Harvard Lakes Trail

MODERATE 41 reviews

Harvard Lakes Trail is a 3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Buena Vista, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until November. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
3.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1220 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

kid friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

horseback riding

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

Two small beautiful lakes hidden at the base of Mt Columbia From the trailhead go south along the old logging road. When the road takes a sharp turn right (West) you will see a path continuing south. This is the key to this trail. Once you find this trail the rest is easy. After the trail crosses Three Elks Creek it will begin to turn west and lead you up the East side of Mt. Columbia. This trail will meet with the Colorado Trail just North of Harvard Lakes. Turn left onto the Colorado trail for about 100 yards to reach the upper lake, continue on the trail a short ways to reach the lower lake.

hiking
4 days ago

hiking
16 days ago

21 days ago

It was a challenging hike. At least moderate. Lots of up, the downhill was steep. We had to cross water a couple of times, and be extra cautious because we saw lots of ''Squatch sign. The trail is not marked as Harvard, but was called "three Elk Trail". When you reach the very top, turn left on the Colorado Trail to find the lakes. Most vehicles are not able to reach the trailhead.

backpacking
22 days ago

First there was no sign identifying the hike. The directions from this site took us right to the trailhead. We stopped .75 miles short of the trailhead not knowing if our Denali would make it. The first sign says "3 elk pass". Take it to be on this hike. Once at the lake region the sign says, I think, "Colorado Pass". It's in the region of the tents and take this left a short distance to the lakes. Left in mid afternoon and didn't expect to complete the trail. My brother and his 12 y/o son and I huffed and puffed and completed the hike. Beautiful and almost all uphill. Some tents at the top with some nice looking areas for camping. Well worth the sweat. The Harvard Lakes at the end of the hike were shallow but trout were visible in both lakes. Looked for Sasquatch but not identified on this hike.

camping
1 month ago

1 month ago

Most cars cannot drive all the way to the trail head which adds about 1.6 miles total (there and back).

Also, when you reach the junction with the Colorado trail, go left and the lakes are about .1 miles from there. Otherwise you'll head in the wrong direction and miss the lakes -- a mistake we learned the hard way.

Overall, a beautiful hike. Much of it follows a nice stream, and the views at the lake are gorgeous.

hiking
1 month ago

Just did this hike on the 11th of June, but didn't go all the way to the lakes. First off, the road off the main road to the trail head is ugly. Don't see anyone getting up that stretch with anything but a high clearance vehicle. Once you start the hike, the trail is nice for about the first 1/2 mile or so. Then it is just straight up the mountain with no switchbacks at all. Steep as can be, and rocky too. Not my favorite trail for sure. It was pretty warm by the time we got over here that day too, so that didn't help. Switchbacks across that ridge line up there would have made this a much nicer hike. Maybe another time when it's cooler, I'll go at this again.

1 month ago

The lakes at the top were well worth the hike up. Only thing is that the road to the trail head is a service road - about 0.8mile up so keep that in mind if you have a tiny car like ours.

hiking
1 month ago

2 months ago

2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

The first mile was a doozey! It was steep with cliffs that made my stomach a little oozey. But after that it was a more steady incline - not so steep. It was a nice walk in the woods. The lake was small. It only took us a few minutes to walk around it but there was not really anyplace to get close to it and rest. The road to get to the trail head was more of a four wheel drive road although we made it up there in a sedan.

hiking
2 months ago

2 months ago

Great short hike. Took us about 2 hours and got to take out time to explore both lakes. The trail head has a sign for 3 Elk trail #1445. Once you hit the Colorado trail head left to the first smaller lake then a little father to the bigger one. Nice trail around the bigger lake.

hiking
3 months ago

Short but steep. Ends at two beautiful lakes. Definitely worth it. Final 1/3 of the trial was snowpacked in early May but did not require snow shoes.

hiking
4 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

Add the county road to your hike unless you have an atv. Still too much snow to make it the whole way to the lake without snowshoes.

9 months ago