dogs on leash
I love this trail! If you're looking to try out some higher elevation hikes, this one is pretty great. I've only ever hiked it about half way, which is roughly 6 miles round trip, but it's still substantial and offers beautiful views.
From the Rainbow Lakes Campground, the trail starts out easy/moderate, then as you go along the Boulder Watershed it levels out quite a bit for probably about a mile, give or take. It's a lovely walk through the woods. Then you'll hit some switchbacks and start gaining that elevation. The switchbacks end right as you break tree line, and the views are spectacular. From there if you go up and over that first little hill out to the switchback, you'll get a great view of the watershed, glacier, and Arapaho peaks. It's BEAUTIFUL. If you're looking to do only about half of the full 12-mile trail, this is a great turnaround point (it's actually a little less than half, but still a good stretch). I've taken it maybe a mile further, but was unfortunately turned around by the weather (actually, 2 of the 3 times I've hiked it, I've encountered bad weather, so use caution in the summer time once you break that tree line).
Otherwise, the wild flowers are on point in the spring/summer, it's never really busy, and Nederland is super close for a delicious post-hike beer at Very Nice. Oh and the dirt road leading to the trailhead is about 5 miles of extra rugged driving, so just make sure to take a proper vehicle.
Its a great snowshoeing trail, very popular in winter. Most people on the hessie trail are hiking this trail, however there are a lot of trails that split off from this one that are worth checking out and tend to have much less traffic. The few times I snowshoed devils thumb trail I was completely alone once I broke off the trail to lost lake.
15 Jan 2017 - Easy morning hike/snowshoeing excursion. Get there early, even at this time of year. Due to snow, the road is closed about 1 mi before the trailhead. Got there at 07:50 and then got to the trailhead by 08:30. Since it had been a while since the last big snow, I barely needed snowshoes at all. Moose tracks near the end. Lost Lake was very serene, but the vistas were not spectacular. Got to the lake by 09:45. By the time the hike was over (10:45), the trail was a zoo and the road was totally parked up, so be sure to go early. [3.3/5]
Hiked on Jan 2, 2017. A nice winter trail, packed down so we just hiked in our boots. Lots of snowshoers and some cross country skiers. Definitely a popular trail, and it had nice views, especially once you get to the west side of the lake. It is mostly uphill to the lake, some gradual inclines, some flat areas, and then the last 0.2mi is uphill. That just means the hike back out is super easy. :) Our dog loved it too. Someone was even ice fishing on the lake - there was about 12in of ice on it.
This is the most beautiful hike I have ever completed. As others have mentioned, the parking lot fills and it adds exta to the hike. We hiked it from the Niwot parking lot and took the Niwot Cutoff Trail. This is an easy hike, but it is a little rockies than other trails I have hikes also rated as easy. I had a recent trip ankle sprain and carried too much photo gear, thus increasing the difficulty of the hike for me, personally, but still found it rewarding. This is a heavily traveled trail and one my dog enjoyed, with ample places to get a drink and cool off along the way. I absolutely want to do this again.