Crater Lakes Trail via Moffat Tunnel East Portal Trailhead

HARD 243 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
1925 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

camping

fishing

hiking

snowshoeing

trail running

horseback riding

forest

lake

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

rocky

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
6 days 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

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

hiking
8 days 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
10 days ago

hiking
11 days 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
16 days ago

hiking
21 days ago

Beautiful

26 days ago

Hiked last Saturday- beautiful trail and great for energetic dogs. Also saw a moose which was pretty cool!

hiking
28 days ago

Gorgeous hike. The first 2-2.5 miles are super easy, then theres a bit of a climb for the last half mile to the 2 lower lakes. The climb to the third lake is definitely the steepest and most difficult part as it is completeley exposed, and there's a tiny bit of scrambling at the top. But nothing insane. Just take a few short breaks to remind you to breathe and you'll get there. If you're in really good shape, you'll be able to make it to the top no problem. I'm from sea level and am still getting accustomed to really high altitude. Even if you can't make it to the very top lake, I still recommend hiking up a little for the view of both lakes because it's spectacular. We started at 7am, and were back down in 4.5 hrs with two lengthy stops to enjoy the lower lakes and the upper lake (probably about 45 mins total). We only ran into two other hikers on the way up, but by the time we came down we passed a fair few people. If you like the solitude, definitely go early, and you'll have the whole place to yourself.

hiking
29 days ago

Beautiful 2 lakes! Went in June and still lots of snow so hard to traverse up parts but we managed!

backpacking
29 days ago

Spent this past weekend with my hammock here. There are some great trails that give you a good challenge and equally some that were easy and fun. The most fun I had was hiking from the crater lakes to Clayton lake and then cutting across the ridge to see a beautiful view of the 3 crater lakes. It was beautiful. Highly recommend it!

I adore this trail and will definitely be back. Was challenging in the best ways. The app saved my ass because I lost the trail for a minute. I love that it can track you and help you get back!

1 month ago

Beautiful hike! It was pretty easy to moderate the first two miles. The hike started to really climb the last 1/2 mile or so after passing the two bottom lakes. Toward the top, at the last lake, we got a bit lost. We curved more to the left and followed the cairns. Really rocky. We also followed this path the way back. It gets a bit confusing! Overall though a beautiful hike- aspens all turning colors and beautiful wildflowers and fall colors throughout.

hiking
1 month ago

The hike starts off gradually gaining only about 500 ft over the first 2 miles. The last mile+ is where the climbing really is. We got to the lower lakes and it's incredibly beautiful. We scrambled a little of the way to the upper lake but clouds rolled in and the rain started. It does feel more exposed so we turned back. The views from even just a few steps above to catch the two lower lakes is a must-do - there are just a few wildflowers clinging on and the whole meadow was gorgeous. Highly recommend, and if not for the weather would have loved to keep going! Lots of creek crossings for the dog to cool off, just a few marshy areas where it's impossible to keep the dog dry.

hiking
1 month ago

Mostly tree-covered rocky trail that was windy at times above the two lakes. Continue to an upper lake by following shoreline of right lake and following trail up past active waterfalls. There is a small pond before the actual upper lake, so keep going until you get to the glacial basin. Best views are from above the 2 lakes. Trail started getting busy by about 10am. Starting at sunrise meant we only saw a few campers and then no one at the upper lake. Wildflowers are almost done, and aspens at bottom meadows are changing. No fee for parking, and the 15 minute drive from Rollinsville to the TH is dusty but a well-maintained dirt road accessible for low-clearance vehicles.

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

We loved this day hike! Best part was climbing to the upper lakes! My GPS tracked our total hike @ 6.6 miles. We were glad escape to hazy Labor day in the city! :)

1 month ago

A bit strenuous all the way to the 4th lake but beautiful. Walk through dense evergreens and aspens with a clear trail most of the way. We got turned around in the trees and had to make our way back but found cairns to cross over some boulders. Then clear lakes at the top and the most gorgeous wildflowers up (or down) the rocky side to the 4th highest lake. Definitely one of my favorite hikes. The dog loved it too with plenty of water to cool off in along the way in the creek and in the lakes.

hiking
1 month ago