueller State Park is that you actually hike down to them instead of hiking uphill to get better views. The trail down to Raven Ridge is four-tenths of a mile long. It is also relatively steep with a difference of elevation of 160 feet from the trail above. The overlook trail does also have a grade that tops out at 18% for a short time so it is kind of steep!
When arriving at the overlook you will find a little rocky outcropping you can stand on to get the best views. I would describe the views as a sea of trees. it was really enjoyable on the snowy day that I visited because all of the pine trees were covered in a frosting of snow on their green branches. The low hanging clouds made the visibility pretty small but large tree lined hills made the views to the south and east well worth it!
After spending time at Raven Ridge, it is time to head back up the hill to the Outlook Ridge trail and off to the Red Tail Overlook.
Red Tail Overlook at Mueller State Park
A third of a mile down the Outlook Ridge Trail gets you to the Red Tail Overlook trail. This one is a bit longer and steeper than the Raven Ridge trail. The trail to Red Tail measures four tenths of a mile to the base. The trail descends 264 feet down to the overlook and has that briefly reaches 27% so a bit steeper than the Raven Ridge descent.
The Red Tail Overlook has a much bigger area of rocks to view the overlook from. It also looks down the valley to the west. It even has a very cool view of what I think is Brook Pond. The view down the valley was probably much better than it was on my visit due to the low clouds but either way it was a very enjoyable stay and I liked how big this overlook was.
After visiting the Red Tail it is time to hike the steep trail back up to the Outlook ridge Trail. From there it is only about a tenth of a mile to the Lone Eagle Overlook. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it to that overlook as the snow and cold was getting the best of me.
Geer Pond Trail
Near the junction for the Lone Eagle Overlook is the Geer Pond Trial. Heading back east on the Geer Pond Trail will complete the loop and bring you back towards the Homestead Trailhead. If you take the Geer Pond trail to the west it will take you Geer Pond but, again, I skipped this due to the weather.
The Geer Pond Trail is just under a mile long and is a very consistent uphill section. There are some steep parts as well but luckily there is a bypass trail that allows you to miss some of the worst parts. The Geer Pond Trail is mostly wooded and moderately wide path. With the fresh snow it was really enjoyable to see all the trees lining the trail with their green branches frosted with piles of snow. About three quarters of the way down the trail sat one of my favorite features of this snowy hike, Lost Pond.
Lost Pond at Mueller State Park
One of the last spots on the list to see in the loop is Lost Pond. Lost Pond is pretty small and a bit hidden by the surrounding trees. On most days I don’t know if it would have registered as much but on this snowy spring day the surrounding trees were covered in snow and reflected perfectly on the ponds still surface. It was so peaceful and one of the prettiest sights I have seen.
From Lost Pond it is just over a half mile to complete the loop. There is a pretty steady incline immediately after the pond that even includes grades of up to 15% for short distances.
I really enjoyed my time hiking on the Overlooks Loop. While the snow and storm prevented some of the best views it did give the entire trail a bit of a magical feel to it. The snow covered trees and trail led to a really enjoyable and quiet experience at the park. It was a bit like hiking in a snow globe which took some of the sting away from the inclines!
I have put together this time-lapsed video of the Mueller State Park Overlooks Loop for people to get a feel for what the hike is like. If you like the video make sure to subscribe to my YouTube Chanel. It is free and you will be the first to know 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 4.71 miles and had a total elevation gain of about 846 feet including undulations. That put the high point at around 9,687 feet. I was also moving for a total of 2 hours and 7 minutes.
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Hiking the Mueller State Park Overlooks Loop is a little bit of a mixed bag. While there is a lot of flat sections of the trail, there are also some really steep portions that take a lot of effort. One of the surprising parts is that hiking to the overlooks is actually on the downhill so the return gets pretty steep. I am more accustomed to the overlooks being after a big incline so this was a bit reversed. Overall, I am going to rank this hike as moderate due to the elevation gains.
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 the Mueller State Park Overlooks Loop
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 Mueller State Park Overlooks Loop
I really enjoyed my hike of the Mueller State Park Overlooks Loop. It would have been nice to finish it off and get to the third overlook but with the weather diminishing it became a little bit of a challenge. I would also like to return and see what what the views look like without all of the clouds.
Even with the clouds this was a really enjoyable hike. Perhaps even more so due to the snow covering the trails and trees. It was also nice that I didn’t see anyone else on the hike. It gave it an extremely calm vibe. I do think that was mostly because of the bad weather and had nothing to do with the popularity of the hike. If you find yourself at Mueller State Park, give the Overlooks Loop a try.
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