colorado alpine lakes you can drive to

The electric, mineral-rich water beckons. Distance: 7.7 milesElevation: 2,522 feetDifficulty: DifficultRed Tape and Local Tips: No dogs. This Rocky Mountain National Park adventure provides an opportunity to catch an unforgettable sunrise. The trail itself is moderately wooded. 1. Many of these lakes are nestled between some of the most incredible mountain scenery you'll ever lay eyes on, making them ideal for golden hour photoshoots. Local Tip: Check out Ouray, one of the most stunning Colorado mountain towns, post-hike! With such a delicate ecosystem, your skin oils and sunscreen can kill the wildlife that lives in the lake. There is no overnight parking without a backcountry permit (we learned this the hard way) and there is an entry fee to get to the trailhead. 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. But what if I told you we havent been given access to over half of whats really out there? The drive from Crested Butte to Paonia passes West Beckwith Mountain, the best spot in the state to view foliage. Ice Lake Trailhead is located 7 miles west of Silverton. Get to know this 6.7-mile out-and-back trail near Snoqualmie Pass, Washington. News, travel inspiration, podcasts, & more. Continue for several more miles until reaching the base of The Spearhead, a famous mountaineering objective. Lakes at 12,000 feet above sea level may only offer a couple of months of fishing due to the heavy snowfall in Colorado. In order to avoid storms at high altitude, youll want to start your hike EARLY, sometimes before the sun rises, depending on the length of the hike. 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. If you do this hike in the winter, youll experience different scenery, but surely just as stunning. Photo by Kyle Jenkins. Distance: Varies, hikes on the property are short, its three miles to loop the lakeElevation: nothing notable.Difficulty: EasyRed Tape and Local Tips: This is a great family-friendly spot, however, there are day fees and other camping fees to use the area. Independence Pass is also located nearby for scenic travelers. On Monday and . Along the byway, you can travel through various scenery changes: start in a desert canyon and pass aspen foothills, lakes, alpine forests, lily ponds, and meadows bursting with wildflowers as you make your way to the top. Distance: 0.8 milesElevation: 32 feetDifficulty: Easy with accessibility rampsRed Tape and Local Tips: No dogs. Before you hit the trail, there are several important things to remember. Youll want to be prepared for cooler weather, even in the middle of summer. In the summer, the trail becomes a 44 road that you can still hike on, terminating at a parking lot. Chicago Lakes is a popular hiking trail in the Mount Evans Wilderness that has two magnificent lakes with stellar views of the foothills and of Mount Evans. Driving time: 4 to 6 hours. The Loch is located at 10,200 ft in Rocky Mountain National Park. Distance: 11 milesElevation: 2,529 feetDifficulty: DifficultRed Tape and Local Tips: No dogs. An alternative to driving on your own is toreserve a spoton the RFTA shuttle from Aspen Highlands Village to Maroon Bells. You'll take the Continental Falls via the Mohawk Lakes trail to the falls. Distance: 6.8 milesElevation: 1,548 feetDifficulty: ModerateRed Tape: Many 14er-enthusiasts camp here overnight before their summit bids. At 13,420 feet, Pacific Tarn is the highest alpine lake in the United States, and you can have it all to yourself. (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.) This is a do-able day hike, but there are spots for camping if you want to stay overnight. Bring your camera and pack some tasty snacks! It's the state's highest peak. Your email address will not be published. Chasm Lake makes for a beautiful summer adventure. Twin Lakes is located at the foot of the highest mountain in the entire Rocky Mountain Range along the continental divide and is also Colorados largest natural glacier lake. Not many people venture to the mountain ranges down south, so expect lots of solitude. Take the Wheeler trail until it intersects with Crystal Creek Road. Distance From Telluride: 10 miles | 22 minutes Accessibility: Rugged, off-road vehicle recommended Activities: Fishing, hiking, kayaking, paddle boarding Located just 20 minutes outside of Telluride, Alta Lakes is a popular destination for couples and families seeking a convenient water retreat. Expect to see some seriously stunning cascading waterfalls along the way. We searched for alpine lakes to hike to in the area and came across Crystal Lake in Saint Marie's, Idaho. Trek beyond the lakes to reach the 14,065-foot summit of Humboldt Peak. Sprague Lake is one of the most easily accessible alpine lakes in Colorado. The Sangre de Cristo mountains offer tranquil scenery without the hustle and bustle of the weekend warrior crowd near Denver. Arizona has many unique hiking opportunities with a wide range of elevation, climate, and views. Twin Lakes Discover the solitude and beauty of Twin Lakes. Wander the lake at sunrise for incredible views. the most part. Photo: Ryan DewaneDistance: 8.43 milesElevation: 1780 ftType: Out-and-back. Sky Pond is one of the most jaw-dropping sights to see. Dog-Friendly: Bloods Lake - No, Lake Lackawaxen - Yes. From meadows found in the montane life zone to glistening alpine lakes and up to the towering mountain peaks, there is something for everyone to discover. Distance: 11.32 milesElevation: 2375 ftType: Out-and-back. Breathtaking beauty awaits hikers at South Colony Lakes. The trail is short and packed with beauty, about 2-miles out-and-back. 