1. Camping is permitted and free around Alta Lakes in Telluride with campsites littered all around the three lakes. You even get two lakes for the price of one hike. If you want to stay in town, choose nearby Frantz Lake in Salida or Buena Vista Town Lake in McPhelemy Park. Directions: From Colorado Springs take Hwy 24 west or, from Woodland Park take Hwy 24 east, to the Pikes Peak Highway exit in Cascade. This portion of the trail is very steep and scary so you have to be very careful and make sure to wear hiking boots and use trekking poles. Its a burly hike in, especially with a pack, so be prepared. Note that parking at the Brainard Lake Recreational Area lot costs $10 and fills up quickly. from 119 at Rollinsville, drive about 8 miles down the dirt road along South Boulder Creek. Which lake near Denver has the bluest water? Tell someone about your plans. The alpine wonder rests at an elevation of 10,630 feet located between Flattop Mountain (12,324 feet) and Notchtop Mountain (12,129 feet) ). Grand Lake. You could also do a loop and combine this lake with Bear Lake, Emerald Lake, and Lake Haiyaha. Please explore responsibly! Although Gore Lake looks reasonable on paper, this is a tough hike, with much of the elevation gained in the last couple of miles. The hike will start with views of sweeping meadows and will follow along the South Boulder Creek. We searched for alpine lakes to hike to in the area and came across Crystal Lake in Saint Marie's, Idaho. Snow and ice are melting, wildflowers are emerging, and the most beautiful lakes near Denver will soon glisten with an unrivaled beauty that beckons you to bask on their shimmering shores and recharge the natural way. Check with the Castle Mountain Recreation Company for more up-to-date information. In the spring and early summer you can enjoy wildflowers on the hikes, and in the fall you get to see the Aspens fall foliage. Youll be gasping for air from the steep inclines and incredible scenes. (And be sure to take time to branch off and discover the wonder of Salmon Lake along the way, tucked deep in the forest amidst fields of impressive boulders and towering pines.) Distance: 10.5 milesElevation: 2,975 feetDifficulty: DifficultRed Tape and Local Tips: Parking is limited so consider taking the free bus from the Vail Village parking structure to the trailhead. Distance: 8.12 milesElevation: 2037 ftType: Out-and-back. This includes water, snacks, sun protection, extra layers, and more. Maroon Lake is one of the best lakes in Colorado. The best lakes in Colorado often require hard hikes to get to but that also means that you can enjoy them with less people. Early July 2020 My first trip to the beautiful remote Sand Creek Lakes high above the Wet Mountain Valley in Colorado was in 2017, a year of the big runoff. If you are already hiking Blue Lakes Trail and made it to Lower Blue Lake, it is worth continuing up to Middle Blue Lake. The water is gorgeous. Filled with crystal-clear water and surrounded by mind-blowing settings, these backcountry bodies of water are meant to be enjoyed. Yes. Hike to the base of several Colorado 14ers at South Colony Lakes and enjoy one of the best hikes in Colorado. Please note, reservations may be required for visiting the park. Photo Credit: The Gazette, Christian Murdock. You will definitely want to wear hiking boots and bring trekking poles for this part of the trail. Camping in dispersed camping areas gives you the opportunity for a little more privacy and peace and quiet. But beyond those details, Colorado is one of the few states where you can legally marry yourselves! Pass by several waterfalls on your way to one of the most magnificent lakes in all of Colorado. If you're looking for a large and yet completely natural lake, then Grand Lake is the place to be in Colorado. Related: Visit Rocky Mountain National Park Like a Local. You'll take the Mitchell Lake Trail, crossing Mitchell Creek and passing Mitchell Lake along the way. Learn more Youll get glimpses of Longs Peak and Alberta Falls (in the summer). Hike to Chasm Lake Photo: Kyle Frost Distance: 8.02 miles Elevation: 2500 ft Type: Out-and-back No dogs are allowed in the yurt over winter. After turning on to Co. 16 (Tolland Rd.) Backpack to three alpine lakes and an alpine lagoon in Roosevelt National Forest. Once at the lakes, you can go for a swim (so bring a suit!) Lush alpine scenery unfolds as you ascend the 8.1-mile out-and-back trail nestled in the San Juan National Forest near Silverton. The 20 most stunning alpine lakes in Colorado. Grand Mesa Trails Lowest Depth: 265 feet. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, Gray Wolf Reintroduction, What Does 2023 Look Like In Colorado? Explore the fantastically beautiful cirque and enjoy views of Kit Carson, The Crestones, and Humboldt Peak. Green Mountain Reservoir. It connects the towns of Silverton and Ouray with Lake City, where it is generally considered to begin (and end). Photo Credit: Breanna Sneeringer, OutThere Colorado. Come and try out the great hiking and mountain biking trails too! It's a roughly 12-mile trek that leads to Upper Cataract Lake below the famed Eagles Nest Mountain looming at an impressive 13,432,' then continues on to Cat Lake and ultimately to Mirror Lake, which lies at 11,020.' Distance: 0.8 milesElevation: 32 feetDifficulty: Easy with accessibility rampsRed Tape and Local Tips: No dogs. These lakes are next to Independence Pass, a road that takes you to Aspen. In fact, alpine lakes in Colorado are so famous, nearly every mountain hike passes a pristine lake nestled in the mountains. Most of these lakes are accessible by foot only, although you can also drive to quite a few of them. Maroon Creek Road which leads to Maroon Bells is usually open between May and November and you are required to makereservations ahead of