Arapahoe Pass and Lake Dorothy Trail

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Indian Peaks Wilderness

Arapahoe Pass and Lake Dorothy Trail is a 11.4 kilometer 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, running, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from June until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length11.4 kmElevation gain592 mRoute typeOut & back
Dogs on leashHikingNature tripsBird watchingRunningForestLakeViewsWildflowersWildlifeRocky
Description
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Getting There

The Arapahoe Pass and Lake Dorothy Trail is one of the most popular trails in Indian Peaks Wilderness. The trail begins at the Fourth of July Trailhead There is a steady uphill from the parking area at the 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. The 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. Some other highlights nearby include the Monarch Lake, Snoqualmie Lake, Caribou Lake, Arapaho Peaks, Bear and Deer Lakes. This is a highly recommended day hike! SEASONAL CLOSURE: This area is subject to seasonal closure due to weather conditions. For more information, please visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/arp/alerts-notices/?cid=fseprd533597

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
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Reviews (634)
Photos (1,329)
Activities (415)
Completed (1,414)
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Shrareh Asadi
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Hiking

Views all along the pass with options to continue to another pass at the top, view Lake Dorothy, and/or summit Arapaho Peaks. Endless wildflowers in the Summer, and I mean endless. The only thing I will say is that it was very very very windy towards the top of the pass (so windy my dog could have been used as a kite). Other than that, this hike was one of the most beautiful hikes I’ve ever completed.

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Elizabeth Weiss
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HikingIcy

4th of July road closed for the season, adds extra 4 miles

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Andrew Lee
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HikingClosed

Trailhead is closed, park is closed due to fires

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Dan Davis
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HikingIcy

Great late season hike with a steady uphill climb to the pass. 35 degrees and winds 30-40mph. Bring your hiking poles if you have them for the Long decent on unstable rock. Pl

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Christy Stewart
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Hiking

The ascent to the pass feels quick, and there are beautiful views pretty early on the trail. Windy and chilly up there today, but not too many people. We got there at 9am and there was parking at the trailhead.

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Lisa Kelly
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Hiking

Pretty quiet, were still a few parking spots at trailhead at 10 am. Very exposed, a gradual amount of incline. Lake is pretty but not as impressive as most other lakes in the area.

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Jay Gearries
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Hiking

Really great trail! Got to the trailhead at 7:05 and 7:45 (took 2 cars) on a Saturday and there were still parking spots on the Fourth of July road but not the actual lot itself around 7:30. Trail definitely moderate; steady incline but never too steep so most of the time it doesn’t really feel like much of an incline. Smoke moderate on 10/3 but could see everything. Turn left at the junction to caribou lake - continue on the arapahoe Pass trail to the lake. Pretty windy at the saddle so wear hat/coat/gloves. No snow on 10/3. Not very busy at all either, especially after the diamond lake trail junction.

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Jodi Dines
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HikingRocky

Beautiful hike with views most of the way. Definitely moderate but good first day hike Go left when you get to the sign at the top to get to the lake.

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Hongdi Zhao
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Hiking

Moderate trail for sure. Going up all the way inclining but slowly and not too steep. Coming down all the way declining. We went to too many lake trails recently that we became so picky about the lake view. That is why I am giving only four starts: Lake water is super clear, but lake views are not as great as Isabelle Glacier Trail (Roosevelt National Forest, Colorado) & Lower, Middle, Upper Lake Trail (Ridgeway, Colorado) & Leigh Lake Trail (Kootenai National Forest, Montana), Avalanche Lake (Glacier’s National Park, Montana) Note 1: it is windy and cold up the mountain. Bring wind jacket and be prepared. Note 2: driving to the trailhead, the road is very bumpy. It is not a problem for bigger cars, but small cars will suffer. We started the trail around 8 am the parking lot is close to 50% full. By the time we came back to the parking lot around 12 noon, it is pretty full (you can still find parking spot though). Nice walk and just enough of an exercise for the day!