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. You'll find Continental Falls in the White River National Forest near Breckenridge. Photo: Whitney JamesDistance: 3.15 milesElevation: 650 ftType: Out-and-back. Mount Evans is a 14er that boasts fantastic views of the lake, Mt. Here you'll find a campground, cabins, and dispersed camping. Lake Ann - Only accessible by way of a 1.75-mile well-maintained trail, this pristine lake is ruggedly scenic and extremely protected. Harder To Reach: Lawn Lake. This is the most beautiful lake in Rocky Mountain National Park, and can be combined with Bear Lake and Emerald Lake. Pass by the popular Alberta Falls, but keep trekking to leave the crowds behind and find yourself in complete solitude in this vast and unbelievably beautiful wilderness. For a real adventure, combine your lake hike in Colorado with an overnight at a yurt. This strenuous Sky Pond hike leads to one of the most dramatic alpine lakes in Colorado. The Lake Haiyaha hike is accessible year-round and a great option for beginners or those looking for a gentle day and one of the best winter hikes in Colorado. And dont forget to look out for mountain goats! or drop a line and try your luck with some fishing. There are hiking trails near the lakes with great views of the lakes and surrounding mountains. And the fish well, they just float on down, once deployed from the airplane. Length: 7.9 mi Est. Known for its alpine lakes, Colorado has a wide variety of trails and lake scenery to choose from. Distance: 3.97 milesElevation: 1299 ftType: Out-and-back. Bloods Lake and Lackawaxen Trail. From short day hikes close to the city to multi-day backpacking trips deep in Rocky Mountain National Park, these adventures will take you to some of the most beautiful mountain lakes in Colorado. The fastest way to get to this beautiful lake in the rocky mountains is to hike from Glacier Gorge Trailhead 5.4 miles round trip with 1,070 ft elevation gain. There are few hidden gems better to explore in the mountainous state of Colorado than the high alpine waters. Green Mountain Reservoir. Cutthroats were originally named by William Clark on the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery Expedition. With 50 square miles of golden aspens. This adventure features several waterfalls, streams, a creek, and meadows teeming with beautiful wildflowers a photographers dream! Surface Area: 507 acres. 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.' It sits at an elevation of 11,860 ft with no distinguishing trail between the lower and upper lake. This hike also has a waterfall. From hiking around the water to fishing, boating, picnicking, and swimming . It's a 1.8-mile trek (3.6 miles round trip). This lake is located in the alpine layer at 11,746 ft and as you get closer to the lake it will get significantly colder and more windy. The lakes are also great fishing destinations, so be sure to pack a rod and some tackle along with your tent for a surreal nature getaway. As a consequence, by mid-June I It can be hard to narrow down which hikes, Colorado is a beautiful state with tall peaks, incredible lakes, and four unique national parks. Bushnell lakes sit under Bushnell Peak and SE of Stout Lakes drainage. Make your way up the two-mile trail to the base of St. Mary's Glacier (not really a glacier, but a permanent snowfield) where there is a picture-perfect alpine lake. Alpine lakes are defined by being any lake that sits above 10,000 feet above sea level. . Discover this alpine wonder by taking Rogers Pass Trail, a 9.1-mile out-and-back trail located near Rollinsville. Don't Threaten. The best time to visit is between June and October. Keep in mind, the average hiker moves at about 2 miles an hour or covers 1,000 feet of elevation gain in an hour. Set in magnificent scenery, they are the focus of considerable settlement and a thriving tourist traffic, as well as of great scientific interest. Sundial Peak over Lake Blanche. If youre lucky, youll get a perfect reflection of these towering peaks against the lake. Here are 11 of the best swimming holes in Colorado, from pristine lakes to reservoirs, waterfall pools, and everything in between. This scenic