Diamond Lake Trail is a 5.6 mile 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, camping, and backpacking and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
5.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,240 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

backpacking

camping

hiking

forest

lake

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

Directions from Eldora: Travel west on CR #130 and then northwest on CR #111 to the 4th of July/Buckingham Park Campground. Hiking alternatives include Diamond Lake Trail from Hessie, Arapaho Glacier Trail from Rainbow Lakes, and Arapaho Pass from Monarch Lake (Hot Sulfur District). Note: Getting to the trailhead can be difficult. A high clearance all seasons car with 4-wheel drive is recommended.

hiking
1 hour ago

It was a gorgeous day to hike. I started early and there was no one on the trail all the way up to Diamond Lake. I did wear spikes the entire way due to ice and snow. I couldn't have hiked the last mile without them. My dog was with me and we had a blast. Yes, the road is awful to drive on but if you're a confident driver, you can make it. Please PULL OVER if someone is behind you and you're coasting down (or up) the road. It was a celebratory hike for my 61st birthday and the day couldn't have been nicer.

hiking
20 days ago

Nice, easy - moderate fall hike. Get there soon before the leaves fall. I would recommend a higher clearance vehicle for the last four miles to the trail head. I drive a Subaru Impreza and bottomed out more than once.

hiking
22 days ago

Careful on the drive up! There's a good stretch of dirt road with lots of big rocks that can be difficult to drive over. We got to the trailhead around 8:30 in the morning and it wasn't very crowded at all. Absolutely gorgeous trail with a good incline. Weather was pleasantly cool and crisp until the way down when it got hot (and kind of crowded) in the afternoon. There was a really neat waterfall about 2/3 of the way to the lake, and the lake was stunning, but very windy. Beautiful hike. We took it super slow on the way down because I managed to hurt my leg. Hahah, we still had fun!

24 days ago

Solid trail and drive up. Little sketchy if you’re driving in a car but fun nonetheless. Beautiful waterfall along the trail and absolutely gorgeous destination at Diamond Lake.

hiking
25 days ago

Great trail! Weekend of Sept 23rd, fall colors were in full bloom on the drive there.

hiking
28 days ago

tons of people, even more dogs. fall color coming to an end. trail was great. not easy but not hard. nice workout indeed...any vehicle can make it to the trailhead if you drive slow enough

hiking
29 days ago

Perfect weather for a hike. Absolutely loved the trail and the view.

We got there around 10.30 am and the parking was bit tight. (I'd recommend either early morning or later when people start leaving). The dirt road leading to the trail head was bit off-roady (recommend a high clearance vehicle)

Trail traffic was not bad at all and trail was mostly shaded. We were not used to the high altitude, so had to take small rests frequently on the way. It took us a little more than 4 hours totally (including half an hour break at the lake for a snack). We logged about 6 miles totally!!!

hiking
29 days ago

Great day hike, it took me about an hour and half in and an hour back, walking at a casual pace.

I got there at 10am on a Saturday and there were still a few parking spots...and plenty of spots open in the afternoon if you're ok with waiting for an afternoon hike.

Definitely some people but not overly crowded at all, there were several moments along the trail when we were alone without anyone in sight ahead or behind us.

hiking
1 month ago

Incredible views at the lake! We logged 7.75 miles round trip with a short walk by the lake and parking close to the trail head.

hiking
1 month ago

Fall colors, incredible, next week they will be popping even more than they were on this hike.
beautiful Lake on top wasn't too busy on a Friday.

1 month ago

If your vehicle does well off road, you'll probably still be able to get a spot up top right by the trail head. Lots of panic parking on the road up there, so don't give up hope if you see cars everywhere. The trail was busy this weekend, but the weather was amazing.

hiking
1 month ago

Great trail. Wonderful views of 13teeners, massive amounts of wildflowers (in spring and summer), fantastic waterfalls, water-crossings and streams all along the way. We saw a moose - bull (great rack!), a female and her baby). The waterfall from Diamond Lake can be heard and seen (most of the time) tumbling down the opposite ridge along the first half of the trail. We hiked with out 10 and 7 year old all the way to the lake - upper end of moderate rating due to altitude and elevation gain would be more of an appropriate rating for this trail. Very enjoyable. LOTS of people with limited parking. I would go again on a weekday NOT a weekend. The road in is fun to drive if you have a vehicle with clearance. You are driving on dirt road for about 7 miles after you go through the town of Eldora. The dirt road into the main parking has some serious ditches and obstacles. I would suggest parking off the side of the road if you don't feel like four-wheeling.

