Kroenke Lake Trail

MODERATE 82 reviews

Kroenke Lake Trail is a 8.6 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 July until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

8.6 miles
1,683 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash






nature trips






wild flowers





From Main St. in Buena Vista, go west to North Creek Rd., turn right and follow it to the trailhead.

25 days ago

Easy hike from a popular trailhead. Would be interested in backpacking here on a weekday in shoulder season (since it was pretty busy) to camp/fish.

1 month ago

Truthfully, this hike isn’t that special and the experience is dulled by all the folks near the lake this time of year. Look for other hiking opportunities from the trailhead: I.e Bear Lake.

1 month ago

Took a few friends here who have never been backpacking at it was great. Easy in and out and they loved it. The lake was great. I wouldnt really recommend trying to hike Mt. Yale from this location. It was all bouldering and sheer cliffs with no trail. That's not to say it wasnt do-able. We made it to the top in about 3.5 hours, and had to scramble down bc of an incoming thunderstorm. Overall, it was a great introductory trip and we were able to get some adventure in trying to conquere Yale.

1 month ago

We never saw any signs for this on the road until the actual trail head. Really enjoyed it though. Hit the trail about 1pm and saw pretty heavy traffic early on, but thinned out later, everyone was super nice. Had 4 or 5 creek crossing and several river/creek access points prior to lake access which our dog enjoyed. Road in and out made me a little nervous but was totally doable.

1 month ago

I just got back from a backpack trip to Kroenke Lake August 12th. kroenke is no longer the pristine alpine lake it once was. it is over used and trampled with little fire wood. People are camping and building fire rings within a few feet of the lake. What is more distressing is that there is used toilet paper everywhere in the forested areas along the east and south sides of the Lake. When did the hiking/backpacking community decide its ok to just leave their toilet paper behind? Come On People! Its easy to pack out your toilet paper with your other trash, or burn it in your fire pit. If you love the outdoors enough to drive to a trailhead and hike somewhere, you should care enough not to degrade the environment and diminish the experience of others.

1 month ago

Nice a steady climb to the lake. It was little hard for me coming straight from Illinois to the mountains. But i would say this is a good one for Plenty of campsites along the lake. We camped on a Sunday night in July and there were 3 other campsites along the lake. Even with the other campers it was very quiet, and scenery was beautiful Seemed like there was good fishing too. I don't fish often, but I caught a couple. It got pretty chilly at night and in the morning, so bring some layers if staying overnight.

1 month ago

Nice hike with good fishing at the end. Went mid-July, so there were plenty of other campers around the lake, but my campsite was definitely peaceful and solitary. You can bank on having afternoon storms and rain, so bring an extra tarp to sit under and plenty of warm clothes.

2 months ago

I’m going tun

2 months ago

The moderate trail rating is very accurate. The majority of the trail is hiked in the woods. The trail opens up to bogs and meadows as you get close to the lake. We hiked in late July and the wildflowers were in full bloom. The lake is small but very scenic. Later in the day, on our way down, there were a good number of backpackers setting up camp around the lake. We hiked an additional 35 or 40 minutes past the lake towards Browns Pass. This portion of the trail was strenuous but afforded some really great views of the lake and meadows. The additional effort was worth the views.

2 months ago

My wife and I headed to Buena Vista to hike Ptarmigan Lake Trail, only to see construction had closed the road. So we pulled out the AllTrails app, and found this nearby. What a great find! Water running by the trail, or you can hear it if you don't see it. It rained hard for awhile, so we found shelter in the trees. Rained off and on coming back, but a great hike! Walking thru all the trees was amazing! Yes, the smell of a dead animal is still present, but just a short area of the trail.

2 months ago

Currently a dead horse is lying next to the trail. It's only going to get funkier.

2 months ago

This trail is very busy and overall a bit underwhelming.

- Well marked
- Very moderate incline
- Easy to get to the trailhead with any car

Not so good:
- In between trees without views until almost to the end
- So many campers at the lake that it’s hard to enjoy the views there.

4 months ago

On 5/12/18 backpacked up to the lake. The snow made it pretty miserable for the last 1.5 miles. We were falling in waist deep. There was hardly any areas without snow to camp out at, but found a spot surrounded by trees to help block out some wind. We were the only souls out there that I know of. No one or animal in sight. The next morning walked to the lake to enjoy the gorgeous view. The hike back was not as bad because we already made the footprints to step in and the snow hardened so at times it was ok to walk on top of.