time to enter Maroon Bells area. However, dont be fooled by the easy accessibility. The road will dead end at Moffat Tunnel where you'll find ample parking in a gravel lot with restrooms. Not your computer? We can easily drive 30 minutes into high elevation aspen forests & alpine lakes when desired. before arriving at the lake, where goof fishing has been reported. You can take a dip at Sprouting Rock in a stunning turquoise oasis found just behind Hanging Lake. Distance: 14.6 milesElevation: 2,373 feetDifficulty: A difficult day hike or a moderate overnight backpackRed Tape and Local Tips: Permits are required for backpacking from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Miles from Denver: 100 miles. Up for a challenge? Technically you can swim at many alpine lakes in Colorado, but you probably dont want to. From hiking around the water to fishing, boating, picnicking, and swimming . Most of Colorado's 2,000 high lakes lie on public lands between 9,000 and 12,000 feet and are accessible by a few miles of Forest Service trail. While the 7.9-mile out-and-back trail is relatively easy for day hikers used to the distance, there are several campgrounds located along the shore of the lowest lake. Continental Falls is a series of cascades dropping over 500 feet. Dogs are welcome but keep them leashed, Im not kidding about the moose! Distance: 3.97 milesElevation: 1299 ftType: Out-and-back. Expect to see some seriously stunning cascading waterfalls along the way. At 13,420 feet, Pacific Tarn is the highest alpine lake in the United States, and you can have it all to yourself. Rocky Mountain National Park's 415 square miles (265,807 acres) encompasses a spectacular range of mountain environments. Here are 11 of the best swimming holes in Colorado, from pristine lakes to reservoirs, waterfall pools, and everything in between. 20 Gift Ideas for People Who Love to Travel, 10-Day Costa Rica Itinerary: From Hot Springs to Cloud Forests, Sedona Off the Beaten Path: Sedona Hidden Gems, Top Shaded Hikes in Sedona: Sedona Summer Hikes, 16 Top Destinations in the Southwest US You Must See. To get to Island Lake, hike on Ice Lake Trail and after visiting Ice Lake, take a left on the trail to continue up to Island Lake. To extend your adventure, you can continue on to Isabelle Glacier. After seeing Island Lake continue ahead and take a right to form a small loop. Pass by Alberta Falls along this route before continuing up the trail through the gorge. Long Lake is an alpine explorers paradise. There is nothing better than waking up and enjoying a hot cup of coffee next to a cold alpine lake. Proposition 114 passed in Colorado and now the planning process begins. Sky Pond is one of the most jaw-dropping sights to see. Each of these alpine lake hikes brings you the best of the Rocky Mountains and picturesque mountain scenery of places like Leadville. This trail is well-used but has an interesting start as you make your way up next to and around a huge railway tunnel. Lake Isabelle is one of the best winter hikes in Colorado (add about five miles round trip for the winter hike). August 25, 2021 at 6:00 a.m. Colorado Parks and Wildlife stocked dozens of alpine lakes with more than 95,000 trout by airplane last week. Traverse forests of aspen and lodgepole pine and enjoy views of surrounding peaks and valleys before arriving at some of the, This 160-acre tarn resides at 12,836' at Summit Lake Park beneath Mt. Along the way, catch sight of Maroon Bells and Pyramid Peak. Independence Pass is also located nearby for scenic travelers. This strenuous Sky Pond hike leads to one of the most dramatic alpine lakes in Colorado. Distance: 10.2 milesElevation: 2,014 feetDifficulty: ModerateRed Tape and Local Tips: This trail is primarily used for driving (an easy off-road trial) but if you dont mind the walk, you can hike it just give way to vehicles and take care. If you do this hike in the winter, youll experience different scenery, but surely just as stunning. all along the way to the 14,115 foot summit of America's most . Make it a day by going on one of Colorados most scenic drives! In fact, this is one of my favorite day hikes near Denver. The trail will take you through both wildflower-filled meadows and forest. Required fields are marked *. This is one of the easiest lakes on this list to get to, but is therefore also the most crowded. There are several camping spots by the second lake if youre looking to stay overnight. Distance: 8.1 milesElevation: 1,765 feetDifficulty: Moderate to DifficultRed Tape and Local Tips: No dogs allowed. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Cherry Creek Reservoir in Aurora, Colorado offers a treasure trove of outdoor activities for the whole family. If you already made it to Middle Blue Lake it is a quick 0.2 mile walk to Upper Blue Lake. Distance: 3.77 milesElevation: 722 ftType: Out-and-back. Encounter some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world as you wind your way through an alpine wonderland, mountain reservoirs, beyond timberline, overtaking the clouds. It's demandingthe two 12,000-foot passes (Cinnamon and Engineer) require a high-clearance four-wheel-drive vehicle but the well-prepared motorist reaps . Bushnell lakes sit under Bushnell Peak and SE of Stout Lakes drainage. Distance: 8.56 milesElevation: 2057 ftType: Out-and-back. Lake Isabelle is located 2.1 miles from the Long Lake Trailhead in the Brainard Lake Recreation Area. The winding hike leads you past dreamy fields of wildflowers before reaching the sparkling aqua the area is known for. There are plenty of hiking opportunities, but taking it easy and simply sitting back or fishing in the lake is the perfect way to slow down, unwind, and just be. Surround yourself in an amphitheater of dramatic rock and scope out of the best alpine lakes in Colorado.