Harvard Lakes Trail is a 3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Buena Vista, CO that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from March until November. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.
Two small beautiful lakes hidden at the base of Mt Columbia From the trailhead go south along the old logging road. When the road takes a sharp turn right (West) you will see a path continuing south. This is the key to this trail. Once you find this trail the rest is easy. After the trail crosses Three Elks Creek it will begin to turn west and lead you up the East side of Mt. Columbia. This trail will meet with the Colorado Trail just North of Harvard Lakes. Turn left onto the Colorado trail for about 100 yards to reach the upper lake, continue on the trail a short ways to reach the lower lake.
So gorgeous! Mostly uphill on the way to the lakes- definitely worth it. I hiked it yesterday and only saw two other people the entire time. Quiet and so beautiful.
Beautiful hike. Initial trail winds through pine forest followed by steep rocky trail then meandering path by Elk Creek. Lakes are small but pretty. Creek is pure alpine beauty.
last 0.8 mile 4x4 access to trail head.
I went with a group of 5. We are 20-22 years old and triathletes. I'd say that we are pretty athletic people but this hike was a real challenge for us. We did the hike in January so there was a lot of snow.... We were hiking in knee deep snow for the majority of the time. The 3 miles there took us almost 4 hours and the way back took us just over 2. Pack lots of food and water! I would also recommend extreme caution in the winter time. There were some sharp incline icy patches. Someone in our group slid about 15 feet down the side of the mountain before she was able to grab a tree branch and pull herself up.
Nice hike overall. Steep incline with loose gravel about half way into the hike. Decent view, somewhat obstructed, at the top of the ridge after this steep ascent. Then the trail runs along creek before intersecting the Colorado trail, with the lakes just down from there. Shallow lakes, no view. Not as impressive as other high mountain lakes in the area.
We are in our early fifties and generally desert dwellers. I would rate this hike moderate if you are use to the elevation and if you don't encounter snow drifts on the trail as we did. That being said, beautiful hike!
Pretty steep for a low-elevation dweller but peaks at one of the lakes was thrilling. Big campsites for overnighters.
Very nice hike, and I thought the journey was as beautiful as the destination. There was a beautiful stream on the way and it rained on us a little which made it nice and cool. We only met three other people on the trail itself, and not too many up at the lakes either. Quite an uphill getting there but totally worth it and I loved the solitude.
Great day hike. Beautiful views over looking Buena Vista and a beautiful terrain. If I did the hike again, I probably wouldn't bring the fishing poles along; the lakes were a lot smaller and shallower than I expected and fish were pretty small too.