4 months ago

Didn’t make it all the way to the lake because of snow making the trail hard to follow. Beautiful

4 months ago

beautiful hike, about 3 miles up ran into deep snow drifts and turned around. Need to go back in a couple months.

4 months ago

awesome overnighter hike to take it easy. theres sites close to the lake. beautiful crystal clear streams feeding the lake and draining. I made it a 2 nighter and went up to bear lake the next day. camped in the horn fork basin area..breathtaking views of the collegiate peaks when you get up to bear lake. from bear you can summit mt. Harvard. one of my fave hikes in the collegiate peaks. plenty of water sources.

10 months ago

Great hike to get the blood flowing. I got a late start Friday the 27th. I was hoping to make it to the lake but with the heavy pack and not being acclimated to this Colorado elevation, it took its toll. Luckily there are multiple camping spots along the way. The last mile and a half seemed to have fewer camping spots though so just a heads up. Plenty of places to get water and the elevation gain is steady. I made it to the lake the next morning. It is already starting to freeze over. Was hoping to fish but it was too windy to cast and it was at least 15 degrees colder than 1 trail mile down. Great looking spot though! My dog lived the hike too!

11 months ago

Decent work to get there and the pay off once there well worth it. Fur kids enjoyed it too!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

This was such a lovely hike. Mostly shaded trail, and lots of water crossings. Steady incline so it was work but you couldn't really tell. Lake at the top was pretty with lots of camping. Way back down isn't too bad on your knees because of the gradual hike. Would do this again for sure!

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Beautiful hike.
Most of the trail is tree covered.
Many water crossing, bridged and natural. I think I counted around 7.
Camping spots near the lake, however I believe some are too close.
Firewood is scarce.
If you have any questions I'm on Facebook messenger.

Monday, September 04, 2017

A great trail with a very pretty lake at the end. The trail is in good shape and a long but steady climb. Not real difficult but not easy either. Good day hike.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Excellent hike on a great trail! Several stream crossings on logs...hiking poles come in very handy. A few muddy/boggy areas but passable. It seemed much longer than the listed mileage. Ptarmigan Lake is an easier hike for sure!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

One of the favorites with the family

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Well maintained, very forest-like but when views opened up it was prodigious. Not as hard as the ptarmigan lake trail, less steep (or at least it felt like it).

Friday, July 21, 2017

Great hike, was planning it as a quick overnight backpack trip, ended up doing it as a day hike; 1.5 hours up and 1 hour down (no pack) and we were at a good clip. Beautiful hike not very strenuous and amazing views at the lake. Great morning.

Hiked on 7/21/17, previous comments about trees etc, trail crews have clearly been working here, no problems, there are a couple stream crossings and muddy areas, I was just in trail runners and returned home with dry feet (though could have easily slipped in if not careful.)
Also, got to trail head in a Prius, couple spots were slow going but nothing bad. Have fun!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Great trail had some obstacles that need clearing but all good. The lake made the whole hike worth it!! OMG so freaking beautiful!!!!!!!!

Sunday, July 09, 2017


Sunday, June 25, 2017

Beautiful hike. The two river crossings at the top of the hike were very very sketchy. Be prepared to get your feed wet. Cold snow melt but worth it. Just be careful. The top of the trail was still really snow covered. Post holed a few times, but not so bad. Just an extra exhausting step at the end of the hike. The lake was a bit swampy but amazing! Also there were a lot of newly downed trees so lots of climbing off trail to get around.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Great day for a hike (6/10/17)! We got most of the way up, but then had to turn back at the river crossing. I'm assuming it was a crossing based on a carin and what looked like logs laid strategically across the water. The river was raging! We probably could've crossed, but because we've never hiked this trail before we weren't sure what the trail conditions were beyond that. Plus there's a good amount of snow remaining, which wouldn't be any issue except that it caves in near logs and water. Definitely excited to come back and try this trail later this summer. The road going up to the N. Cottonwood Creek trailhead isn't bad, only a couple deep grooves and scattered rocks.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Hiked June 3, 2017. Still quite a bit of snow on the trail in spots. The first two miles weren't so bad but there was a fair amount after that so we had to turn around.

There were several people on this trail at 10am and the lot was fairly full when we got there. Try to get an early start.

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