Explore Nederland/James Peak - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Nederland/James Peak Map

Spiked and snowshoed today 1/20/19 and enjoyed lots of snow, ice and sunshine. I love seeing happy hikers with their children and dogs. Only disappoinment today was all the dog poop on the trail!

Snow shoe or ski in. Otherwise you post hole. Busier than I wanted it yesterday morning. Trail condition is great. Mostly established main trails.. Packed snow on trails until you start climbing the last steep 1000 feet then it’s deep snow country and would be difficult without a reliable flotation devise (snowshoe or ski) The first lake we run into was frozen. To ski or snow shoe? If you ski here you glide. You snowshoe? Hard work = great toned legs! :) either way this place is relatively close to DENVER and offers amazing views and tons of photo ops with other like minded humans. And its as cliche as the saying “it‘s worth it”! Happy trails!

Great snow, great trail! Snowshoed up to the lower lake this morning. Started at about 9:30, done by 1:30. Definitely need snowshoes as we were breaking trail in tons of powder up by the lake. Also, snow is great all the way from the trailhead, so best to wear your snowshoes or skins/skis to keep the snow pack as smooth as possible for others.

If the parking lot is windy, don't worry. There is great tree cover all the way up to the lakes. The first mile is packed snow, but you can still wear your snowshoes. You will need them. The last mile is a steep climb up and traction is crucial. I continued to the upper lake and followed someone's else's tracks. Snow was knee deep - fun! Took me 3.25 hours RT.

Made it to the lower crater lakes. Started at 9am and was back at the parking lot by 12:30pm. The last mile is a good upwards climb. Snowshoes only needed up top when you're exploring the lakes. I had crampons on otherwise.

Snowshoed 1/12/19. Tracks were easy to follow. Fairly gradual for the first couple of miles. The last mile is pretty steep so be prepared for a climb

Made it to the upper lake on snowshoes! Lots of people on skis up to the lower lakes, but I'm not sure it would be possible for most to make it to upper lake on skis - very steep! You'll need one or the other to make it to the first lakes, started postholing about half a mile from them.

Started around 8:30, got back to the car around 4, with lots of breaks and trail breaking and route finding slowing us down. Absolutely worth the effort! So beautiful.

Wow for sure the best snowshoe I've done so far in Colorado. This trail was magical in the snow! Even the drive there was delightful. It can be hard to tell which tracks to follow, but if you keep following the signs for the trail you'll get to the lake eventually! If you go up a little beyond the lake it is heckin steep but the views are stunning and majestic this trail was the best.

9 days ago

This is a great snowshoe hike!! It’s so gorgeous thru the rolling hills with great views of fluffy snow covered trees and mountains in the distance. Lots of animal tracks, possibly moose or Elk - some were giant! My dog enjoyed sniffing them out! First time ever trekking out a trail on my own through the fresh powder. Gators and snowshoes were a must! The first 3/8 of a mile was pretty easy to find the trail (since the powder lays smoother over it), but we most definitely got lost and had to watch the All trails map live to figure out how close we were. But it made it all that much more fun. I apologize to anyone following our trail anytime soon! You will get lost too! We only made it like a mile in before we turned around, but if we had more time would have loved to keep exploring! We parked across the highway as there didn’t appear to be a great public place near the trailhead. But it’s just a short walk over. Maybe it’s more obvious when it’s dry.

12 days ago

12/8/2018 - A good amount of ice on the trail, so I would recommend spikes at minimum, but a fresh dusting of snow left the trail impassable with about 0.7M to the end (~1.5ft of snow, and I only had spikes on). Most of the snow on the first half of the road had melted, so not ideal for XC skiing or snowmobiling anymore I’d imagine. Only option for parking is illegal street parking.

Is this trail accessible/recommended in the winter for snowshoeing?

