Alpine Lake hikes are one of the most rewarding day adventures Colorado has to offer. Getting above treeline after hiking through rugged, sometimes steep terrain into rolling tundra below snowcapped peaks to an alpine lake is challenging yet exhilarating.

The trails listed are just such hikes to some of Colorado’s most incredible alpine lakes.

 

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Note: Many of the links are affiliate links which means I receive a very small commission (at no added cost to you).

 

Hope Lake Trail – near Telluride, CO

A HIKE THAT WILL TAKE YOUR BREATH AWAY!

Hope Lake Trail is one of the most sought-after trails near Telluride, CO and we had the pleasure of finding out why. Loved it! High peaks hovering above us as we hike through green lush forests, crossing creeks, and hiking up switchbacks to find a beautiful alpine lake high above the treeline in a basin lined with 13ers. READ MORE…

5.3 mile out and back

Rated: moderate 

Start Elevation: 10,750 ft.

Lake Elevation: 11,880 ft.

Open to hiking, horseback

Uncompahgre National Forest

Closest town: Telluride, CO

No restroom

Busy in summer, popular

Known for wildflowers

Dispersed camping alongside FR #627

 

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Ptarmigan Lake Trail – Cottonwood Pass, CO

YOU WILL HIKE THIS ONE AGAIN AND AGAIN!

Ptarmigan Lake Trail is a Colorado favorite trail for a fantastic half-day or full-day hike. Ascend a moderate grade through a spectacular forest. Pass a sweet lake and dreamy dispersed campsites along the trail before breaking out at the tree line.  Here, views of the highest peaks surround you as you hike across an expansive meadow and upward to Ptarmigan Lake. READ MORE…

Rated: moderate

6.8 miles out and back

Trail #1444

Elevation start: 10,680 ft.

Elevation end: 12,300 ft.

Restroom at trailhead

Dog friendly

Chaffee County

San Isabel National Forest

Nearest town: Buena Vista

 


 

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Crater Lakes Trail – Rollinsville, CO

MOUNTAIN AMAZING ALL THE WAY! 

Crater Lakes is in the heart of the James Peaks Wilderness and the perfect day hike or backpacking weekend. Nestled just below the Continental Divide, the setting is unbeatable. READ MORE…

6.5 miles out and back

Rated: moderate

Restrooms at Trailhead

The trail starts on South Boulder Creek Trail

No bikes

Open to dogs on leash & horses

James Peak Wilderness

Boulder Ranger District

Roosevelt NationalForest

Having the appropriate gear when hiking on any trail in Colorado is essential! CLICK HERE> for practical gear that we love at Crazy About Colorado and have in our backpacks on every hike.

 

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Herman Gulch Trail – Bakerville, CO

BEST WILDFLOWER HIKE OF THE SUMMER!

Herman Gulch Trail, a heart-pumping summer hike through fields of wildflowers, and landing at a crystal clear alpine lake surrounded by the Continental Divide Peaks. One of the most sought-after hikes in the front range of Colorado, for good reasons. I’ve often hiked here in the offseason but decided to try a summer day which turned out to be spectacular. READ MORE…

6.5 miles out and back

Elevation gain: 1,755ft.

Herman Lake sits at 11,987 ft. 

Rated: moderate

2 portable potties at the Trailhead 

Open to leashed dogs, horses, bikes

Arapahoe National Forest – for camping information

Clear Creek Ranger District – for trail conditions

Nearest Town: Georgetown

Late fall is a great time to hike in Colorado. The wildflowers and fall colors are gone but so are the crowds. Herman Gulch in Late Fall

 

 

 

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American Lake Trail – Aspen, CO

ABSOLUTELY STUNNING TOP TO BOTTOM AND A LUNG BUSTER! 

American Lake Trail has got it all. Just minutes from Aspen CO, this hike is what Aspen is all about. Beautiful aspen groves line the trail soon leading into a dense forest of pines and spruces, arriving at an alpine lake with sweeping high peaks views. READ MORE…

6.4 miles out and back

Rated: Strenuous

Elevation gain: approx: 2000′

Highest elevation: 11,390′

No restrooms

Dogs ok on leash

Nearest Town: Aspen, CO

Known for Wildflowers in Summer!

Maroon Bells/Snowmass Wilderness

After the hike check out Ashcroft Ghost Town. A short hike through Colorado history just minutes from American Lake Trailhead. 

 

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Silver Dollar Lake Trail  – Guanella Pass, CO

I’ll BE HONEST, THIS TRAIL IS CROWDED, BUT IT’S GORGEOUS!

Silver Dollar Lake Trail on stunning Guanella Pass is a true Colorado experience! Beautiful dense pine forest to high above timberline reaching spectacular views while passing one alpine lake, being greeted by a 2nd alpine lake, and reaching the 3rd lake at 12,178 in elevation. READ MORE…

Trail #79

3.3 miles out and back to Silver Dollar Lake

4.3 miles out and back to Murray Lake

Rated: moderate

Silver Dollar – 11,950′ elevation

Murray Lake – 12,178′ elevation

Camping: Guanella Pass Campground

Open to leashed dogs, horses

Nearest town: Georgetown, CO

Clear Creek Ranger District

 


 

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Blue Lakes Trail – Ridgway, CO

IF YOU ONLY DO ONE HIKE, DO THIS ONE!

