Columbine Lake Trail

MODERATE 75 reviews
#21 of 138 trails in

Columbine Lake Trail is a 7.3 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Tabernash, Colorado that features a lake. The trail is rated as moderate and primarily used for hiking, walking, and birding. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
7.3 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1102 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

birding

hiking

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.

hiking
6 months ago

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
7 months ago

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.

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).

8 months ago

hiking
8 months ago

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.

8 months ago

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

hiking
9 months ago

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.

hiking
9 months ago

Just do it

hiking
10 months ago

This is a lovely hike, the first two miles are gently sloping and easy, with some logs to cross over. After you pass the stone-lined muskeg, the trail becomes precipitously more steep and challenging, however, you are more than rewarded when you arrive at lovely Columbine Lake. There are some small waterfalls on your right as you approach the lake. Prepare for some mosquitos once you take your seat to enjoy the views of the snow ringed lake. Wonderful hiking.

10 months ago

Beautiful hike, nice meadows and wildflowers. I would rate this hike moderate to difficult. Once you pass the Indian peak wilderness sign be prepared for uphill and after passing through the meadow on the stones, I'd say the trail is difficult all the way to the top. Don't be fooled by reviews that say it's easy. Ultimately, it's worth it. Columbine Lake and it's surroundings are spectacular.

hiking
10 months ago

Loved this hike. Can make it to trailhead with standard car but the dirt road is a bit washed. I would rate this as an easy hike. 3.5ish up, 7.5ish roundtrip. The only reason I would say it's slightly moderate is for people that aren't used to the altitude, it is a higher elevation hike. Beautiful wildflowers everywhere. Get there early, very very very popular trail

hiking
10 months ago

This is an amazing hike! So beautiful!!! One of the best we've been on anywhere!
The car ride there on the dirt/gravel road was very bumpy and slow though, be warned!

10 months ago

This trail was beautiful. Very clean and well kept. Easy to find also. I went July 9 and there was a little bit of snow left. Saw lots of families with kids enjoying it as well. There were quite a bit of bugs at the lake which was to be expected.

hiking
10 months ago

Great hike up the mountain. We were worried about how much effort this would require, and the climb up was certainly no stroll through the woods, but all in all we were able to haul our 50 year-old bodies up and down in just over 3 hours, with about 20-30 minutes hanging out at the top. The climb is steady, with just a few switchbacks and some stretches of flat. It takes you through a varied landscape of forest and meadow, with frequent passes by mountain streams and great mountain views. There are plenty of opportunities to stop and admire the vista (and catch your breath). Once to the top, you are greeted by a wonderful lake set in a little mountain bowl. The more adventurous could continue climbing a bit higher, but we were happy to enjoy the lake.

The great thing about this hike was that it was that we had the trail nearly to ourselves. We passed a single hiker on the way up and we found one small party at the lake when we arrived. They left soon and we had the lake to ourselves. There were a few more people on the way up as we descended, but compared to other trails in the area, this one was lightly traveled.

One caution - finding the trail head back down from the lake was a bit of a challenge. Look for landmarks when you arrive to so you can find your way back.

hiking
10 months ago

Beautiful hike -- well worth the effort.

hiking
10 months ago

Probably the second best hike I've ever been on in CO (Sky Pond being the best). This is a super fun trail with wandering paths, log bridges, snow, and water features nearly the whole way up. The top is a very rewarding view. Difficulty is moderate and most of the altitude gain comes in the final mile. Hike was about 5 hours (with 30 minutes spent at top)

There was a trail guide who somewhat falsely advertised the hike before we began by saying that it was 3.5 miles. I assume he meant up to the lake because the whole thing was definitely longer.

Overall a really pretty, enjoyable hike.

hiking
10 months ago

Amazing hike! The view at the end is breathtaking...not too difficult of vertical just plan plenty of time for the distance.

10 months ago

Entire family Enjoyed this trail very much. Saw lots of wildlife. Some snow in places and a little wet. Hiked with two 13 year olds, took about 3.5 hours RT. Very beautiful.

hiking
10 months ago

The gate is open up to the top of the trailhead now. There's quite a bit of snow up there still, as of this past Saturday, 6/17. We were the first ones on the trail that morning and found it difficult to follow at some points. We'd originally turned around about a mile from the lake, but ended up meeting up with a couple who was a little more familiar with the area and followed them up. I'd love to get back out there when the snow melts off a little more, as you can tell there will be tons of wildflowers. There's evidence of wildlife all over the place, but we didn't see any deer or elk, despite being on the trail early in the morning. Great hike! Your shoes will get wet!

hiking
11 months ago

Still a little snowy, especially the entire last mile. Beautiful views definitely worth it, though!

hiking
11 months ago

We tried to get up to this trail but were stopped by what may be a new gate. About 4.5 miles from trail head on USFS129 there is a gate with a sign that forbids motor vehicles on the road until after June 15. This gate doesn't show up on my Nat. Geo. trails map and might be new. Here is a link to the road status page: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/arp/recreation/?cid=stelprdb5308972

hiking
Friday, April 14, 2017

Beautifully diverse scenery. One of my favorites!

hiking
Sunday, October 30, 2016

Quite a drive up to the trail head, but would be beautiful in September with all the aspens. Really nice trail and well maintained. Our 5 and 9 yr old loved the bridges, stepping stones, and crossing over the larger rocks. A bit muddy at times with the rain and some snowy spots. Plenty of photo opportunities with the meadows against the mountains and of course the lake. Took us 4.5 hrs with the kids.

hiking
Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Was a very fun hike, would do it again, it is cool in October because the lake is frozen over.

hiking
Tuesday, September 06, 2016

This hike was so much fun. I'm 14 and this was my first major hike it took around 4-5 hours round trip. I got caught up in there in a thunder storm and it was pretty cool. It was totally worth it.

hiking
Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Beautiful spot, definitely longer than you think but worth it. My second time on the trail and my beagles loved it!

hiking
Friday, August 26, 2016

Awesome hike. I concur, about 3.5 hours round trip. Lake is beautiful!! Don't worry about the distance, just follow the signs. Unless you have a very accurate device for measuring distance, you'll keep thinking you're almost there. One of my new favorite spots of creation.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The hike took 3 1/2 hrs round trip. I clocked 6.5 miles on my Fitbit. Well marked path with lovely views opening up throughout the hike. MANY roots & rocks along path so you need to look down at path where you're walking or you could easily trip! Lake is beautiful and worth the hike! When you reach the pond you're almost there!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Great moderate trail- over 3.5 miles up to the lake according to my Garmin Vivofit, so greater distance than what was described on the national forest website.

hiking
Friday, July 22, 2016

Nicely maintained trail. We especially appreciated the flat boulders strategically placed, like stepping stones, to get the hiker through a marsh with secure, dry footing. Beautiful wild flowers and one wood thrush with beautiful song. Didn't make it to the lake as we weren't confident our elderly knees could take the down climb. But picnic with Mtn views by the falls was a pleasure.

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