14 days ago

Snowshoed on 1/1/19. Beautiful area and good amount of snow after a couple of miles. Not necessary in the first couple of miles.

snowshoed this trail 1/6/2019

beginning of trail needed just our micro spikes, transitioned to snowshoes a couple miles in. For a Sunday not busy at all..we arrived around 10am...plenty of parking. HIGHLY recommend some sort of GPS device...as you can follow 1 wrong set of snowshoe prints and add an extra mile (which made it waaaaay harder). we only went to the lower lakes as we were cold by that point. we plan on returning in the summer!

16 days ago

Great winter hike! Did this one today, and there is a ton of snow, but we managed with just spikes. There were a lot of people snowshoeing and cross-country skiing -- good trail for that as well. The lake is completely frozen over, but the views are amazing.

Lost lake is absolutely beautiful with the mountains in the background! Highly recommend this hike for the views. Did this hike on 1/5/19 and arrived at 8:30am. Ran into about 5 groups of people on the way to the lake and 5 groups on the way back. Arrived back at the car around 10am and it was PACKED! So many people & dogs about to start the hike. So definitely recommend getting there early to enjoy the peacefulness and beauty of the trail. The snow is very packed down all the way to the lake, Snowshoes aren’t necessary but I would recommend yaktrax/spikes for traction. If you pass the lake and continue to the end of the trail snowshoes would be helpful (but not absolutely necessary) as the snow gets very deep! Note: the area to park is slightly before where AllTrails directs you too. You will walk about 0.4 miles on top of a partially frozen creek. There is a very thin and hidden path off to the side to avoid walking on the ice!

Beautiful hike! The road to Monarch Lake is closed for the season, so know you'll have about an extra mile each way. We saw a family of moose close to the trailhead, lots of animal prints around Monarch Lake so be aware. Snow was well packed for most of the trail, but once you reach the switchbacks after Monarch Lake you'll probably want snowshoes, as XC skiers don't go there. We only made it to Cascade Falls and the trip took about 6 hours RT. Anyone else trying it out in the winter - good luck!

Hiked to Lake Dorothy up the Arapahoe pass on Sept 17, 2018. A beautiful day, we arrived at the trail head at 8:30 AM and were able to find a legal parking space just down the hill from the camping area. We only saw 5 other hikers the entire trip; one woman coming down, two college men who passed us on the way up and three people going up on our way down.
Very windy at the lake, The "shelter" at the the lake is little more than an organized pile of rocks that is too short to protect you from the wind. The Arapahoe trail was protected from the wind, and the sunny south exposure was very pleasant. Completed the 7.6 mile round trip in a little less than 4 hours with a lunch break at the lake.

Great beautiful snow covered trail! We hoped to snowshoe but there wasn’t even enough snow for crampons. Though the full area was covered in snow but all the trails were trekked out and easy to follow. My sister who’s a mountain biker said it would be perfect for a fat bike ride! But we enjoyed it hiking with the dogs. We walked the interweaving trails for 4 miles and it was pretty easy, with easy rolling hills. If you don’t have the map it might be easy to get lost since there are so many connecting trails (I used the pro version map on my phone which was perfect!). Will come back to this area for sure, possibly to trail run! On a Wednesday afternoon we only saw 2 other people (both with dogs too!)

One of my favorite hikes. IPW is fantastic.

Snowshoed up to Heart Lake on Sunday December30th. The trail was broken all the way to the lake and easy to follow. A little wind when we got out of the trees but wasn’t to bad. Love this trail in the winter and the summer!!!

Hiked July 2017 trail to the lake/ glacier offered amazing views and we loved weaving through the forest on the way up. The glacial lake and surrounding mountain range in breathtaking! I personally thought the trail deserves a moderate rating as long as you don’t follow the switchbacks to the very top.

Super beautiful in the snow. The lake was frozen solid on new year's day!

For being so close to Boulder, I was amazed that there were as few people on the trail as there were. Completed the hike on 12/30 and the snow was pretty good - it’s certainly possible to do this in spikes, but I switched out my spikes for snowshoes after about a quarter mile and had a much better experience that way. The views at the top are gorgeous and do not disappoint! Highly recommend.

