Crater Lakes Trail via Moffat Tunnel East Portal Trailhead

HARD 255 reviews
#2 of 109 trails in

Crater Lakes Trail via Moffat Tunnel East Portal Trailhead is a 6.6 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Nederland, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
6.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1778 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

camping

fishing

hiking

snowshoeing

trail running

horseback riding

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

rocky

snow

Forest trail with mountain views leading to alpine lakes This trail takes you into the James Peak wilderness. The first part is an old jeep trail that will take you up to WP22, from there a new trail heads up to crater lakes. This trail fades in a couple places since it is not well defined yet, but push on and you will find it again. Look for cairns in the rocky areas to continue trail. Middle Lakes are easily accessable. Continue between the middle lakes staying on path that runs along the left side of the lake on the right. Upper Lakes take more effort and there is light scrambling. Continue past the lower lake and climb to the final lake at the base of Continental divide. Bring your fishing gear in the summer.

hiking
21 days ago

A little delayed in posting. Enjoyed this hike on a crisp September day. All other hikers clearly planned for the weather better than we did - there were very few hikers and most were on their way down as we went up. There were a few small patches of September snow, and it naturally got chillier as we climbed. Thankfully, the rain didn’t begin till we saw the lakes. Despite a chilly rain the entire descent, this was one of my favorite (maybe favorite) hikes. The sounds of the forest and babbling brook brought such a sense of calm that it was easy to forget the actual challenge of the trail.

1 month ago

1 month ago

Just did this. There was snow but it was fun. Have done in summer too. Good times!

1 month ago

Just hiked this today. I am a novice, so this trail was very difficult, especially near the end. It was also somewhat windy, and on the hike back I thought I had gone down the wrong trail because two small trees had fallen across the path while I was at the top, and I didn’t remember stepping over them on the way up. It got icy in the final quarter mile or so, but man was it worth the time. Most of the snow has melted, but be careful going from one lake to the other at the top—you can get your boots wet sinking in the remaining snow if you’re not careful. I recommend this hike: the views are beautiful!

hiking
1 month ago

Very nice hike through woods with an occasional nice view and three lakes at the end. Currently very snowy throughout most of the hike, snow packed and icy in spots. We made it with just hiking boots but extra traction would have been nice. I would agree that most of the hike is on the moderate side except for the last half mile push to the top lake. Right now the trail leading up top lake (which is not the actual trail, just a few footprints that everyone else followed) is straight up and very snowy and slippery. It is worth the push and the views are spectacular. This trail can get very crowded during the summer but it was pretty quit on this snowy fall day. Great hike overall.

hiking
1 month ago

Huge parking lot. Pretty crowded early on, but once you get up near the lakes, it thins out. Beautiful views of the lakes. Also a very peaceful spot for contemplation.

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Lots and lots of snow, but wouldn’t rate this trail as difficult. Moderate, at best. Great views at the top! Bundle up!

hiking
1 month ago

1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

The trail was a good workout but I wouldn't rate it as hard/difficult as the site does. Although the distances traveled seem to be longer than the trail markers say, it's a beautiful hike through the forest and gorgeous views of the lakes at the top. Not too much snow right now, just a little tight as you're getting to the lower lakes. Definitely make your way toward the upper lake and take in the view of the two lower ones from above! (Hike done 10/19/17)

hiking
2 months ago

So this trail was super easy. i don't know how it was rated as difficult. pretty much a walk with some steeper walks. there was exposure on 0 sides. You can swim in the lakes though. it is cold

2 months ago

Icy on the way up, but spectacular views on the climb up to the upper lakes. I'll be back soon!

hiking
2 months ago

Relatively easy hike to the two lower lakes which are lackluster as lakes go. The hike to the upper lake was decently strenuous but kind of nice due to the fact there was no one up there. Overall, a nice day hike trail that wasn't as crowded as others so close to Boulder.....for now.

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

Really beautiful hike through aspens and evergreens up to some amazing lakes. The first part of the trek up is an easy incline and the last mile or so to the lower lakes was steeper with more switchbacks to climb up. The lower lakes were awesome. The trek to get to the upper lake was by far the most strenuous with very steep way up and the snow was deepest up there at least at this time of year... probably more worth it when there is less snow to go through.

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful