Commonly Backpacked · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
Tigiwon Road (to get to the Half Moon Trailhead) is closed annually from May 1 to June 21 and opens on June 21 if the road is snow-free by that date. Camping is okay in the Holy Cross Wilderness, but you must self-register at the trailhead and carry the permit during the visit.
This description follows the trail from north to south, but the route can be done in either direction. From the busy Half Moon Trailhead, proceed south through initially non-descript woodland with a rocky/rooty trail surface. Soon, things become more interesting as brief Gore Range views appear and the trail crosses several sizeable ravines scoured by recent landslides. After a few small stream crossings, prepare to be dazzled by large meadows brimming with wildflowers. Late July and August are prime season for the widest variety of wildflowers here.
Resist the urge to bed down among the colorful flowers and continue the steady ascent. Large glacial boulders and erratics are scattered along this valley. At about 2.3 miles, you'll reach a large, shady trail junction where the Notch Mountain Trail #2000
leaves toward the west. Continue straight (southwest), contouring along the hillside and crossing a few small streams as the trail rolls up and down through this area. Soon Lake Constantine appears across picturesque flower-studded fields. This large lake features excellent fishing, and makes a popular turnaround point for a run and many backpackers overnight here. The various meadows, marshes, and rocky points are fun to explore.
The remainder of the Fall Creek Trail between Lake Constantine and Hunky Dory Lake gets much less traffic. Continue along the west side of Lake Constantine, and at about 4.5 miles, go past the trail up to Tuhare Lakes. Cross Fall Creek and begin the much steeper climb up to Fall Creek Pass (12,580 ft). Grind up through high alpine terrain and beauteous fields chock full of wildflowers and marmots. Descend from the pass and head through more ruggedly cliffed-out landscape, all still above treeline. The west side of the pass is home to the small, rocky Seven Sisters Lakes, each on its own small stair-step of land.
Follow French Creek downvalley until reaching the extremely pretty Hunky Dory Lake situated next to a large talus slope. Vegetation finally returns in the form of trees and wildflowers. After Hunky Dory Lake, the grade mellows considerably before the trail ends at the Hunky Dory Trailhead.
Flora & Fauna
Marmots, pika, lupine, aster, Indian paintbrush, Rocky Mountain columbine, spruce, and fir trees await on this scenic trail.
Shared By: Megan W