Forest Lakes Trail

MODERATE 92 reviews
#1 of 10 trails in

Forest Lakes Trail is a 6.8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Rollinsville, Colorado that features a lake. The trail is rated as moderate and primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and fishing. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
6.8 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,541 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

fishing

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

lake

river

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

From Nederland, travel south for 4.5 miles on Colorado Highway 119 to Rollinsville. Turn west onto the gravel Gilpin County Road 16 and continue eight miles to the Moffat Tunnel. A large parking area is available at the East Portal Trailhead.

hiking
6 days ago

Hiked to the lakes again today. I love these lakes, especially the second one. I've hiked this trail at least 10 times (or more) over the last 5 years. Second bridge is closed, but I got by it- on the way up by taking off boots and socks and finding a safe place to cross the water. I have a big mountain dog who helps me across streams. On the way down, I went ahead and walked across the wood bridge. Be careful! Five stars for this trail due to the lakes, not the trail itself. Good hiking people! Enjoy.

13 days ago

Great trail!!! Make sure to go to the second lake. Rangers will tell you second bridge is closed and not passable... we had no issues getting across!

hiking
19 days ago

Great trail, not as crowded as Crater Lakes trail. Second bridge is currently marked as closed, although you can get across it. Once up to the lower lake it is worth the trip up to the upper lake which is far more scenic. Wildflowers are abundant pretty much the entire way!

21 days ago

This hike is beautiful! Did this Sunday, experienced about 3 seasons (gotta love CO) with hail rain and sunshine. Most of this is shaded and has various views of mountain or valley or forest. Definitely would be good on a hot sunny day. The lake is pretty but not much shore line to visit up close. Saw a mom and baby moose on the way back down so make sure to keep your pups on leash for their and your safety.

hiking
25 days ago

Back to Forest Lakes Trail, this time no snow at all. Got pummeled with graupel at the top but still a beautiful hike. Don't let the parking lot fool you, Despite the number of cars I have still found these trails not too crowded. Great lake with lots of spots to have lunch. Nice waterfall on the way. A little far from Denver but worth the drive.

backpacking
1 month ago

7/16-6/17. Did this trail as my first solo backpacking trip in Colorado. Hiked up to the lakes Saturday, pitched my tent at the upper lake and had an amazing night of solitude among the beautiful scenery. Still a significant amount of snow once past the first lake. I relied on previous footsteps and a good map to keep the trail heading towards Forest Lake #2. Overall, an awesome hike through pine/spruce/fir, with many river crossings and waterfalls. The lakes are gorgeously set against a mountain backdrop. Not much of a landscape view from the trail, but it’s easy enough to scramble just a bit higher for spectacular views. I know this is a popular day hike, and I highly recommend it for an overnight trip if you’re looking for short hiking mileage and a quiet backcountry night.

hiking
1 month ago

6/21/18: Did this mid day with my dog. Beautiful trail mostly through pine forests. Lots of shade and water with a few stream and waterfall crossings, and wildflowers. Snow still present around 1/3 mile to the lake, but could navigate there following others' postholes. Classic beautiful subalpine lake with mountain background view. Rating this 4 stars in comparison to similar hikes in the area, but stunning nonetheless especially if visiting.

hiking
1 month ago

Super nice hike up to a gorgeous lake. Still a lot of snow near the top starting at about the last mile which added to the workout. The last half mile has lots of snow and post-holed a few times. Lots of waterfalls right now. Once we finally got to the lake were the only ones up there.

1 month ago

Hiked today with my pup. Still lots of snow after you cross the half-out bridge and start to cut up towards the lake. But it’s do-able and snow should clear in the next couple weeks! Great hike!

hiking
1 month ago

Only made it 2 miles in, half a bridge was out and with a dog and waterfall wasn’t willing to risk it. Up to that point there was this snow covered spots but it wasn’t terrible

hiking
4 months ago

Hiked 3/8. Snow from the Moffat Tunnel mostly packed down first half. Lots of snow second half, recommend show shoes. We made it to the top without, with lots of post holing. About 2/3 into the hike, you come into an opening with 2-3 different paths, stay to the right, you will soon hike in between 2 sawed-off tree stumps, continue up hill through the small canyon to the lake! Amazing hike, beautiful trail! Ps Watch out for cross country skiers.

hiking
4 months ago

Did this hike today 2/28. Trail was packed down until about a half mile from the lake. You can use just boots, slick in some spots so I used micro spikes. The lake is completely covered in snow. You can snowboard down the majority of the way. Lots of tree cover.

hiking
8 months ago

-- Needed spikes for boots
-- Snowshoes are a very-nice-to-have
-- Orange hat/bright colors good to have as the hunters are present
There are multiple trails once you get past the meadow so be mindful of your direction.