hiking
1 month ago

Labor Day weekend and showed up to the TH @ 9am and was still able to get a spot to park. Road to the TH is rough so keep that in mind. Hiked to Diamond Lake with my 9yr old son and logged 6.1mi total. The trail had a lot of little creeks and one of the most picturesque waterfalls I have seen here in CO. I thought the hike was relatively easy with plenty of mild portions to counter any ascents. Diamond lake is a beautiful lake and loaded with trout. We fly fished for about 90 minutes and caught feisty brookies left and right. The lake also has rainbows and cutties but we didnt catch any. Plenty of room at the lake to enjoy some lunch or peace and quiet. We will definitely be back to hike the upper lakes as well.

1 month ago

Wonderful trail :) Hiked here this morning (Monday). Got to the trail head a bit before 8 am, wandered around the lake for about 20 min then headed back down. Finished in about 2.5 hrs. Because it’s a weekday and I got to the TH relatively early, I had the entire trail to myself on the way up. Passed a dozen or so people heading up on my way back down. The forest is lovely and green right now and the lake is spectacular. Perfect day hike for most levels. Indian peaks wilderness, and especially the Fourth of July TH can be very busy on summer weekends. Try to avoid weekend hiking here if you’re looking for wilderness solitude.

1 month ago

This is a beautiful but hard-moderate with intense elevation. Lots of waterfalls and the lake is peaceful and serene. While we passed a few other hikes here there, overall it wasn't too trafficked on a Friday morning. By the time we left however, the parking lot was full. Take lots of breaks and power through the hills for a great pay off.

hiking
1 month ago

Hi all, lost my phone on the Arapaho Pass portion of this trail (likely close to the 4th of July Trailhead. If anyone recovered it, please email me at kristin.herrmann@gmail.com. Thank you!

backpacking
2 months ago

Hello

is the fishing good?

How are the camping sites there?

2 months ago

good exercise

2 months ago

I thought this was an alright hike. I’ve been earlier in the summer (June) and it was a beautiful walk in though we didn’t make it to the lake due to snow. Beautiful snow capped mountains and roaring waterfalls. Went again mid August and wasn’t nearly as beautiful walk in and the lake was nice but I’ve seen much more beautiful ones in Colorado. Probably best times are June and July and then fall which I assume will start in September/October.

2 months ago

nice quick hike up to the lake, not too challenging. awesome views at the top with a second lake if you continue which we didn't have time to do. the road up to the trailhead is very rocky so be careful driving. highly recommend.

hiking
2 months ago

beautiful, moderate hike, very crowded on the weekends. recommend arriving at trailhead before 730am. diamond lake has plenty of space for the masses but is busy by 930am. recommended!

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike! Definitely not too difficult... fairly trafficked on the weekend as of you approach the Lake. Lots of fun waterfalls and little features along the way.... If you’re doing this on a weekend definitely make it to the trail head by 7-7:15AM or you’ll be in a jam to find parking! We made it at 8 and parked about a half mile down!

hiking
2 months ago

This was a nice, moderate hike. We had to park a ways up the road because there were so many cars.
We saw plenty of people on the trail, but many were backpacking, so the parking situation made it seem worse than it really was. The first mile or so is shared with the trail to Arapaho Glacier and shortly after the split is a lovely waterfall. We hiked up the waterfall area near the lake as well, and I'm bummed because we didn't realize there were more lakes! We didn't explore as much as we should have.