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Val Luu
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Hiking

Highly recommended; absolutely worth the views. Was slightly difficult but completely doable. Lots of rocks, was pretty windy, and the trail is hard to distinguish if you decide to go up to the peak on the opposite side of the lake. Get there early! Got there around 7:30/8am and barely found a parking spot.

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Cassie Rusche
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HikingGreat!

Great all around trail, nice bit of difficulty but still moderate, views for days. Road up is just a tad sketchy, no problem for any decent ride. Go early, or late not mid morning and watch the wind :)

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Taelor Burke
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HikingGreat!

This trail was amazing! Went on a Saturday and it was surprisingly not busy. There is limited parking so definitely get there early. We got to the trail head by 6:30am and there were about 6 car spots left. The road is definitely bumpy to get to the trail head so make sure you have a proper car for that. The views at the top were unbelievable. There was only one group at the lake so we felt like we had it to ourselves. So beautiful!

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Darien Hunt
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Hiking
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Jennie B.
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HikingGreat!

Plenty of spaces @ the TH on Thursday morning. From the TH to Dorothy I clocked 7.75mi on my watch. Few hikers and had the lake to myself and my 6lb yorkie. Great views all around.

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Edward Kenny
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Hiking

This hike was amazing. The views all the way were great.

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Brian Andrews
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Hiking

Possibly my favorite hike in Colorado. Beautiful, changeable views. Arrive early - lot fills up each day of the week.

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matthew villalobos
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HikingGreat!

Make sure to have lifted vehicle to get to Trail. 4 miles of loose weather road.

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Ryder Liu
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HikingBugsGreat!

Absolutely stunning hike. accidentally continued right onto Arapahoe Trail instead of Caribou Lake, but backed up and then went up to Lake Dorothy. looking over the Pass was incredible. it was a beautiful hike.

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Casey Klein
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HikingGreat!

One of my favorites ever!

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Fancy Yuen
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Hiking

Excellent views but the road to trail head is very rugged

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Susie Piggott
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Hiking

Rapid change in weather above treeline (cold and blustery) with snow at the peaks but awesome views!

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Eada Gendelman
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Hiking

Incredible hike, probably my favorite one this summer. The views are breathtaking the whole way through! We arrived around 6:30 on a Saturday morning and were able to secure one of the last spots (mind you this was also a rainy day). The hike was truly moderate with a mostly gradual increase in elevation the whole way up. You will be exposed to the elements for the majority of the hike, so prepare accordingly (sunscreen, layers, rain jacket). At the top it was surprisingly cold and windy, and the grass and plants had already turned yellow for autumn. I wished I had a hat, gloves, and warmer coat for the higher elevation. Overall an outstandingly stunning hike that won’t leave you absolutely drained.

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Dave Shaver
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Hiking

Great, even on a rainy day! Arrived at trailhead at 8 and got the last spot.

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Nick Johnson
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HikingGreat!

Did this hike last Thursday and holy hell! Saw a moose and baby on the way up 4th of July road (which is like a shitty 14er road so take it easy), saw marmot and pikas above the tree line, an eagle flew over us at Dorothy lake and then a coyote walked in front of us maybe 30 yards on the trail not too far back down from Dorothy lake. Pretty cool to explore climbing around near the lake and looks like a lot of connecting trails nearby for the super adventurous. Definitely one of of my favorite parks in Colorado! Highly recommend! Plus, some fun places to grab an outdoor brew in Netherlands after!

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Eric Collier
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Hiking

Gorgeous!

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Alex Segall
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HikingGreat!Off trailRocky

Really nice trail for a morning hike. The incline was consistent the entire way throughout and eventually became a rocky path upwards to Dorothy Lake. The views are spectacular once you reach the end. Not too windy, but there’s a rock wall nearby to hide out if it’s bad out there.

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Casey Flock
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Hiking

Absolutely breathtaking. I can’t even imagine what it looks like when it’s not Smokey.

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