Great hike with good views. Never disappoints.

9 months ago

I loved this trail. You won't regret hiking this trail, whether it be a day or three.

hiking
10 months ago

Nice steady climb through fairly thick forest with a nice lake at the top. There is a trail around the lake and some nice spots for lunch. The parking lot is huge so even if the trail is crowded you should be able to find a spot to park. It was very busy in the parking lot over Labor Day weekend. However the lake at the top was pretty quite. Overall a nice hike.

hiking
10 months ago

Great hike! Beautiful Forrest views the entire way. Nice steady incline and lots of streams. The lake at the top was gorgeous, however I don't think we made it to the farthest lake?.. the flies at the top were kind of bad. The hike we did was at least 8 miles.

hiking
11 months ago

Upper, lower Forest Lakes- not the prettiest lakes I've seen. Trail also is not my fav. Compared to Indian Peaks, which I love, James Peak wilderness is just ok, imho.

Moderate trail climbs steadily uphill, not particularly steep, meandering thru forest. No views. Not much views at lakes either. Lotsa pesky gnats made it unbearable to stick around the lakes for long. Wildflowers on the trail weren't that great but were somewhat better at the lakes. The paintbrush- scarlet & rosy, were beautiful. Other noteworthy flowers- Elephant Head. Fireweed & raspberry plants right at the beginning junction & Bog Wintergreen at the early marshy part.

Overall just an avg hike. Seen much better.

hiking
Friday, July 07, 2017

I love the forests in Nederland. It smells wonderful, you get tree cover, and the pine needles make the trail nice and soft. This hike is easy to get to and beautiful the whole time. The columbines were pristine, and the lake is beautiful. The trail is extremely well kept and it allows for fast moving. The only downside is that there are never really any mountain views. Mostly forest.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Beautifully maintained trail. There are river crossings over streams that barely need them.
No real views until the lakes. It's definitely worth it to go to the upper lake. It's a little over 8 miles round trip if you do.
No mosquitos. There were a lot of gnats for the first 1/4 mile, then no bugs.

hiking
Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Absolutely gorgeous. Hardly any snow, regular hiking boot will do just fine. The waters are full, views still snow capped, and I would go in the next 1-2 weeks- the flowers are just beginning to bloom. Will most definitely be doing this one again!

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

nice trail with a beautiful Lake view.

backpacking
Saturday, July 01, 2017

Any mosquito information? How bad are they?

hiking
Thursday, June 29, 2017

This has always been one our favorite hikes. The trail is clear and awaiting all comers. Enjoy

hiking
Monday, June 19, 2017

Still pretty snowy up there- once above the straight portion passed the crater-forest split, its snow hiking for the rest of the way

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Went in early May. Pretty challenging because of the deep snow which was pretty consistent the whole trail. Would love to go back when it's warm.

hiking
Monday, June 05, 2017

Attempted this yesterday with no luck. 1 mile in and you're already walking on 3 feet deep piles of snow. Then it dried out for a while until about 2 miles in, the trail was all snow packed and hard to distinguish. Not worth getting lost.

Monday, June 05, 2017

Beautiful hike in early June. Gets a bit slow-going on the second half without snow shoes or crampons but it's still doable with hiking boots.

hiking
Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Nice hike, quiet. Went during the summer. Worth the climb for the lakes, looked like a great place to set up camp, quite a few people fishing.

snowshoeing
Saturday, March 04, 2017

Nice snowshoe hike. Followed skier trail. Quite a bit of incline towards the end with deep snow.

hiking
Saturday, December 31, 2016

Beautiful Hike. Didn't bring snowshoes today. Stopped when we started post holing about 1/2 mile from first lake. Will definitely go back.

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