Jasper Lake Trail is a 10.8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Nederland, CO that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
From Nederaland, drive a little more than a quarter mile south on Colorado State Highway 119. Turn right (west) on County Road 130 which heads to the Eldora Ski area and beyond. About two miles beyond the turn off to the ski area you will pass through the town of Eldora where the road turns to gravel. Less than a mile further the road forks, either right towards Fourth of July Basin or left towards what is left of the town of Hessie (Elevation 9,000 feet). If you are equipped with a high clearance or four-wheel-drive vehicle, turn left - otherwise, turn around at the fork and as you are now headed back towards the town of Eldora, you will see where parking is allowed along the right hand side of the road.
Gorgeous views and a great place to camp.
Beautiful views, especially with the aspens turning yellow! The lake is definitely mostly drained. There is some water and you can tell it is a lake, but it is pretty low. A lot of the stream along the trail has also dried up too. Still beautiful though. Got there around 7:30am on a Thursday morning and there were three other cars there. When we got back to the car around 1:30pm parking was full and on our way down around 11am we saw a ton of people. Several people said they saw 4 moose! We made sure to keep our dog close because of this and leashed as he should be. Never saw any moose though. If you park in the white lines it's not so bad on a 4 door small car. But if you have to go further up for parking the road can be tough. Lots of pot holes and boulders to drive over. Our friend recommended going one more mile to Devil's thumb lake, but we were tired and content with Jasper. He said it's beautiful at Devil's thumb. Tracked our mileage from the parking lot and round trip it said we did 11.8 miles.
As a note, the lake is mostly drained. Still a good amount of water not just the full lake you would expect.
Well marked and easy to navigate. The view at Jasper is amazing and worth the hike.
We enjoyed this hike! It was much further than the 8.8 miles stated but fun nonetheless. We were exhausted and the pups were exhausted so win, win!
Hiked today, June 19th. Parking was full, but there is a shuttle from downtown Nederland Park and Ride to the trail head. 4wd area looked pretty sketchy as it was flooded and there were boulders showing, so didn't risk it. Hike was close to 12 miles round trip from where we parked and we did make it up to Jasper Lake. Lots of snow on the last 1/2 mile of hike. Lake still is partially frozen/snow covered. Saw a moose with 2 calves about half way up. Tons of snow melting and running down the trail. Advise wearing waterproof hiking boots to try to stay dry - still didn't manage to stay dry as there was just so much water and snow. Not many folks braved the trail all the way up. Only saw one other group of people up at the lake and we sat for a while enjoying lunch before hiking back down. Lots of pretty waterfalls and rushing water in creek. We started out right around 8am and parking was full, though we managed to snag the spot farthest from the trail head. Trail is very clearly marked. They lay logs across false trails so you know which way to go.
The bridge at 39.96207N 105.63985W has broken in half, but you can sort of crawl across if you want. I expect it will be easily passable in a few weeks when the water level is a few inches lower. No snow on the trail until you get closer to the lake.
Went yesterday, June 4th. There was quite a bit of snow still left, and we were postholing so we decided to turn around and hike to the lake another time. Went 3/4 the way along the trail before turning around. I would say in a few weeks, it should be much easier.
Beautiful scenery though, including a gorgeous meadow and an awesome waterfall towards the start of the trail.
It was a memorable journey. Beautiful views and a real challenge - which is exactly what I wanted. It's June 4th and there's still quite a bit of snow and an awful lot of water runoff so be prepared to get wet. The last mile or so is all snow with some steep inclines. Just follow the footsteps and they'll take you to the lake! Reaching the lake feels like a real accomplishment given the current conditions. There also was only a few other people on the trail so not crowded whatsoever.
I'm anxious to get back there in the late summer to see how it looks minus all the snow!
Fantastic trail, only met two others after turning on to Devil's Thumb Bypass. It was exhausting and took a long time in the snow (about 6 and 1/2 hours). We had to start breaking trail shortly after the bypass became Devil's Thumb Trail again. The Hessie trailhead has become one of our favorites for its easy access and parking. Despite the easy trail in to Lost Lake, there are enough trails branching off to make this a good spot for many trips to the various lakes.
Great hike, lots of different landscapes! I'd recommend it to anyone ! Amazing views !
This hike was... interesting. This time of year is incredibly dry and dusty. The terrain is quite rocky and steep, not entirely what we were expecting, but also not bad. We made it to Jasper and weren't sure if we were there. The lake is empty! I'm assuming this is actually man made and has been drained or something. We didn't realize we had reached it until we got back down to the trail head and checked out the map. There is very little water in the lake which is a completely different perspective, still beautiful however. I can't wait to go back next summer and check it out when it's full.
Love the hike & nice views!
