Hassell Lake is a 3.1 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Empire, CO that offers scenic views and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, fishing, and fly fishing and is accessible from June until August.
From I-70 take the Empire exit CO-40 past Berthoud Falls to the Big Bend. Turn left and follow 202 until you get to Woods Creek Road, turn left towards the Urad Mine. Follow the only un-gated road to its end. You will be passing through mine property but no need to worry about getting off track, they have gated all the places they do not want you to go.
This was a lovely hike yesterday. Pretty aspen and spruce trees along much of the trail. The gravel road up is eventually blocked by a red gate, which is where you will turn right into the parking lot. By foot you will continue up the road beyond the red gate and after about 500 steps you find yourself above the left side of Urad Lake. The road/trail continues to the far side of the lake and around to the other side and starts heading back. That is where you will see the small trail sign (sitting above a larger blank sign). Just a little further you will see a very rocky stream crossing ahead and a small trail to the left that heads up the hill. Take that trail up the hill. You will soon cross the stream on a 2 plank bridge. After crossing you will find the trail registration box (that only had scraps of paper in it.) In a bit the trail starts getting steeper. Once you get to the very steep part you will continue to encounter other very steep parts for about 400 footsteps going up...or 500 steps going down. (Just to give you a clue as to how long the somewhat dangerous part lasts.) The big rock that signals Hassell lake is near is about 6 feet tall. Just a few feet past that take the small trail to the left through the lakeside grass to get to the lake. You will encounter a small bridge made up of about 3 logs a bit before the lake. I had the lake to myself.
I was able to walk all the way around the lake but in places I lost the trail, then found it again. The trail goes into the trees past the grassy area at the far side of the lake and crosses 2 or 3 feeder streams. The grassy area is quite marshy.
On the return trail when I got back to Urad lake, I thought I'd turn left and see if I could cross the very rocky stream and walk along Urad lake to the dam. The trail was very narrow in places (about the width of a shoe) but it was do-able. I walked across the dam to get back to the road/trail and back to the car (since It didn't look like there was a trail down the hill on the left side of the dam that could take you back to the parking lot.) Back at the car I explored the area behind the yellow gate and that road peters out at the first of a pair of streams. The one from the spillway maybe had one feasible crossing place but there was a lot of thick brush on much of the far side so I didn't explore further. Just nice to sit there and look at the pretty aspen groves on the hillside beyond the stream.
Decent trail to a beautiful alpine lake. Not very crowded up to the lake, which I appreciated. Thanks to others for their specific instructions on how to find the trail.
Great lake for backpacking if you want to carry a lot of extra gear, hike is manageable. Fish weren't really biting.
So we did a trial backpacking run today up to the lake and it was beautiful!!!! The hike from the parking lot to the far side of Urad was the easy part. Don't go left too soon up the "road" keep going over the little hill and there is a trail sign. Right before you cross the river the trail to the left up some rock stairs. Head up the trail and register and then continue along over the "bridge" and on up the Mountain. The trail is narrow and the loose rocks on the switchbacks are a bit tougher with a 35 lb pack but there is no need to rush. Take in the scenery, animals and the dozens of wildflowers along the trail. Eventually it levels out and you will start to hear the stream on your left. Continue on up until you reach the big rock and you are almost there. If you goto the right when you reach the lake there is a nice camping spot within ear and eye shot of the waterfall that feeds the lake. We enjoyed fishing and watching all the fish jump. The whole day up there we only saw 2 other people. It was probably one of the most peaceful and absolutely beautiful places I have camped in a long while. One last bit of advice..... Bring lots of bug spray even for a day hike.
Leaving the parking lot just below Urad Lake is an easy climb on a road until you get past the lake. Then the trail climbs rather steeply about 600' in one-third of a mile easing up the rest of the way to Hassell Lake. The hike is very scenic in the steep section and just above then follows the outlet stream to the lake. The lake is pleasant, with small brookies and nice views. It tuned out to be a nice hike to enjoy with my daughter and grandson.
Myself and 2 friends hiked the trail and stayed one night at Hassell Lake in late June. The first half of the trail is a brutal incline (especially with a 40lbs pack on). The last half levels out, but at this time of year there is still a lot of snow to trudge through. The lake is stunning. Gorgeous view, crystal clear water, and plenty of hungry brook trout. Also, from the time we left Urad Lake, we didn't see another person.