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Arapahoe Pass and Lake Dorothy Trail

moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow Star(491)
Roosevelt National Forest

Arapahoe Pass and Lake Dorothy Trail is a 7.1 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Nederland, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from July until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 7.1 mi Elevation gain 1,942 ft Route type Out & Back

Dogs on leash

Hiking

Nature trips

Walking

Bird watching

Forest

Lake

Views

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Rocky

Description
Waypoints (0)
Contact
Getting There

Steady uphill from parking area at end of a bumpy gravel road. Forested for the first half, then the trail emerges in spots for views across the canyon towards Diamond Lake area and Diamond Creek falls. Trail steepens after the junction with the Diamond Lake trail, then flattens out when nearing timberline and the old Fourth of July mine area. Passing the Arapaho Glacier trail, this trail leaves timberline on the old wagon road to Caribou Pass. A steady grade but a more rocky surface to the junction with the Arapaho Pass trail with wide open views of the North Fork of Middle Boulder Creek canyon and Mt. Neva. Continue a short distance past the Arapaho Pass trail to turn left toward Lake Dorothy. There are two unmarked turns to the left that are obvious, the first is the old wagon road, which loops well to the left before rising towards the lake. The second is a more direct route to the lake.

When the road to trailhead closes due to weather, it is about a 4.5 mile hike to the trailhead (from lower parking lot). Colorado Tourism Office, 1625 Broadway, Suite 1700 , Denver, CO, 80202, Phone: 800-COLORADO

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (492)
Photos (961)
Recordings (286)
Completed (964)
Eric Sapp
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Jul 12 2020
HikingRocky

This is one of my favorite trails. I arrived at the TH at 6am on a Sunday and it was about half full. We set out for Lake Dorothy and the views when you get there are amazing. Be prepared for your feet to get a little wet, but not muddy, from some of the waterfalls. The last 1.5-2 miles was very rocky, and the trail is narrow. Too narrow to practice social distancing. Would definitely do this again!

View Eric's Recording
Anya Niedzwiedz
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jul 11 2020
Hiking

Did this trail on sat 7/11. Got there at 6am and the designated parking on the road was almost full. Such a gorgeous hike. The drive up is certainly rough but worth it. Waterproof shoes wouldn’t make or break the hike but probably better if you have them!

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Ash Roberts
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Great!

Arrived at 8:15am on a Friday and we got the last (very narrow) parking spot up by the trail head. Amazing views for a lot of the trail. Only about a third of the trail is shaded so bring sunscreen. Some wet patches but either very shallow or easily avoided so no need for special shoes. Road up is pretty rough but we made it in a 2wd with moderate clearance, and we saw some regular cars up there too.

Joan Prinaris
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Jul 09 2020
HikingRocky

Hiked this on Thursday 7/9/20. Arrived to the TH at 7:30 am. A few spots left in the lot and cars were beginning to park on the road. Dirt road is manageable by most cars, but slow going. Trail is breathtaking especially at the top near Lake Dorothy. There are several small steam crossings, and one larger waterfall to cross. Having trekking poles can help to cross. The last mile up you're mostly walking on talus/scree. Suggest good hiking boots to buffer and support feet. This trail has some of the most breathtaking views! Many wildflowers are in bloom!

Marie Hendry
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Jul 07 2020
Hiking

The dirt road that leads to the trailhead is long and very bumpy at times and parking was filling up quickly when I arrived at about 8:15am. The trail is stunning. The flowers were riotous at times especially around the small streams on the lower section. The trail gets very rocky at times but the views are spectacular. Saw some kind of large rodent (marmot?) next to Lake Dorothy. I hope to do this hike again someday. It took me around 4 hours 30 minutes. Time very well spent!

Makaela Fauber
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HikingMuddy

Such a gorgeous trail! I got to the trailhead around 6:45am and there was still quite a bit of parking up top. The trail has a couple of muddy spots and a few small streams you have to cross, so I’d recommend waterproof shoes if possible. The wildflowers are in bloom right now, which makes the views even more beautiful!

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Alissa Patrick
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Hiking

One of my favorite hikes. We got there about 7:45 and got the last spot that is designated parking along the road. So get there early. Absolutely amazing views and weather. No snow, some small river/creek crossing so wear waterproof boots but super manageable. Love this hike!

View Alissa's Recording
Michal Halski
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Hiking

Amazing trail. My top rated hike here in Colorado. Tons of Marmots! The lake is gorgeous. Not windy at all.

Josh Sucherman
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HikingGreat!

one of the best moderate trails I've done in Colorado... as long as you dont mind trecking through waterfalls

Zach Ford
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Jul 03 2020
Hiking

Beautiful hike! Not too steep but pretty steady. Sunscreen and bug spray are musts given the lake and above treeline portion. Beautiful wildflowers and waterfalls and great views once you get to the ridge!

J M.
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HikingGreat!Rocky

Great views all around, moderate uphill almost the entire way. Trail was dry except for a couple of small waterfall crossings. Rocky trail for the last 1.5 miles or so. Lots of wildflowers! The road to the trailhead was a little rough, but would be fine for anyone with AWD/4X4. We got to the trailhead at 7.15am and it was already full today.

James Lyon
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Hiking

My new favorite hike. Parked at 530 am, not many people on the trail up. Incredible views at the junction with Caribou trail. Im in my 60s and training with a full pack, I was pretty tired by the bottom, Lots of people on the way down. This hike is so worth it.