We’ve done this hike in spring, summer, fall and winter and each time it amazes us. It’s a lot more challenging in the winter and easy to lose the trail. In the summer, climbing above the waterfalls is challenging and technical-ish but totally worth it. Use the cairns to work your way across the boulder fields and through the brush above the waterfalls.

One of my favorites, can’t go wrong in the Brainard Lake area really :) one thing I learned this year: Lake Isabelle serves as a reservoir, and at the beginning of September if gets largely drained. Still a beautiful hike with long lake, a waterfall, and happy doggos. Always see moose up in this area, and marmots and pika often chirp alongside the lake.

1 month ago

Beautiful hike, make sure to bring snowshoes and your gps in the winter time!

1 month ago

Absolutely gorgeous trail. Don't let the 8 mile distance deceive you, steep elevation gain and constant winds make this hike a challenging and fun winter hike. Definitely recommend micro spikes and crampons. Snowshoes aren't really necessary.

The trail basically has 4 parts: the lake, the glacier, the tundra, and the peak. Immediately you start to gain elevation as you hike up to St. Mary's Lake, but nothing too difficult. The first steep climb is up St. Mary's Glacier where you begin to notice the constant wind. This is where I went from just micro spikes to crampons with patches of ice along the climb. Though there's not much elevation climb, the trek across the wide open tundra is made challenging by the constant wind. I stayed comfortable and warm by leaving no exposed skin, however I still had to work hard as I was facing a constant headwind. I didn't it make it all the way up to the peak, stopping at a rocky outcrop before turning around. If I wasn't by myself and my phone hadn't died, I would've pressed onward. Definitely a doable winter summit hike, just be prepared!

1 month ago

We went there in August of 2017. It was hot but you can get to enjoy the snow! Just amazing. My GPS was not working so I was not able to record my hike but it was totally worth hike. Enjoy!! x

Snowshoed on 11/22. 8 mile dirt road to the trailhead was clear and I was able to slowly make it in a sedan but 4x4 would make it easier and quicker. Snow covered forest for the majority of the hike wad well packed and don't need snowshoes until you are about a mile or so out from the lake. I decided to make it up to the Continental divide trail but it was very slow going and frustrating to gain ground. can't recommend enough as the 360 view from the top had been one of my favorites. Push yourself that last mile up and you won't be disappointed. Even found some cell signal up there!

1 month ago

Hiked 12/8

40-50mph sustained winds. Party of 3 with avalanche gear, rescue equip and all the layers. Glad we had it. We got about halfway through the long saddle before realizing we not only couldn’t visualize the destination by then, but also were getting some wicked frostbite on the covered areas of our faces. We made the right decision to turn back and do some rescue practice when...

Avalanche occurred on steep face of st Mary’s on our return. We spent some time on the NW side of the glacier practicing rescues and arrests. On our way down noticed a large rescue squad who mentioned an avalanche occurred minutes earlier. Visibility was 20-30ft so we didn’t believe them until we looked at the lake bed from a plateau....we knew the terrain and not to hike this area because of the risk, and boy are we glad.

Great place to practice, but even here you need to be aware. Forecast on avalanches were low-moderate risk, but the very strong winds this weekend created a cornice that when broken by a skier above, unleashed a sizable slide.

STAY TO THE RIGHT as you head up the glacial drainage, bring all the gear and make your decisions before it’s too late.

Without the wind destroying our little bit of exposed skin, it would have been a pleasant ~5 hour trek. It was a great shortened summit to the top of St. Mary’s and the two mountains on each side of the glacier. Difficult but not insane. Crampons, snowshoes, pole and maybe and axe recommended. 10-30” in most places.

Not for tourists visitors, but also not only for seasoned veterans. Somewhere in between with emphasis on basic mountain safety knowledge.

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