Explore the best hiking trails near Nederland with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.
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.
I hiked this trail in Sept. of 16'. This area is all part of the Indian Peaks Wilderness. Only went as far as Dorothy Lake though. The trail to Caribou pass beyond the cutoff to the lake was all but impossible to find. Didn't see anyone else headed that way either that day. Dorothy Lake made for a good destination and that's where we stopped for the day. The wind whipping over Arapahoe pass was nasty. You could only stand on that edge looking down towards Caribou lake for a short time before you had to step back out of it. This is a pretty easy trail, and well maintained/used. The last pitch to the lake is pretty steep, but probably only because you have walked 4 miles and are now at the highest elevation along the route. Great views to the SW as you climb above tree line. Fairly popular area too, as there were many people out that day. Had to park quite a ways down the road from the trailhead. I did make the drive up to the parking area there in our rental car, but I had to negotiate a few nasty spots. So it can be done in a car. Definitely recommend this hike if in the area.