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Rainbow Lakes Trail

EASY 183 reviews
#10 of 139 trails in

Rainbow Lakes Trail is a 2.5 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Nederland, Colorado that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 2.5 miles Elevation Gain: 334 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dog friendly

kid friendly

camping

fishing

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

forest

lake

views

wildlife

Please note road loading to trail and trail itself may be closed seasonally during the winter and often into the early spring. The road reportedly will be open on June 21, 2019. Series of 9 connected lakes and beaver ponds that lie in a broad flat beneath the Continental Divide. These well-stocked lakes are popular with anglers, and the easy hike in is well-suited for families and backpackers.

backpacking
bugs
rocky
scramble
1 day ago

This is not a 2.5 mile trail. Closer to 1.4 miles. Pretty creek crossing and some optional fun scrambles. Great first backcountry trip for children. It's been a wet season so there's less space to walk circling the lakes than there may otherwise be and lots of gnats.

hiking
7 days ago

my wife isn't much of a hiker and we had a great day. weather was beautiful and the trail was well kept and pretty easy to follow.

hiking
19 days ago

Hiked this trail on 6/28/2019. It was a pleasant hike with some nice scenery along the way. The view from the last lake, with mountains and snowfields as a backdrop, was definitely the highlight. My somewhat lower rating is not due to the hike, but rather the road to get there. The 5 mile dirt and rock road to get to the trail head was far tougher on our vehicle than the short hike was on our feet. It was doable in our SUV, but definitely a rough and slow ride in both directions.

hiking
off trail
21 days ago

Hiked it today 6/25. We took Boulder canyon up and there's a lot of road work going on. Several stretches of road are one lane. On the way home we decided to detour through Lyons to avoid all the road work. The trail was clear, some patches of snow on the side. Super short. We had nice picnic lunch at the lake and then explored the river near by. Overall, not a bad little side hike.

hiking
24 days ago

Great hike, however was very foggy today. Definitely check weather ahead of time.

hiking
1 month ago

Talking the ranger he said the road is going to open 6/21/19. We did the 5 mile hike from sourdough trail.

hiking
closed
1 month ago

hiking
closed
1 month ago

hiking
closed
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Trail still closed!! Bummer.

hiking
1 month ago

Trail is still closed for the season

hiking
3 months ago

Trail still closed at seasonal gate

5 months ago

Road to trail is closed roughly 3 miles from trailhead.

hiking
9 months ago

This was one of the most fun hikes we've been on. It was a perfect out and back with beautiful views, and lakes to stop and enjoy. at the third lake we took off our boots, and waded out into the cold water. Their were quite a few people on the trail, but it wasn't over crowded by any means. we will definitely do this hike again in the spring.

hiking
10 months ago

hiking
10 months ago

On a whim I was looking for something relatively short with some elevation gain since I just moved to Denver and hunting season will soon be upon us. Driving there was pretty easy as the road looks like it was just graded this spring or early summer. don't get going too fast or your tail end will try to come around! There's a five mile dirt road approach that looks highly seasonal, but is fine for all but the lowest cars if you're careful and avoid the potholes and go slowly over washboarding. The hike itself is nice and relatively gentle elevation gain. I'd recommend some trekking poles for the rocky path you have to take, or perhaps just some sturdy ankle support wielding boots. I'd absolutely come back here, it looks like the trail goes further than the last lake but I didn't have a GPS and it began to look like a goat path. For another day then.

backpacking
11 months ago

Lot was full by 10am but we squeezed on the road. We read there wasn’t many backpacking spots - and I found maybe 3, but were too close to water or the trail. We found if you go past (between) the final lakes and keep going (careful, the trails spur and we got turned around), you follow a stream on your right after 1/2 mi to approx 3 sites spread by a few hundred feet. It was a good first backpacking trip for my 7yo. There was plenty of water, moderate temps, and while we saw a bunch of bugs, only really got one or two bites. We encountered a cow moose about 30 feet off the trail about half way up! I think technically this is in the Indian Peaks Wilderness and you need a permit in summer, but, sorry, it is ridiculous to print a form and mail a $5 check or to go to the office. Let me do it online. https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/arp/recarea/?recid=80803

hiking
11 months ago

Overall it's not a trail I'd be super excited to get back to or take anyone to, but it was a nice short hike with shade most of the way. The final lakes/ponds are pretty with some views of the surrounding ridges. The lakes are small with quite a few people crowded around fishing or lounging. The first lake you pass is mosquito heaven and pretty yucky.

11 months ago

it's pretty and very easy. perfect for a quick morning hike. The lakes can get pretty crowded with people trying yo fish.

hiking
Monday, July 16, 2018

Very easy did this hike mid-July. We stayed at the campground the night before which was nice. Free sites were also along the road. Vault toilets at the trailhead. Nicely shaded trail. We just wish there was a better spot near the lake for our dog to jump in and cool off. This parking lot was PACKED by noon so plan accordingly.

backpacking
Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Road was fine for my 2door hatchback with standard clearance. sporadic potholes but they are easy to straddle. A sweet little hike. I wouldn't suggest it for backpacking because it's very short (my GPS says less than 2miles) and there aren't many places to go off trail to camp without messing up a restoration area or camping g in the middle of an animal trail. I use a bivy sac and it was still difficult to find a good spot. SO many mosquitos-- bring bug spray for real. If you're looking for a fun spot to mess around in small lakes and not have to hike too far from camp this is perfect. Pretty pines and aspens and a few glimpses of a pretty mountain but no wide vistas. It's a very easy hike if you're looking for a short nature woodsy walk without building up too much of a sweat this is a good trail for you. There's access to Arapahoe Glacier Trail from this Trailhead and if I'd had time I would've turned around and done that instead. That is probably an amazing hike to a wide vista very close by and if you'll be at the campground a while you could goall the way to Arapahoe Pass and Lake Dorothy in a day if you left early.

Friday, July 06, 2018

I brought my dog. I’m new at this hiking stuff and I found the trail good for a newbie. It was kinda short but it had some great views,

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Very nice, easy trial to a series of lakes. Great for kids, families, dogs- everyone! Rocky trail at certain points, but not hard to navigate. Stunning views of the mountains and nearby glacier from the last lake. Bring your mosquito repellant- they are out in full effect once you get closer to water.

nature trips
Thursday, June 28, 2018

6/17. road was open to trailhead; Caribou 4x4 road was still closed. campground was full. If you are careful you can get a sedan to the trailhead, don't necessarily need clearance. Super easy hike. Beautiful series of lakes with Arapahoe glacier and the divide as a backdrop

fishing
Friday, June 22, 2018

Open and already busy - easy hike and pretty; fishing was mediocre from shore with not great access, would be better wading.

Saturday, June 09, 2018

Still closed as of 6/8.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Is this open for summer yet?

Sunday, June 03, 2018

Road still closed 6/3

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