Emmaline Lake Trail is a 13 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Bellvue, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail.
From the trailhead, the trail skirts the west side of the Pingree Park Campus, on a former jeep trail for 3.5 miles to Cirque Meadowsa popular destination for visitors. Connects with Mummy Trail (http://alltrails.com/trail/us/colorado/mummy-pass-trail) about 3.5 miles after the trail head. There are seven designated campsites with metal fire rings below and in Cirque Meadows; before you reach the Comanche Peak Wilderness and the Emmaline Lake Travel Zone. Campsite #1 is located at the junction of the Mummy Pass Trail. In the Cirque Meadows area proper, there are four campsites east of the meadow, and two campsites across Fall Creek to the north.
The trail was one of the most diverse and rewarding I've ever been on, and the big payoff is the actual lake, and bouldering up to the rocks surrounding it for a picnic and relaxing nap. We started at Tom Bennett and just took our time checking out all the places to camp along the way, and of course, beautiful Cirque Meadows. It'll be an annual tradition, with camping next time.
Great hike - I started at the Beaver Creek/Fish Creek trailhead and hiked to Commanche Lake and back. GPS said it was 12.5 round trip (we did hike around Commanche Lake.) Great trail, easy up and downs until steep up to Commanche Lake. Beautiful scenery lots of water for the pooches. We were the only ones up there.
Great hike. Did it on Memorial Day. First leg was boring, easy. Nice walk near CSU campus, gets deeper into the valley w some views. In early september most of the aspen were gold. Some bridges to cross, not much of a grade til the meadow. After that the hike gets super hard. Be prepared! I hadn't done any long hikes this season as I spent the summer out of state. It was the hardest 2 miles of a hike I have ever done. Switchbacks so steep sometimes short people (like me) have to grab tree roots to climb it. Still just beautiful though, lush forest here with wildflowers late in the season. After a couple miles of this you will emerge from the forest, be prepared to keep an eye out for cairns. These will guide you to climb up and over the large rocks/boulders until you reach cirque lake (which is honestly the prettiest lake there) and a little further and you will reach Emmaline lake. It was too windy up there, with a dark color to the water so I went back down to cirque and to the grass shoreline patch where I laid for an hour. Lots of people up there for such a long and tough hike
Completed this hike Labor Day Weekend. Started from the Beaver Creek Trail Head and proceeded to the Comanche Reservoir. Fairly flat in some areas, but others get you breathing hard. Reservoir is quite low, but doesn't detract too much from the nice scenery. We actually continued on to the Comanche Lake Trailhead, which proceeds up the face of the mountain and over to a wonderful mountain lake; once you cross over the river, the surroundings are much more lush, dense and wet. The hike up is strenuous at times, to be sure. But the payoff at the lake is fantastic; pristine, quiet, hardly another soul to be found. Water super clear, with gobs of 8 -12 inch trout. Only four campsites at the lake, and we lucked out by finding a vacant one. Highly recommend this hike!
The first couple of miles are a bit of a snooze fest. Once you pass that, you're deeper into the forest and that's something I prefer. I went at the end of July and it was fairly warm around noon but the afternoon drizzle came through, which was a relief. Bring a rain jacket to stick in your pack since it seems to rain a little in the afternoons in the mountains. I went about 4 miles in and turned around since I went low on water. At about that point, there are great views of the Meadow and mountains.
First half: easy, second half: moderate-strenuous. Trail has a fair amount of traffic, saw around 20+ people. About a dozen river crossings, but there were always logs to balance on. Trail is easy to follow until the end, but there are lots of cairns to guide you. About halfway there is a cluster of campgrounds (you can only camp in designated sites), some with fire rings--which are the only places you can have open fires. Past that are stove only sites. You cannot camp within about 1.5-2 miles of the lake. Dogs are okay on leashes.
The trail is easy to follow until the last mile or so, has great views throughout and the lake is an awesome payoff.
There's also 11 camping spots at the meadow and in the travel zone so it provides for a great short backpacking trail as well.
We hiked from the trailhead to Comanche reservoir. Nice short hike, 4 miles round trip. The reservoir doesn't have a lot of area to go down to the water, but that could be because we hiked this at the end of June and there was quite a bit of runoff so the water was high.
Tip: drive straight through the Lutheran camp if you have four wheel drive. There's a trailhead further up and it was worth it to avoid hiking up that road.
This is probably one of the top five hikes I've done. The trail is beautiful and challenging, varied and hard to find the last 1-2 miles.
We hiked it in late June and there was still quite a bit of snow. We ended up bush-whacking and scrambling the last half mile or so because we couldn't find the trail (probably due to the snow). It was completely worth it!
If you are unsure of the trail, climb the ridge up from the right side. If you hike this in early summer bring some waterproof boots.
We started from the trailhead near Tom Bennett campground, which made it probably around 12 miles round trip, but I think you can start from a connector trail in CSU's mountain campus that would cut about 2-4 miles off of it.
Started trail at 8:30am got to lake at 12:05pm. Back to car at 2:45pm. Trail was lost once but found it ok. This is a NO-fishing area due to green back cuthroat repopulate program, I did not know this. At the first large campground the trail veers to the right, horses are not allowed past this point because of low clearings (dead trees hanging over trail) and tricky stream crossings. Great trail for dogs, rain was nice once we got back into tree cover. Trail ok for pack goats, llamas may have a hard time in the boulder field, donkeys may not make it up.
I finally got to do this trail this week. I started at about 7:45am and got to the top at around 11:30pm. It starts off on a mellow jeep trail that continues to the cirque lakes. Breathtaking views when you get there. It then continues into denser wooded areas with switchbacks and steeper climbs. Lots of wildflowers around this time of year. I had 2 dogs with me and they managed the hike just fine. One thing to note though, an afternoon thunderstorm rolled in at 12:00pm on the dot as I was finishing up lunch. Had to run back down through the rain and thunder. No lightning fortunately but I would of ideally started an hour early to avoid that.