Caleigh Rice
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Jul 02 2020
Hiking

Loved this trail! Beautiful views at the top overlooking the surrounding lakes. Road was a little rough to get to the trail head. Clocked about 7.5mi total.

Fadi EL Hamad
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is the trail open as of today 7/2/2020 ?

Dana Roesslein
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Hiking

One of my favorite trails! Got to the TH at 8:30am on Tr. and the parking lot was close to full. Definitely get there early to beat the heat and crowds.

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Nicole Allen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Jul 01 2020
Hiking

The road to the trail head take some time to get there because it’s a little rough - not anything that an all wheel drive or four wheel will have any trouble with though. We hiked it yesterday and there was still parking when we got to the trail head close to 10 o’clock although it was quite filled up. We plan to be there earlier but we’re held up by one way traffic in the canyon due to construction. The trail is one of the most beautiful trails I have ever been on! Gorgeous forest, mountain peaks, waterfalls, lakes, and marmots! It was sunny and wonderful yesterday! When you get to the top take the branch to the left and then left again when it splits and it will take you to the lake.

Ayo A
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Jun 29 2020
Hiking

Great day for a hike! Got here at 8:30am and the parking lot was full but there was plenty of parking on the road in designated spots. This was the most beautiful hike I’ve been on in CO to date. Waterfalls, Lakes and Carabou oh my!

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Ingrid Hockenberry
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Hiking

Phenomenal!!!

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Maria Cross
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What a gorgeous hike! Boulder has started limiting the number of cars allowed up to Hessie and 4th of July trailheads. We were stopped and told we had to wait for a car to leave the trailhead for us to be allowed to proceed and the wait could take up to 3 hours. Thankfully we only had to wait 5-10 minutes. The trail was fairly crowded initially, but thinned out as the trails started to split of. This trail had spectacular views! The only downside was the constant wind gusts at the top. Dress in layers! I would definitely recommend this trail.

Ingrid Weyher
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jun 27 2020
Hiking

Hiked 6/26. Dirt road to the trailhead made for slow going, got there at 8:00 and had no trouble parking. On the way up, we only saw 2 other groups but it got crowded on the way down. This is an absolutely beautiful trail from start to finish, with stunning views throughout and especially from the top.

Jane Weinfeld
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jun 27 2020
Hiking

Saturday 6/27. Got to the trailhead at 730 and there were no parking spaces in the lot or on the street. I’ll still give this 5 stars as I’ve done it before. I’ll just get to the trailhead by 630 next time!

Sam Walker
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jun 27 2020
Hiking

hiked this Saturday 6/27. got to the trailhead around 6AM and the lot was full but a decent amount of parking was available on fourth of July. beautiful hike and perfect weather. a few water crossings, two of which were high enough that you probably want extra socks, but can get across without getting your feet wet if you're careful. relatively mellow intensity despite the elevation.

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Megan Schumacher
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Jun 26 2020
Hiking

Hiked 6/26. Absolutely incredible hike!! Beautiful views, wildflowers, and lots of wildlife. We saw a bear about a 1/2 mile from the trailhead! A good portion of trail had water running over it so waterproof shoes are definitely recommended. Some snow towards the top of the trail. We postholed once on the way down but it wasn't too bad. Overall a great hike!

Brittney Brown
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Jun 26 2020

Hiked yesterday! It was gorgeous, remote, minimal snow (no spikes needed). A waterfall crossing was the sketchiest part. Took some extra time to explore some of the other trails near the summit - so worth it!! Would absolutely do again. 2WD car could make it up to trailhead with careful, slow navigation

Nathan Lindemann
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Jun 26 2020
Hiking

Got to the parking lot around 730 and it was half full. First half of the hike was mostly shaded, a few water crossings and a couple small waterfalls. Little bit of snow is also left. Last half was almost all rocky trail with some elevation gain, but worth the view from the top just before Dorothy lake. Only passed a few people on the way up. Dorothy is still frozen. Lots of people on the way down and parking lot was full. Took around 4.5hrs with stops. One of my favorite trails.

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Andie Holloway
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Jun 24 2020
Hiking

Get here early for parking! Trail is in good shape - wet in many places but not deep. Bring your water resistant shoes. A little snow on trail but 95% snow free. Spikes not needed, but poles are helpful. My 7 year old and I loved this hike. It’s all up, then all down, so a great workout with gorgeous views.

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Jessica Crowley
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Jun 24 2020
HikingGreat!Rocky

Hands down one of my favorite trails I have hiked. You get a little bit of everything on this trail from crossing over streams, being in dense forest to going above tree line and see amazing views! One thing I would suggest is to not go on a weekend. My friends and I got to the parking lot at the trail head at 7:45 am and there was no parking left what so ever so we had to drive back down 4th of July road. Our second attempt was on a Wednesday and we got to the trail head by 8 am and there was plenty of parking. 10/10 recommend this hike :)

nate reilly
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Jun 23 2020
Hiking

Family hike with 7, 9 & 12 year old boys. Started later than we wanted after drive up from Boulder. Drive on unpacked road from Nederland was unexpected- not impossible in any vehicle but definitely slow going. Trail was the best we have ever done with amazing views, good ascent with waterfall crossings and some hiking along the edge but nothing too scary. View from pass was amazing and got a bit cold and windy. Lake was gorgeous and still covered in ice. There were other hikers today but not too many to make it crowded. A little bit of snow in sections but nothing that was not hikeable. Under 4 hours of hiking with another 45 minutes of relaxing at top. We heard there was moose at start and mountain goat at top but we missed them both.

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