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Red Deer Lake via Red Deer Lake and Buchanan Pass Trail

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Roosevelt National Forest

Red Deer Lake via Red Deer Lake and Buchanan Pass Trail is a 13.9 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Lyons, Colorado that features a lake. The trail is rated as difficult and primarily used for hiking, trail running, and backpacking. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 13.9 mi Elevation gain 1,984 ft Route type Out & Back

Dogs on leash

Backpacking

Hiking

Running

Forest

Lake

Wildlife

Snow

Waypoints (0)
Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (37)
Photos (232)
Recordings (27)
Completed (49)
Michael Hacker
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Bird WatchingBridge outIcySnow
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David Rudman
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Hiking

The road to Camp Dick and the trailhead is open! Trail was mostly dry, and where there was water on the trail it was very shallow, so you could easily walk through it with regular hiking boots and stay dry. Once I turned onto the Red Deer Lake trail there were snowbanks obscuring the trail itself. But it was easy to either hike on the snow or (as I did) parallel the trail in the woods where there was no snow. So overall this trail is "open" now. The lake is amazing, and we saw almost no-one else the entire way. Took us about 7 hours total including lots of flower stops and a nice lunch at the lake.

Jay Worley
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Hiking

Did this yesterday, Camp Dick was packed no surprise on a Sunday. Started before 7 and only saw 2 other parties on trail until coming down in the afternoon. Took St Vrain Glacier trail rather than Red Deer but didn’t get all the way to Gibraltar Lake. About 14 m rd trip. Beautiful day, great scenery esp at tree line and above, Middle St Vrain running strong right now, trail has plenty of wet spots and some underwater.

Sue Gu
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HikingRocky

A long way with a mostly unchanging view and very rocky, with a lot of large puddles and streams to cross. A large half of it was shared with 4WD vehicles so it was basically a rocky road. Pluses were that there was a nice stream running alongside for most and it was mostly well shaded.

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Matthew Garrington
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Backpacking
Teresa MacKillop
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HikingMuddyRockySnow

Arrived trailhead at 8:45am. Plenty of parking available. Hiking is mostly up a creek bed. Areas where you are hiking in the creek with water. We jumped from rock to rock in many areas. Poles were helpful as was ankle high waterproof hiking boots. Some of the trail was really great, soft footing, padded by the forest floor. Very few people on this trail. I would rate this hike as moderate (as another reviewer posted) the last 1/2 mile would be considered hard due to hiking through snowfield to get to lake and getting lost several times due to snow on trail.

Kirstie F.
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Hiking

Did an overnight backpacking trip with my dog to Red Deer Lake in (late) August of 2016. Trail was very busy but beautiful and challenging.

Beth B.
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BackpackingMuddySnow

Did 2-night overnight backpacking trip with my son. Like previous poster said that the trail is clear through Buchanan Pass Trail except many swampy/muddy sections you have to navigate through or around. The turn-off to Red Deer Lake is almost unmarked. Someone scratched the name into a post that is leaning away from the trail on the downhill side though. The Red Deer Lake is covered in snow up to hip-deep, but you can follow the footprints of others to the lake. The snow is mostly packed, so you can walk on top of it. There is a clear trail for the last .10 mile. Views of the snow-capped peaks at the lake are worth it. You can even skirt around the side of it for more views. Do not go downhill for a noticeable distance. There is some side trial early after the Red Deer turn-off started that goes down that was clear and inviting that was NOT the trail to the lake. If you want to camp without a permit, there is a lovely meadow just before the Indian Peaks area. Otherwise, there is a nice camping spot 1/2 mile into the Indian Peaks region. We did not see any areas to camp near the lake as there was so much snow. Saw 3 moose over the trip! Watch out for mosquitos, though. They are wicked this year, even when you don't see standing water. They aren't out early in the morning or late at night, but dinner hour is a feast. Parking at the trailhead was free and had open spots but was overfull when we returned. You can get to the trailhead with a standard vehicle as it is not a dirt road.

Katarina Takahashi
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BackpackingMuddySnow

Beautiful scenery. A steady and slow climb up the trail, and not too difficult to hike, even when backpacking. Buchanan Pass Trail is clear of snow for just over 5 miles until after the turn to Red Deer Lake, but has many muddy and/or flooded areas along the trail. On Buchanan Pass Trail after the turn there are still patches of snow and the Red Deer Lake Trail is almost completely under snow, making it difficult to navigate, including finding the turn-off point to get on the trail.

Jessica Villarreal
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BackpackingMuddyRockySnow

Great hike & views. Lots of snow for the end of June. Make sure you set up camp before the Indian Peaks Wilderness if you don’t have a permit.

Virgil Smootz
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Beautiful area. Lots of moose prints and if you're lucky you will see one. Not as difficult as all trails states. Also much busier than "lightly used". If your looking for solitude keep looking, if you're looking for a good hike stop here!

Brandy McDaniel
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We had a blast. I think it is more along the lines of moderate with the last half mile difficult. there are several down trees along the trail. there is a stack of rocks where you make your final right turn to head up to the lake. the sign is there but not very well marked. the lake is beautiful and cold. the fish weren't biteing for us but we saw others catching some. moose were spotted at the lake and on the trail.

Tim T
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Backpacking

Great hike, good views and the lake is awesome. We ended up hiking back down to a meadow to camp as options at the lake are limited.

Kristin B.
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Hiking
Kenzie Parker
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Hiking
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Melissa Householder
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Hiking
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marsha Pritchard
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Hiking
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Eli Ziegler
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Hiking
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John P.
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Hiking
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marsha Pritchard
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Hiking
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Matthew M.
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Hiking
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Matthew M.
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Hiking
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