Hiked this trail July 12, 2015 - We had awesome weather for this hike. Sunny the whole way up. And when I say up, I mean up. The elevation gain isn't that unusal for me at around 1800 ft., but the trail to the lake is a steady uphill trek on rocky, rough trail. There is one beautiful open meadow that you go through right where you enter the Indian Peaks Wilderness. Other than this short time in open space, the trail mostly takes you through wooded areas with breaks for views of the surrounding mountains. The trail also follows the creek, so if you have a dog with you, as I did, it is nice to have a place for them to cool off on hot days. Not to mention how great it is to hear the hum of the rushing water. The real treat of this hike though, is the lake itself. Beautiful! Simply beautiful. If you hike up, make sure to locate the chair along the shore that is made of a flat stone and old tree stump and branches. It was a fine place to rest your bones while you had lunch. The only problem was, who got to sit in it. I'm giving this hike 4 stars mostly due to the lake. The beginning of the hike is a very rocky uphill start, and many people I fear would simply decide it was too unpleasant for them and not continue up. Any seasoned hiker though, knows that sometimes you have to get through the tough parts to reach the prize. As of July 12, there is very little snow up around the lake area, and none on the trail, only small patches off trail. Wildflowers did not disappoint! Happy Hiking!
Great hike with great views and a beautiful lake to stop and have a picnic at.
Nice long hike in June.
First my admission: I didn't make it to Jasper Lake. If your reading this to find out about the lake, I've let you down.
We arrived about 7:45am on Friday July 11th, and the 2wd parking lot was almost full. The 4wd 1/2 mile looked submerged. We saw vehicles parked past it, but no idea how they did it. Unless you are confident with your vehicle and skills, I'd arrive early and count on the extra walk.
There are some steep and rocky sections of the trail. We veered to the right and went over the first bridge, this way takes you near some incredible falls, through a lovely meadow (you may, as we did) break into a Julie Andrews song), and into a narrow single track that winds through the forest.
There are lots of signs along the way to help you stay your course. As crowder as the parking lot was, there weren't very many people. Those you do meet are of the happy trekker sort.
An important milestone is the sign marking the boundary to Indian Peaks Wilderness.
A sign with an after thought carving pointing the way to Jasper will start you up a steep, narrow trail. In other trip reports I read, it narrows enough to make keeping it and finding it a bit of a chore. Alas, I don't know. I could feel the telltale tightening behind my weaker left knee. I was worried all the down hill return would be pain riddled and at a snail's pace.
On the return, we were on the main trail, with the ponds and creek to our right.
As with the other trail, it was a riot of wildflowers and breathtaking vistas.
Simply glorious all in all and I can't wait to try again, hopefully reaching the lake. I do love the flowers, but I think the fall will also be spectacular.
Best advice? Arrive early, not on a weekend, bring sunscreen and bug spray.
A few additions to Crystal's review, which a friend and I used this weekend to get to Jasper Lake from Hessie Trailhead, on 6/22/13-6/23/13...
Parking at the trailhead is VERY limited. We got up late and arrived at 9am and snagged one of the last spots. I'd recommend getting there by 8am for attainable parking.
We also took our dog, and dogs MUST be on a leash. We passed rangers twice on the way up, and got a warning for having ours off leash. We also talked to people who saw a $120 ticket given out that day. Again, leashes!
The climb itself was simply gorgeous. Many streams, a huge creek, various types of scenery, well marked trail. Aside from being tiring going up hill, there was only one instance where I lost my footing. The last mile or mile.5 had a moderate amount of snow that required some post-holing and being careful. I'm 25 and in good shape, but I also never hiked a trail of this length. We saw lots of older folk heading up, but they all had 2 poles, etc.
It took my friend and I about 3.5 hours to get from Hessie trailhead to Jasper Lake. That's with plenty of stopping time. If you're in decent shape this should be attainable for most people. About 2 hours down.
If you want to camp along the trail you need a permit.
Great place to do a couple of day hikes and find a nice place to spend the night in between. Lots to see with all the lakes and Devil's Thumb Pass. No fires. (though someone says you can make a small one and not get seen or burn down the state)
Hessie Trailhead to Jasper Lake = 8.8 Miles (RT)
2WD parking to Jasper Lake = 9.8 Miles (RT)
2WD parking to Storm Lakes via Jasper Lake = 10.5 Miles (RT)
Awesome day hike with very few people for a Sunday. I have a 2WD car, so parked on the road at the Hessie / 4th of July road split. Walk to Hessie trailhead only .5 miles.
Once reaching Jasper Lake, you can continue up west along the creek and waterfalls, using campsite trails. Social trails eventually give way to some steep scrambling. The effort is rewarded with the beautiful alpine scenery of Storm Lake. It started to get cold at elevation and a storm was brewing so we did not make it up to Upper Storm Lake. Next time!