Explore the most popular hiking 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.

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.

Arrived 7:15am on a Monday in September. Only 3-4 other cars in the lot and saw no one else on the trail until we hit Isabelle. Water level is low (drained)but it was still a worthwhile hike and there’s still a decent amount of water left. A lot more foot traffic heading up to the lake when we were heading out. Back at the parking lot at 10:30am and lot was full with cars circling to find a spot. Easy hike-the elevation gain comes right before the lake.

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!

hiking
2 days ago

Great hike - semi quiet going up around 8:30am - lots of good flat parts with few rocky areas. Good forest, mountain and lake views. Parking near trailhead was full so parked at the Brainard Lake lot (past the pay area) so overall mileage out and back was closer to 7.3-7.5 miles.

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!

Pros:
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.

Cons:
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).

Fantastic hike with gorgeous pay off. beautiful the whole way.

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.

Beautiful, scenic trail! After parking and walking around the lake, it came to 7.3 miles on my Apple Watch. Very busy trail.

hiking
7 days ago

This is an absolutely beautiful trail. Lake Isabelle was really low, but it didn't matter at all. It felt like we were on a movie set. It was a great, easy hike. Definitely go during the week. We had no issues parking or with overcrowding. Coming from Texas, the heat doesn't bother us. We got there around 3P. It's very shaded so the sun wasn't an issue.

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!!

Great views and some challenging terrain! Super packed. Get here early or you'll add about two miles to your trek because the upper lot is usually full and you have to hike another mile to the trail head. Overall a nice easy/ moderate trail.

hiking
8 days ago

I thought the crowds would thin after Labor Day. I was wrong. This is a beautiful hike just be prepared to fight the hoards. We had to park up the road which added two miles to the hike and kept us from going all the way to the glacier. Despite the crowds the views are spectacular. Fairly easy hike with only a couple of steep spots. Lots of water throughout. This is a great one if you don't mind all the people.

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

Nice, easy trail, and great scenery.

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.

My family hiked this today. My kids would give this 3 stars! It was a hard hike and the summit was interesting but not the most beautiful hike we have ever been on. We definitely feel a sense of accomplishment.

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.

Loved this hike. It was tough but well worth the views when getting to meadow mountain. ♥️

backpacking
12 days ago

So beautiful and worth it! Gets steep! Make sure to get a permit if you spending the night ( they sell them at ACE in Ned). Absolutely beautiful pass, dropped down to 30 at night

- 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).

hiking
12 days ago

This is a truly beautiful hike, but absolutely mobbed. Get there as early as you can stand it -- we arrived by 7am and the parking lot was already completely full, we had to walk up from Mitchell Trailhead. By the time we were heading back around lunch, it was a madhouse. My advice is to get started around 5:30-6am, bring a nice picnic breakfast to enjoy at the lake, and then head back before things get too crazy. Even with the people, though, it's absolutely worth it --- completely breathtaking scenery.

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!

hiking
14 days ago

Arrived around 10:30am... had to wait about 20min to get through park gates. Admission is $11.00 (cash)... Parked in Brainard Lake overflow parking. *Note: This adds 1 mile to your hike. Take trail/road to right of lake. There are signs to Mitchell Lake... follow to upper parking lot area. From there... follow signs to lake isabelle glacier for 2 miles to lake. Overall, great mix of trees, meadows, and minimum incline. Totally worth it.

Arrived at 10:30 AM on Sun (Labor Day weekend), waited in the car 45-60 mins to get in. Staff were patient and friendly. They walked up to cars to complete the payment before driving up ($11 cash or check). Parked at Mitchell Trailhead lot- heard there was a moose sighting on this trail (late morning!) You may follow signs to Long Lake Trailhead (you'll pass this lot). People and dogs on this trail were very friendly. Stopped many times to take in the views from Long Lake to Lake Isabelle. Lake Isabelle still has water today! The area just before the Lake is empty though so it seems this may be empty soon. Bring plenty of water and layers as the predicted weather was 100% wrong. My dog is 17lbs and did this entire hike no problem.

Absolutely stunning views! Get off the trail a bit and follow the waterfall up. You will not be disappointed.

This was absolutely spectacular. The hike up to the continental divide wasn't too difficult, just very rocky. Going down the switchbacks to Caribou Lake is a breeze, but going up was extremely difficult. Overall it took me about 2.5 hours to do the entire trek in, and that was with frequent stops to take pictures or admire the wildlife (there's about 4 million pikas and alpine chipmunks. I also saw a handful of marmots and they were yelling at a coyote. On the way back I saw a large bull moose near the trailhead). Parking is fine if you get there around 6am, but I would guess it gets really busy around 9. The lake itself was gorgeous, and if you're fishing they'll hit any caddis pattern size 14 and smaller. I caught a few fish around 15 inches, and saw two others that were probably around 20 (not exaggerating). Be prepared for a passing rain shower or thunderstorm, and frequent wind direction switches and strong gusts. In addition, it's going to be about 20 degrees cooler than it is in Nederland, so be prepared. Pack gloves and an extra jacket. It's worth the extra weight to have a great time!

hiking
16 days ago

Short and sweet AMAZING hike! A lot of people, parking wars. You have a choice of taking the shuttle too but not sure exactly where the shuttle station is. No fee to get in, short but rough hike, so no flip flops, folks! You can walk around the lake, swim, or some people had a tent out. Amazing view, must go trail!! 80% shade by the way.

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