2 months ago

Views are excellent. Don’t stop at the lower diamond lake. Keep hiking and you will find middle diamond lake and upper diamond lake. Beautiful!

hiking
2 months ago

Hiked on a Saturday afternoon. It was very crowded with people and dogs. Beautiful wildflowers and a waterfall. We saw a moose. Narrow dirt road up to the trailhead with minimal parking.

hiking
2 months ago

Awesome trail with everything you could hope for in a hike. Waterfalls, mountain lakes and wildflowers were all stunning. Rough dirt road for about 5 miles to the trailhead. Good ground clearance in your vehicle recommended.

camping
2 months ago

Great hike! We camped at the base of the trail head by off Fourth Of July road right on the creek. We arrived at 5pm on a Saturday and had no trouble finding a spot right on the creek to set up camp- started early to beat the rain. Less than a mile in we’re absolutely beautiful wild flowers lining the trail and naturally occurring run off water falls from the mountain top. True to it’s word distance- uphill heading out but moderate and easy for any intermediate hiker. Passed multiple groups who had seen moose but we were alluded once again... Best part of the hike: running into a pair of Llamas!

backpacking
2 months ago

My friend and I did this hike on Sunday (7/29) and stayed overnight about a mile east of Jasper Lake.

We left around 10 am and arrived back at our car around 1:30 pm on Monday (7/30). In total, we covered close to 14 miles round trip on our trek; traveling at roughly one mile per hour.

We tried to get a permit to camp at Diamond Lake, but were told that the Forest Service didn't provide the ranger station with any more passes for that camp zone. In any such case, we decided to get a permit to camp in the Devil's Thumb Zone of Roosevelt National Forest instead.

After completing the trek to Diamond Lake, we continued our journey up and over the pass that connects with the Jasper Lake/Devil's Thumb Lake trailheads. The incline to get up and over the pass from Diamond Lake is pretty strenuous, especially when carrying over 60 lbs. of camping equipment on your back.

The views from the ridgeline of the pass were spectacular, and after finding a spot to camp (about 200 yards down the hill from the where the Jasper Lake and Diamond Lake trailhead meet), we set up our tent and made the short jaunt (1 mile) over to Jasper Lake to watch the sunset.

It was an incredibly beautiful evening, and just as the sun disappeared beyond the mountains, the mist rolled in and it was as if we were trapped in the clouds.

This being our first backpacking trip, we did not prepare for the presence of wildlife near our campsite, and therefore had a late night visitor in the form of a small female black bear (125 - 150 lbs.). She came sniffing around our tent sometime around 3 am on Monday morning and then encountered her again around 8 am when we were packing up our stuff, surely looking for food. We will be sure to bring bear spray and keep our food in bear canisters on any future treks.

This was an absolutely majestic experience that I would surely recommend to anyone looking for a challenging backpacking adventure.

The three things I would say to anyone going on their first backpacking trip is make sure you pack as light as possible, have enough water for your time spent in the wild, and be prepared to encounter wildlife.

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful hike. 3 hours exactly (not including our time spent at the lake) and that was with lots of photo/snack breaks. The wildflowers and waterfalls were so pretty, and the lake at the end was so serene. One of my favorites!

Get there early! We arrived at 7:30 and parking was fine, about 1/3 full. By the time we left at 11:30 there were no open spots.

Lunch and nitro ice cream in Nederland are great treats afterwards :-)

I look forward to continuing the hike up to Upper Diamond Lake next time.

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike. Lots has been written about the hike itself, so I'll add a few comments on the drive to the trailhead:

- Unless you are hiking in winter with heavy snow on the road, there is ZERO reason why you would need AWD to get to the trailhead. The unpaved road is extremely rocky, which makes it bumpy, but you shouldn't need to worry about getting stuck. There is very little pitch to it.

- On the flip side, while you can make the drive in a normal car (I saw plenty of Accords, Civics, Corollas, Prius, even a few BMW 3 series), I would want something with high ground clearance, or you'll have to just crawl along the road to avoid bottoming out your suspension or scraping your undercarriage. We were in an SUV, and could take the road at 25mph no problem with the exception of a few areas.

- Lastly, if you are either unfamiliar with driving on unpaved mountain roads, or are one of the afore-mentioned drivers trying to crawl up in a normal car without tearing off your oil pan, please, please, please, pull over for traffic behind you and let them pass. There is no way to pass without someone pulling off the road, and you will easily delay everyone behind you 40+ minutes if you're doing 5mph or less.

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