hike in Rocky Mountain National Park begins at the popular Glacier Gorge trailhead, but you can avoid the crowds by heading out later in the afternoon and be rewarded by an incredible sunset. This is one of the easiest lakes on this list to get to, but is therefore also the most crowded. Winter enthusiasts can snowshoe the two to three miles up to the yurt and then onwards 2.5 miles to the lake where they can enjoy one of the most unique weekend trips from Denver. Local Tip: The Bear Lake parking area fills up quickly throughout the year, even on weekdays, so plan on arriving early or be prepared to take a shuttle. Along the way explore over 300 miles of hiking trails and incredible . You will encounter a boulder field, so be prepared for occasional scrambling. The winding hike leads you past dreamy fields of wildflowers before reaching the sparkling aqua the area is known for. Surrounding peaks of granite reflect off the lake's beautiful emerald green waters nestled in Rocky Mountain National Park. Distance: 2.8 milesElevation: 885 feetDifficulty: Moderate to difficultRed Tape and local tips: Dogs are allowed to use this trail. Exploring the wilds of Denver, Colorado, and beyond. The byway provides many scenic overlooks to view each of these Colorado beauties. This rather large lake is surrounded by pines with a dramatic mountain background. Follow the signs to the Pikes Peak Highway entry gate. Almost countless. Alpine Loop Backcountry Byway, Colorado. Take a Scenic Drive Through Rocky Mountain National Park Rocky Mountain National Park is a hidden gem in the Colorado Rockies. Gold Medal Lakes in Colorado. 2,568 feet max, MUCH less if starting from the Wheeler Trail.Difficulty: Moderate to easy depending on your route.Red Tape and Local Tips: Unlike many of Colorados famed high clearance roads (where you can usually get away with a small SUV), the road to the top of Crystal Lake is an ACTUAL Jeep trail. Distance: 8.12 milesElevation: 2037 ftType: Out-and-back. 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. Trek your way through stunning alpine country to one of the most picturesque lakes in the state Hanging Lake. Visitors to the lake have the option to rent a kayak, canoe, or standup paddleboard. 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. The trail will take you through both wildflower-filled meadows and forest. Like the name suggests, youll be in awe of the color of the deep blue waters. 10 Remarkable Trails Near Denver To Add To Your Summer Bucket List, 10 Destinations Everyone In Denver Needs to Visit This Summer, Everyone In Denver Must Visit This Epic Hot Spring As Soon As Possible, This Swimming Spot Has The Clearest, Most Pristine Water Near Denver, 16 Unforgettable Things You Must Add To Your Denver Summer Bucket List, 10 Gorgeous Lakes To Visit Around Denver This Summer, 7 Of The Best Beaches Around Denver To Visit This Summer, These 11 Epic Wildflower Hikes Around Denver Are Completely Out Of This World. Located in Rocky Mountain National Park, the trail to access starts off at the Glacier Gorge trailhead. Another long-distance doozy, the Twin Crater Lakes hike is well-worth a backpack, unless you have hiking superpowers, in which case, it technically can be done in a day. The picturesque lakes are tucked away near the mountains of Breckenridge. Emerald Lake is located in Rocky Mountain National Park, and is reached by hiking from Bear Lake Trailhead or Glacier Gorge Trailhead. The trail will end with a gorgeous view of Pitkin Lake. Surround yourself in an amphitheater of dramatic rock and scope out of the best alpine lakes in Colorado. To see the entire lake though, youll need to do a bit of climbing up the shore. Come and try out the great hiking and mountain biking trails too! As one of the best lake hikes in Colorado, this strenuous 12-plus mile hike is best done in two days. The fee is $5 per person (16 years and older), children under 16 are free. Hike to Chasm Lake Photo: Kyle Frost Distance: 8.02 miles Elevation: 2500 ft Type: Out-and-back Ice Lake is a beautiful bright blue alpine lake located at 12,300 feet that requires a very strenuous hike to get to. Upper Blue Lake is the third lake on Blue Lakes Trail. This helps you beat those pesky thunderstorms and stay safe. Discover the alpine beauty of Mirror Lake. Theres no shortage of fantastic mountain and lake views. Local Tip: This hike is also near some of the best free camping near Denver. Keep in mind that there is now a shuttle and permit system. Enjoy spanning vistas of the Tenmile Range including Pacific Peak, Atlantic Peak, and Crystal Peak (all of which are excellent Colorado 13ers to try!). Located in the San Juan Mountains, the lake also attracts a variety of wildlife including elk and moose. Just one valley over from Cyrstal Lake is Mohawk Lakes, another set of stunning alpine lakes in Colorado. Arrive early to get a spot and spend more of the day exploring! Famous