Explore the most popular camping trails in Indian Peaks Wilderness with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

19 hours ago

This was a beautiful hike that had a ton of snow today. It was a gorgeous day out and I cannot wait to do this hike again. Heads up, the road to the trailhead was snowed in and we had to walk the rest of the way.

I love this hike, I have done it in a variety of seasons. There is a beautiful waterfall during the spring run off. Make sure you walk around the lake and look back towards the trail when you get there for the best views. Lots of snow on the trail today !! Knee deep drifts in spots the last half mile to the lake . Only used spikes today , no snow shoes although they would have been handy in a few places. We blazed the trail, should be a decent trench until the next big dump ! Also we had to park on the road near the intersection for the Fourth of July TH . I don’t recommend driving any further down the road unless you have some serious clearance.

Hiked this today 10-25-18. Easy parking at 11am on A Thursday but I could see how it would be tough on a weekend.

Very rocky overall and not a ton of views until the lake. Still very pretty. Micro spikes are a must for the last mile or so the lake. It’s entirely snow and ice. Most people we saw did not have them and really struggled. Overall an easy pretty hike, that was dog friendly with a nice lake payoff.

Very pretty moderate hike. Would recommend

Hiked this a few days ago on 10/20. The hike was really fun and pretty and we enjoyed it a lot. It also wasn’t too difficult of a hike. Get there early if you want to park by the trailhead. The parking was full when we arrived around 11, so we had to park on the street in town, which added a couple extra miles to our hike. There was quite a bit of snow on the top half when we were there. Poles or yaktrax probably would have been helpful. Overall, very nice.

Great little hike, plenty of kids managing it well. Was a little icy in spots, especially right before the lake, microspikes would have been handy.

This is a fun, easy going hike, with a couple of waterfalls on the way to the lake. There was plenty of snow but the weather was perfect. We were glad to have yak tracks - many people didn't look like they were having a good time on the way down because it was quite slippery.

10/20/18 Hiked up to lost lake. Awesome trail. The trail up to the lake was mostly snow and ice.

Get there early for parking unless you feel like adding some extra steps your hike. Along the street parking in designated areas.

Definitely need some YakTracks for most of the hike as of 10/13 (especially coming down.)

Mostly uphill until you get to the lake. Bring some snacks and extra jackets for the wind. Beautiful hike!

Beautiful hike with small waterfalls along the way. Make sure to bundle up and wear spikes if you’ have them. The lake is picturesque. Pack a lunch and stay awhile...you’ll be glad you did!

Microspikes are pretty much necessary as of 10/13/18. Fun trail and beautiful lake!

1 month ago

This trail can get crowded on weekends, but if you're able to get up here on a weekday it's easily a 5/5 hike.

Went yesterday & today. I camped at Lost Lake last night. About 2 miles in from where you park. Woke up this morning to about 22 degrees. And it had rained just a bit last night. Ran into a bunch of people on the trail as I was heading to set up camp who saw moose.

So I went clockwise. This was the right choice for me as the climb is more gradual (and I just got off a plane from Florida yesterday :)

Was gonna camp one more night (tonight) at Jasper Lake but....it was gonna be 20. And was only 5.3 miles to the car at that point. So I humped all 15 today w my 25lb pack.

And - I’m sitting at the noodle restaurant now haha. Yes, delicious.

If you are planning to complete the loop in a day , I would recommend start early. If you are not acclimated to the high altitude then it is a lot harder then it seems. Take plenty of breaks and drink a lot of water.

there were some good views. once I got to the lake, that was the best. the trail itself felt more like walking along a 4x4 road. very busy and parking was scarce by 0700. for a quick easy 4 mile hike it wasnt bad but I won't do it again. many better trails in Indian Peaks to go back to.

Such a nice, smooth trail up, over and along the Divide. Always love this one!

We entered from CR 125 and 123–the latter a dirt road with lots of ruts and rocks as we neared the trailhead sign. Be advised that there are at least two different access points and that one may be easier than the other. The trail descended steeply over rocky scree before reaching the creek which it followed through a mountain meadow. The ascent from the meadow to the lake was fairly steep. Although the signage listed the distance to the lake as 1.2 miles,it seemed longer to us.

