Forest Lakes Trail

MODERATE 117 reviews
#1 of 12 trails in

Forest Lakes Trail is a 6.8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Rollinsville, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and fishing and is best used from May until October. 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

bridge out

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.

4 days ago

One of my favorite hikes for sure! Less crowded than Crater Lakes and so beautiful! Only saw a couple people on the trail and a few campers set up around the first lake. Make sure you hike up to the second lake and go off the trail slightly to find the third mini lake. I was jealous of the campers set up around the lake and wish I had packed my tent and stove to stay the night.

hiking
17 days ago

Beautiful hike! The first mile, before you hit the junction for Forest Lakes and Crater Lakes, is easy. Once you hit the junction, it's a pretty steady incline all the way up. Great hike for dogs since there is a fair amount of creeks throughout the trail, and the trail is basically in the woods the entire time. The views from the first and second lakes are wonderful!

hiking
18 days ago

Amazing hike! Such a beautiful trail with lots of water crossings, beautiful views and 2 lakes. The first lake is pretty, however, the second hike is worth the extra 3/4 of a mile up. Amazing peak views from the top lake and the water is a beautiful clear green. The hike is great for dogs, however, be aware as moose live in the area. We say a mama and baby a mile into the hike and a large bull moose on our hike down. It took us 5 hours round trip to the second lake and back to the car with about an hour of stopping at the top lake and for watching moose.

hiking
26 days ago

Did this hike on a Sunday morning and it was great! Steady climb but not bad and well worth the lake views. Some decent wildflowers around the lakes... would definitely recommend it!

hiking
27 days ago

Beautiful forest trail with lots of creek intersections. It is pretty steady uphill after the first mile and a half or so. Good workout! When you reach the first lake, you can continue on to the second lake by following the trail up for an extra 3/4 of a mile. Definitely worth it! The upper lake has a beautiful blue/green hue and is crystal clear. On a Saturday at 11:30, us and another couple were the only people up there. There’s plenty of parking in the lot but we didn’t pass many people on the trail at all. With the extra haul to the upper lake, this ran closer to 9ish miles for us.

hiking
1 month ago

Pretty moderate hike, low traffic despite how the parking lot looks and great for dogs! Make sure you head up to the 2nd lake, as the trail map on here ends at the first one and that's where the real views are!

hiking
1 month ago

I think this is my favorite hike of the summer. Stunning upper lake, it was empty when we were there on a Thursday afternoon. Lots of wildlife, and great weather.

hiking
2 months 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.

2 months 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
2 months 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!

2 months 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
2 months 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
3 months 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
3 months 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
3 months 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.

3 months 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
3 months 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
6 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
6 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
10 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.

11 months ago

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

hiking
Monday, September 04, 2017

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
Thursday, August 31, 2017

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
Monday, July 24, 2017

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

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