Columbine Lake via Caribou Pass Trail is a 7.3 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Tabernash, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
7.3 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,102 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

lake

wild flowers

wildlife

This trail takes you through Indian Peaks Wilderness. Trail is well maintained and lightly traveled. A gradual up hill climb ends at the lake. Some areas are flat and easy while other parts require you to climb over hills and rocks. At 1.8 miles on the Caribou Pass Trail, take the right fork. Permits are required for overnight stays in the Indian Peaks Wilderness (IPW) from June 1 to September 15. Additional permit requirements exist for large and organized groups. Mechanized/motorized travel is prohibited. Do not camp or build campfires within 100 feet of developed trails or bodies of water. Group size is limited to 12 people and/or livestock. Dogs must be on a leash at all times. Follow Leave No Trace principles.

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike. Few other travelers this time of year mid week. Only problem we had was getting there. We have a compact front wheel drive and the last 30 min were on a dirt/ gravel road with quiet a few ruts. The hike and the lake were definitely worth it.

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike! Aspen trees were on fire! My husband and I hiked this trail 10 years ago in the spring time. Seemed to be tougher climb this time but, maybe my age. Lots of beautiful creeks flowing by the trail. Brought our pup but, needed to be on leash. Lots of great views at the top when you reach the lake. Had a nice snack and headed down. 3 hour hike both ways!

2 months ago

Great family hike, most of it is a well worn trail with easy grades. The lake is stunning and the views there are breathtaking! It is well traveled and I saw wildlife! I would highly recommend it for a family with Colorado kids or a first hike when you need to ease into our high mountains. There is a fee but if you have a parks pass it is free

hiking
2 months ago

Amazing hike! Trail is well maintained and the views are extraordinary. The aspen were in peak color. Columbine Lake is a treasure—make sure you start early, bring some lunch and enjoy the lake views. Road to Junco TH is bumpy so take it slow.

3 months ago

Beautiful lake and relatively easy hike. Just before the lake it’s easy to lose the trail. Stay right and it will pick back up. Be sure to follow the trail all the way around the lake for some stunning views. Some other hikers saw a couple moose up here yesterday (9/8) so keep an eye out.

Great hike....incredible views

3 months ago

Awesome hike! Excellent payout

3 months ago

Great hike

3 months ago

Great hike. Very manageable with amazing scenery at the end.

3 months ago

Great trail with beautiful scenery. Recommend spending at least an hour at the lake walking around and having a snack. Started at 9am and there was only a few people on the trail on the way out. Started back at 11:45 and it was much more crowded.

hiking
4 months ago

Great hike with beautiful meadows. The effort to arrive at Lake Columbine is well worth the effort. I definitely will do it again.

4 months ago

Great hike, beautiful scenery, and well worth it in the end.

4 months ago

Beautifully maintained by the USFS and Grand County Wilderness Group. Loved the flat rocks through the boggy area. The rushing stream and wildflowers life you along to the beautiful lake.

hiking
4 months ago

Hiked this trail 08/04/2018 (Saturday)... pretty crowded in my mind, the parking lot had 1-3 spots open at 945am. Pretty mellow trail, the last half mile offers more elevation gain. The lake is beautiful and large so you can get away from the crowd a bit. Overall good hike!

4 months ago

Last mile is long and steep. But great hike

hiking
4 months ago

One of our favorite trails! We found this gem two years ago and committed to return! Even though we found the last available room in the area and the Junco trailhead parking area was packed, we were undeterred! We made it up to the lake in 1:50, and after 1:45 up there for a picnic and exploring, we made it back down in 1:20. Great day!

hiking
4 months ago

DURATION: Beautiful hike all around, took about 3.5 hours solo. Would recommend allowing 5-6 hrs for groups.

INCLINE: Steady gradual uphill with periods of flat hiking grounds. Take it easy on the last 1/2 mile (steep incline and elevation change), where it then flattens out again to a beautiful lake. Also, remember where the trail is to get back from the lake - this can be a little challenging once you've started walking around the lake shores.

RECOMMENDATIONS: water, snack, trek poles (especially for any beginner hikers), light raincoat/jacket, and bugspray. If you slow down or take a break, the mosquitoes swarm you but it is important to pace yourself and take small breaks on this hike!

OVERALL: Eating lunch / snacks by the lake is picture perfect. VERY WELL MAINTAINED PATH. =)

DIFFICULTY: Moderate to Difficult (last 1/2 mile)

hiking
5 months ago

Beautiful hike along a creek with a picturesque lake at the end! Well-maintained and moderately trafficked.

The wildflowers were in full bloom which made it even more enjoyable.

hiking
5 months ago

Beautiful lake at the end of the trail. great hike for any skill level.

5 months ago

Beautiful day

5 months ago

Hiked this last weekend, which is 12.6 miles round trip from the closed gates. Still a good amount of snow in the trees which means post holeing here and there. I took my fishing pole, but the lake was 80% still frozen.

6 months ago

Final 2.5 miles of road to Junko trailhead is closed until June 15 so we hiked from Redneck Village. You don’t need a permit to camp at the lake until June 15th either. The trail is excellent but there is still significant snow for the last mile. Some trail finding due to snow and your feet will be soaked without gaiters.

hiking
6 months ago

Was so excited to do this trail, but the road to the trailhead is NOT open until June. However you can hike up to it - but it's 5 miles!
Also if you plan on going around this area take a 4 wheel drive vehicle with a higher suspension!
I am so so excited to do this trail later on in the year since I've heard so many good things about it!
Cheers!

hiking
Saturday, October 21, 2017

I've done this in summer (July) and mud season (Oct). Much prettier in summer, although in fall/Sept all the aspens would make it beautiful. Fairly easy for a big payout in spectacular high mountain lake. Right now is VERY icy

hiking
Friday, September 29, 2017

Great hike amazing views! For a bunch of flatlanders we did pretty good. Made it to the lake just before the cold front came in. Took us about 4hrs there and back with lots of little breaks. Would definitely do it again on a day with less chance of rain or snow.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Off Junco trailhead. On 11 miles of gravel road, not too rough. First few miles are a constant gentle uphill climb, not too strenuous but gets the blood pumping. Through the woods and past many meadows. There were still some flowers as well as some of the leaves starting to turn for fall.
Once you gently switchback up from
A meadow to the woods the trail splits, well marked path and easy to follow to the right. Continues in woods for awhile then starts to steeply switchback up. There is a 1/2 mile section that is hard and steep, but doable and worth it. Then it eases up and you come out onto he rocks and work your way to the lake.
The lake of course is gorgeous. Clear, surrounded by peaks. A dream. We saw a group of some kids and guides and then roughly 8-10 people otherwise all on the way down but one other couple out early. Started early, took 3.5 hours roughly of hiking plus plenty of stops to enjoy. Altitude only issue during the steep part it was harder to breathe, otherwise it was fine (flatlander).

Sunday, September 03, 2017

hiking
Thursday, August 31, 2017

This was a great hike! The uphill climb is primarily at the end. There was a wonderful stone path across a meadow that passed by a marmot hotel in the rocks nearby. Lake was beautiful. Views awesome. Even the drive to the trailhead was interesting.

Monday, August 21, 2017

The dirt road leading up to the trailhead kind of sucks, but the hike itself is very nice.

hiking
Thursday, August 17, 2017

I've been living in this area for 10 years but haven't done this hike until today. I have to say that even after a decade of living in these mountains I was quite impressed with the views on this hike. A little challenging towards the end of the trail, but if you're not used to the thin air at this altitude, you may find it to be a difficult hike, but the views are well worth it.

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