King Lake Trail is a 6.2 mile heavily trafficked point-to-point trail located near Nederland, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible from June until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
From Nederland, head south on Colorado Highway 119 for 0.5 mile. Turn west onto County Road 130 (Eldora Ski Resort sign). Stay on the main road through the town of Eldora. Once the pavement ends, continue for another mile. Look for a sign and vehicles parked above a side road heading sharply down and to the left. This side road leads to Hessie TH and is a cobblestone creek bed that carries water year round. Vehicles without high clearance should park at this junction. From here, it is a -mile walk to the trailhead. This trailhead sees high use, especially on weekends, and parking is limited.
This hike was well worth the trip. I started at 6:15 am and made it to the lake around 830-9ish. Once you get past the initial rocky beginning the trail does get a whole lot better. Extremely lush, full of wildflowers and streams, and overall beautiful. I do recommend bug spray, as the mosquitoes and flies were rampant as well as shoes with good traction to get by the rocky beginning. It's a lot like loose gravel and pretty dry. Overall great hike and workout towards the top!
Good hike with loads of options for shorter distances (lost lake and a nice little waterfall) and long (King or Woodland Lakes). Creek is running strong. We had the wee people, ages 8 and 6, and made it through the valley and right up the last portion of approach to the lake. 8 miles RT for us today. Path is 95% dry, lots of loose rock, though. Arrived 7:15am and had to park quarter mile down the road. Make sure to arrive very early if you want to avoid parking in Eldora.
I did this hike on 6/4/16 and the trail was still covered in snow. We eventually had to turn around because we couldn't see any more tracks in the snow and kept sinking in the snow. Maybe it would be more doable with snowshoes? Can't wait to come back once the snow has melted! The incline wasn't too bad. Only the beginning climb until you reach the turn off for Lost Lake is a bit steep but it definitely mellows out. I can't speak for the last mile of the hike though (I'll update once I complete next time!).
It was a great hike, even though we didn't finish. We were probably 1.5miles from the lake when we had to turn back because of loss of daylight. It was a beautiful but tough hike and very quiet. The majority of the hike is uphill and strenuous. That 2700ish ft gain was a hoot.
Will be back to conquer!
If you start the hike on Hessie trailhead, it's primarily loose rock and is pretty annoying, but don't let it make you shy away from what is to come. The trail is filled with wild flowers and Colomines. The water is absolutely beautiful, rather you hike the 10ish miles or take the road up and park near by
Beautiful trek into the wilderness, went June 11th 2015, still too much snow to reach the lake. I ended up losing the trail and getting almost lost. I will definitely be back in a couple months time to see them lakes!
Lots of snow still in June. Didn't make it to lake ,lost trail on top because of to much snow. Still a great hike.2006-June,11
Really wish I could give this trail a better rating... unfortunately we just picked the wrong day to do it. Despite sunny and clear conditions at the trailhead, by the time we got about halfway some storms had rolled in, leading to windy, rainy, and foggy conditions the rest of the way. Hoping that it would clear up, we soldiered on, reaching the lake, but unfortunately the clouds were so low and dense at the top that we could barely even see the edge of the lake. With a trail this length you never know what to expect.
Definitely going to return and conquer this trail next summer.
Hiked on 7/4/14. Nice quiet hike. Crowds may be present at Hessie Trailhead, but once you are on King Lake Trail, traffic is very light. If you aren't able to get to the Hessie Trailhead via the 4WD road (through deep water), you end up clocking in about ~ 12miles. Only bummer is that most of trail is in valley under trees, until the last 3/4 of a mile, where trail steepens in final approach to lake. Once at the Lake, views are great. For more images of this hike, check out www.ohnophoto.com/king-lake/
Long trail that follows a valley with a very steep incline right at the lake. Gets techinical in places. The only downside is the large number of people at hesse trailhead. Very crowded there, but the later portion of the trail and the end are well worth the sacrifice.
10.8 Miles (RT)
Almost 2,500 ft elevation gain
Tough workout through a long (seemingly never ending) valley. But the destination is well worth the effort.