for its year-round snow, the base of St Marys Glacier, is one of the most accessible alpine lakes in Colorado. Whenever you hear someone talk about catching trout in the mountain lakes of the Rockies, the term that often comes up is "alpine". From Bear Lake Trailhead it is about 4.2 miles roundtrip with 840 ft elevation gain. Simply hike to Loch Vale instead. Distance: 9.22 milesElevation: 2270 ftType: Out-and-back. ATV The Alpine Loop Length: 65 mile loop Drive Time: 5-7 hours Fees: 3-day Pass: $6.00 7-day Pass: $12.00 Annual Pass: $45.00 Or America the Beautiful Pass (National Park Pass) Difficulty: 75% Easy / 25% Difficult (rock outcroppings, drop offs) Access: Easy ATV Friendly Town: Lake City Ideal Riding Season: Mid Summer - September The total hike round trip to Middle Blue Lake is 7.6 miles with 2,292 ft elevation gain. The 9.5-mile out-and-back trail located near Vail climbs nearly 3,000 feet in elevation before reaching the awe-inspiring mountain lake. This truly-epic alpine lake hike is long, but worth the effort. If you are up for the challenge Island Lake is worth the visit! Then, continue climbing to blue Lake at the base of Mt. Sharp granite cliffs rise straight out of the water as you gaze upon views of Longs Peak in the distance. Please note, reservations may be required to visit the park. Visitors to the lake have the option to rent a kayak, canoe, or standup paddleboard. Once at the lakes, you can go for a swim (so bring a suit!) In layman's terms, they are the state's finest fisheries. Blue lake sits at 11,355 feet and is frozen for much of the year. Gray Wolf Reintroduction, What Does 2023 Look Like In Colorado? An email has been sent to with a link to confirm list signup. Notifications from this discussion will be disabled. Start at the main trailhead and wander up either Crystal Creek Road (the uphill ramp on your right if youre looking at the end of the lot) or continue straight past the lot to the upper lot (about a 5-car pull out) where the road intersects the Wheeler Trail. 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. But once there, you can take in impressive panoramas of the valley below as well as hidden meadows, streams, and ponds. Meg aka Fox is a 30-something who's born to explore. Threats of harming another The video showcases the beauty of Colorado's high country. What does 2023 look like for gray wolf reintroduction? You even get two lakes for the price of one hike. Spooky indeed! To extend your adventure, you can continue on to Isabelle Glacier. Eloping in Colorado gives you access to epic views of 15 mountain ranges, 54 peaks over 10,000 feet, alpine lakes, meadows of wildflowers, and a vast variety of gorgeous backdrops. (Photo/David Young) Banff Sunshine is about a 15-minute drive from Banff and is serviced by a nearly 3-mile, eight-person gondola that transports skiers and snowboarders to the . If you just cant get enough alpine lakes in Colorado, why not choose a hiking trail that hits four different Lakes? You'll find San Cristobal incredibly stunning. Nestled at 7,323 feet, the trail leading to the lake is short but relatively steep, gaining more than a thousand feet in elevation. Distance: 23.8 milesElevation: 4,767 feetDifficulty: DifficultRed Tape and Local Tips: Dogs are welcome to use this trail. On the way to Emerald Lake you will also pass Nymph Lake and Dream Lake. Lake Blanche Trail : An absolute must-see for the aspiring Wasatch adventurer . 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. racist or sexually-oriented language. Use a private browsing window to sign in. Elevation Gain: 465 feet. Lake Isabelle. Once you get to the lake, focus on the right shoreline, where there is a great drop off for fish to hang out around. If you're up for the challenge, Kit Carson and Challenger Point can also be accessed along this trail. If you push on past the falls, you'll be rewarded with some of the most beautiful alpine lakes near Denver. Black lake is a stunning and dramatic lake nestled deep in Rocky Mountain National Park. Sprague is one of the best places to catch the sunrise in Rocky Mountain National Park. Check with the Castle Mountain Recreation Company for more up-to-date information. Success! Its also home to some of the best fall hikes in Colorado. Stargazing at night is amazing, so be sure to bring a camera if youre into night photography! Plenty of camping up there and a dog-friendly area. You could spend a lifetime trying to see all of the alpine lakes in Colorado and just barely scratch the surface. It's Denver's highest mountain park and was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1965. Take a look at these butt-busting lake hikes in Colorado. Please note, reservations may be required for visiting the park. However, in the winter months, some of the roads to various trailheads arent maintained, and this may add a substantial amount of snowy hiking to your journey.