The lake itself is lovely and remote. We discovered a party of campers who had pitched tents and brought in a kayak. Yes, some of them were swimming!

High clearance four wheel drive vehicles are strongly suggested for accessing trailhead.

Beautiful hike. Limited parking, we arrived at approx 10am and were lucky to find a spot, I recommend going early. Lots of loose rock for nearly the entire trail. Great views, short and sweet.

We only hiked about 4.5 miles of this trail since we got on the road a little later than expected. Still a beautiful hike, is mostly a steep incline for the first couple miles so I would recommend being prepared for that. There’s a really pretty waterfall around mile 2(ish) off to the side. Would definitely like to go back and go backpacking!

Hiked this today on a beautiful cloud free, warm fall day. We didn't get to hike around the lake but we went to it to take a peek. We had to make it back in time for the final shuttle of the day!

1. The trail is shaded for much of the hike which is nice on warm sunny days.
2. Didn't see any rattlesnakes (my biggest fear since moving to CO) only one smaller snake that slithered away from the trail
3. Moderately challenging steepness (for most people - im not in CO hiking shape yet!) so this was a good middle level challenging hike for me that was a good mileage.
4. A few small waterfalls (unless we missed bigger ones) which were pretty. We werent able to stop and enjoy them too long because we had limited time but they were nice. you pass a handful of creeks on this trail.
5. Busy trail - i prefer this because the more people the less snakes (i assume haha) but i like that people are hiking the trail so you know if anything happens or you get hurt someone will cross your path at some point.
6. We saw a moose!! It was on the ride back to the parking area but still, super cool that there is some good wildlife in the area.

1. Parking! Which many people expressed. We went today on a Saturday afternoon, and we drove around for a while and wasted a lotttt of time, before deciding to take the shuttle which is about 15 min from the trailhead so we wasted an hour trying to figure out where to park and what to do with that.
2. Only two major scenic areas, from a view perspective, one open area that has a view of some mountains and a sky resort towards the middle of the hike, and the lost lake, otherwise its mostly a wooded rocky trail with not much scenic views. Still pretty, dont get me wrong, but i like mountains, and lots of em!
3. Some rock was really lose - it was tough on the way down for me so wear hiking boots (I fell going down and hit my knee because of the loose rock - and i was even wearing good hiking boots).

Good hike to get acclimated to the higher elevation. We took the shuttle from the Nederland Ride-and-Park, which worked very well to avoid the limited parking situation at the trailhead. Lovely views along the trail of mountain vistas, waterfalls, golden aspen, and clear Lost Lake. Really appreciated the shade along portions of the trail on a sunny day like today.

2 months ago

Completed with two friends over 4 days/3 nights, Sept. 8-11.

First day hiked 8.5 miles from Mitchell Lake Trailhead to Red Deer Lake. Several other campers there. Gorgeous lake with a glacier across the water.

Second day hiked out from Red Deer, then slow ascent to Buchanan Pass. Tough climb, but gorgeous view of both sides from the top. VERY windy. Descended from Buchanan, big abuse on knees and feet, then down past Cascade Trail Junction to camp at creek/meadow area a couple miles past four 10.2 miles on the day.

Third day was magical. Short hike to Pawnee Lake brought endless waterfalls and gorgeous view of Cherokee Peak on the way. Then continued on to literally the best campsite I've ever witnessed. Overlooking Pawnee Lake, just before it gets rocky on the ascent to Pawnee Pass is a meadow and perfect place to camp. We had to carry water from Pawnee Lake, but it was well worth it. Actual heaven on earth at "Jamestic Meadows." Played frisbee, napped in hammock, enjoyed the best view imaginable. Very little wind in our meadow camp. Can't recommend this enough. Short 5.3 mile hike (all uphill) made this a Magic Day.

Fourth day, left out at just before 6 with headlamps and climbed to Mordor, a.k.a. Pawnee Pass. Extremely rocky and pretty technical, this part of the trail is pretty intense. All rock, all ascent. Saw across to Buchanan as the sun rose. Perfection. Hiked past Pawnee down to the end of the trail. Traditional Rocky Mountain scenery with meadows, lakes and streams. Really nice way to end. Got off trail and had to hike another mile to get back to our parking lot, so that was a drag at the end.

