Arapahoe Pass and Lake Dorothy Trail

MODERATE 131 reviews
#4 of 109 trails in

Arapahoe Pass and Lake Dorothy Trail is a 7.1 mile lightly 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 birding and is best used from July until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
7.1 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1942 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

Colorado Tourism Office, 1625 Broadway, Suite 1700 , Denver, CO, 80202, Phone: 800-COLORADO

22 minutes ago

hiking
5 days ago

Awesome hike. I recommend bringing your micro spikes for the end part, if you have them. If not then hiking poles.

hiking
8 days ago

Such a beautiful hike.. probably my new favorite in the area! i think another reviewer mentioned this but definitely recommend AWD and/or high clearance vehicle to get to the trailhead. Also, definitely passable in October if the weather is nice... I was too lazy to pull out my crampons on the way up today but on the way down they were super useful. Only sunk to my knee in snow with one misstep by the lake! Of note: once you reach the pass and can see the other side of the range, there is a sign directing you to arapaho pass to the right and another pass to the left. To get to the lake, go left not right! I added an extra mile before I realized my mistake by not looking at the gps.

hiking
12 days ago

hiking
12 days ago

So beautiful. Hike this. Crampons would have been helpful towards the top but definitely do-able without them.

hiking
13 days ago

20 days ago

This was one of the most epic hikes I've taken in Colorado yet. The unexpected winter wonderland we found at the top added to the amazing scenery. A gradual incline that isn't too difficult except in a few places. The wind picked up at the top so just wear warm layers and sturdy shoes! Completed in 4.5 hours.

hiking
21 days ago

1 month ago

Great hike. Very well maintained trails. Great combination of forest hiking and walking along a scree slope (but packed). Challenging with a gradual incline. Great hike for all skill levels with amazing scenery!! Recommended!

hiking
1 month ago

A perfect blend of physical challenge, striking scenery, and varied terrain. Wife and I completed this hike in about 4.5-5 hrs with several breaks, but never found it too tough. Coming from the East Coast and hiking at this high elevation made this hike a bit more challenging than a similar hike in our region, but as long as you take quick breaks every little bit to catch your breath, you shouldn't have any issue reaching the top.
There are a few very rocky sections, especially as you rise above the treeline, but a solid pair of shoes should allow you minimum frustration. Trail was well marked and well trodden the whole way, and offered plenty of amazing views and photo-ops. If you're near Boulder/Denver, this hike is well worth the hour trip West!!!

A word of caution--- the dirt/gravel road to the trail head is dicey at times.. a truck or SUV is recommended. Our tiny Hyundai rental just barely managed to get up to the parking area.

1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Very scenic and lots of different terrain. We hiked thru heavily wooded areas on dirt trails and wood planks, through a few small waterfalls and creeks, on rocky cliff sides and finally made it to the tundra with a view of the Continental Divide and Lake Dorothy. We followed the signs for Caribou and Arapaho Pass. Good shoes are a must! The 3 mile dirt road on the way out is better suited for 4wd but our Honda Fir made it... we drove very very carefully!! The entire hike (there and back) is about 7 miles and took us 5.5 hours. We walked pretty leisurely and took rest breaks on the way up.

hiking
1 month ago

1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Amazing hike. Went 2 weeks ago. Flowers were still amazing. Just stunning scenery the entire way! I live at sea level so the ascent was slow going but not hard in the slightest. Lake Dorothy was worth a visit (stay to your left where the sign is and the paths fork - it says to go to Caribou pass but first takes you to the lake). Be careful where you step. Saw many walking off the trail by lake Dorothy. Fragile tundra should not be stepped on. Please take care to only step on rocks! One of the best hikes I have done in my lifetime!

hiking
1 month ago

One of the most scenic trails I've completed in my life. Continuous mountain views, and a good steady (but never very steep) incline for our group of three from Missouri. Glad we arrived around 7 am to snag a spot in the upper parking lot at Fourth of July TH. The trail up to the pass wasn't too crowded even on Labor Day, but on our way down the first portion of the trail (to Diamond Lake) was very popular. Stunning views from the pass- especially on the stretch from Arapaho Pass to Dorothy Lake.

hiking
1 month ago