Overall: Not for beginners by any stretch, but absolutely incredible and I would happily do it again, if for no other reason than one night at Jamestic Meadows.

Great trail with scenic views! We hiked counterclockwise and camped one night at Devils Thumb Lake. You have to have a permit durning the summer months up until Sept 15th. We camped on 9/7 and the temperature at night got down to around 30 - 31 degrees so make sure you have the correct gear even in early September. The first part of the trail going counter clockwise with a 35lb - 40lb pack can be difficult on some of the climbs in elevation, take breaks and drink plenty of water and you’ll be fine. There are plenty of water opportunities on the trail, so accessing water isn’t an issue for the most part. The ascend up from Devils Thumb Lake to the High Lonesome Trail has some great views you climb about 1,000 feet over approx a 1/2 - 3/4 mile. The rest of the trail after you come down off the High Lonesome Trail by King Lake you’ll be going down in elevation the remainder of the time. The overall trail is marked “ok” but recommend having a map or gps as back up, I would not rely on the trail markers only when hiking this trail. Great 15 + mile trail with beautiful views......go get some!!

Beautiful day! Glad we arrived early and beat the crowds!

While at a decently high altitude, it is only moderately challenging given the gentle (but consistent) upward slope. Lots of shade, but enough sun to warrant sunscreen!
Great picnic spots by the lake. Took us one hour up and 45 mins down with breaks to give water to the pups. Loved the hike!

Good hike today- trees were changing and lake was quiet and calm. We hit the lake around 10;30 and crowd was increasing on the way down. Parked at the trailhead. Very glad we got there early.

Great hike, great scenery. Like other reviews take the very short off trail wandering to view and enjoy the multiple water falls along the way up. Saw enough wild life to keep me satisfied. Birds, squirrels, chipmunks and even a small snake! Aspen are starting to turn so plenty of yellow patches most directions you look.

- need suv/4wd to reach trailhead if you don't want to walk miles along the dirt access road.

- expect and be prepared for sudden changes in weather. as we re-summited the pass to return back, we were caught in a lightning/hail storm while totally exposed on the ridge. not fun (in the moment, anyway). have a plan in mind. the storm passed pretty quickly but things could've been way worse.

- this is an absolutely spectacular hike, and a nice challenge. save some energy to switch back up out of the bowl if you choose to descend to the lake (which you should).

It was my first hike ever in Colorado so I have nothing to compare it to. Lol. I LOVED IT!!! Challenging but I’m way out of shape so if I can do it, I’m sure you’ll be fine!

As some folks have said, the drive-up to the trailhead needs a vehicle with clearance. The parking may be tight, and the path to get to the upper-lot... really needs clearance :)

The hike starts as woods, and soon turns into a carved-in shelf type of hike that follows the ridge. You cross some waterfall streams, and the trail soon opens up and widens for a while before turning into a carved-in shelf along a rock garden. It's almost otherworldly as you arrive past tree line and see the trail continue along the rock garden as far as your eye can see... perched on the side of the mountain, a thin ledge for you to walk along. I was actually kind of glad to see some other hikers in the distance. At times the drop is steep and the shelf is narrow, but it's never harrowing. That is, until you encounter a few spots on the switchbacks going down to the lake if you choose to do that ;) I did, and I almost didn't. Tips: Go slowly. Lean uphill. Going uphill is naturally easier (in terms of sketchiness, not effort!), so rest easy that it won't get worse as you white knuckle it down. If you feel like you might slip, don't feel bad if you lean uphill with a hand until you reorient.

I made it back up the switchbacks in 35 minutes. I was a bit spent, but honestly, it's not as tiring as some people seem to be saying.

Keep an eye on the weather. This is one of the few hikes I've done where "getting out" requires you to re-summit and cross a major pass. The thunder started just as I got below treeline ~1pm. I could see dark clouds forming as I came back-up the switchbacks and it was disconcerting for sure.

All-in-all, the views are quite grand, and if you can get past the drive-in, parking, and "hiking on a shelf" thing... it's good!

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