There is nothing like a hike in the rugged beauty of the San Juan Mountains in Colorado. Hiking Blue Lakes Trail was beyond our expectations! Looking for a trail that won’t disappoint? This is it! Rated hard, which sounds intimidating, but so worth it. It was a bit of a scramble to reach the Upper Blue Lakes but it’s doable so don’t let the rating scare you! It’s one of the most breathtaking hikes we’ve hiked.  READ MORE …

TIDBITS

Trail # 201

Rated: Strenuous

6.3 miles (first lake) – 11 miles out and back 

Start elevation: At trailhead, 9350 ft.

Elevation: Upper Lake, 11,720 ft.

Elevation: Blue Lakes Pass: roughly 13,000 ft.

Closest Towns: Ridgway, Ouray, CO

Mt. Sneffels Wilderness

Uncompahgre National Forest

 

 

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McCullough Gulch Trail – Hoosier Pass, CO

HIKE THIS AND YOU WILL BE INSPIRED TO DO MORE TRAILS!

McCullough Gulch Hike, a popular sought-after trail in Breckenridge CO, you don’t want to miss! A bit on the strenuous side of moderate but so worth the effort. There is nothing lacking on this trek, it’s an alpine playground. READ MORE …

TIDBITS

2.7 miles out and back from trailhead + a half mile trek to the Trailhead making it 3.7 miles.

Rated: moderate, consider it’s an uphill trek with lots of rocks and steep areas at high altitude.

Start Elevation: 11,100 ft. Elevation gain: 1,578 ft.

2 portable restrooms at the overflow parking lot for Quandary Peak

Highly popular trail, can become very crowded, limited close parking.

Dog friendly

Popular for snowshoeing: Contact Dillon Park Ranger District for Trail conditions. 

Nearest town: Breckenridge, CO

White River National Forest

Dispersed Camping permitted

NOTE: The road to the trailhead may be gated for weather issues in winter.

 

 

 

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Kroenke Lake Trail – Buena Vista, CO

EVERY HIKE IN THE COLLEGIATE PEAKS IS SENSATIONAL!

Kroenke Lake Trail is one to add to your bucket list! Beautiful from beginning to end, you’ll hike through lush forests, leading to incredible views of Colorado’s Collegiate Peaks, do a few water crossings, and nestled in the basin just below treeline, you’ll find Kroenke Lake. READ MORE …

TIDBITS

8.6 miles out and back

Rated: moderate

Start elevation: 9,860 ft

Lake elevation: 11,500 ft

Open to: hiking, dogs on leash, horses

Collegiate Peak Wilderness

San Isabel National Forest

Nearest town: Buena Vista

Salida Ranger District


Note: Many of the links are affiliate links which means I receive a very small commission (at no added cost to you).

 

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Mohawk Lakes Trail – Breckenridge, CO

THIS IS THE ONE NOT TO MISS, IS EVERYTHING COLORADO!

Mohawk Lakes Trail is one of Colorado’s best day hikes. Starting at 10,390′ elevation and reaching 12,000′ this hike has it all. Alpine lakes, old cabins, creek crossings, summer wildflowers, a stupendous waterfall, and unimaginable views. READ MORE …

TIDBITS

6 miles out and back – to lower lake

6.7 miles out and back – to upper lake

Rated: moderate/strenuous

No restrooms at trailhead

Crazy crowded in summer months – come early!

Nearest Town: Breckenridge, CO

Open to: hiking, snowshoeing, dogs on leash, horses and mountain bikes

White River National Forest

Dillon Ranger District – dispersed camping information

 

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Hartenstein Lake Trail – Buena Vista, CO

YOU CAN’T GO WRONG IN THE COLLEGIATE PEAK WILDERNESS!

Hiking to Hartenstein Lake is for Colorado outdoor enthusiasts! In the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness, you will find your trail options are so many. Start on Denny Creek Trail and find Hartenstein Lake Trailhead just before reaching the top of Browns PassREAD MORE…

Rated: moderate/challenging in spots

6 miles out and back

Start elevation: 9,880 ft.

End elevation:11,480 ft

Parking at trailhead

Restroom at trailhead

Collegiate Peaks Wilderness Area

San Isabel National Forest

Nearest town: Buena Vista

 


 

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Native Lake Trail – Leadville, CO

LOVED, LOVED IT & NO CROWDS TOO!

Native Lake Trail is a bucket list hike in Colorado. One of my favorite hikes this summer. You’ll find yourself hiking uphill through dense pines and spruces, crossing creeks, hiking across alpine tundra above treeline then down again with towering views of Mt. Massive and the Continental Divide.  READ MORE…

8.2 miles out and back

Rated: moderate

Elevation start: 10,780 ft. Across the tundra 11,879 ft. at the lake 11,293 ft,

Open to leashed dogs

No restrooms

Mt. Massive Wilderness

San Isabel National Forest

Nearest town: Leadville, CO

So much variety in terrain and scenery. One of those pleasant hikes you can’t go wrong choosing.

 

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Booth Lake Trail – Vail, CO

ONE OF THE MOST SPECTACULAR HIKES I’VE HIKED!

Booth Lake Trail was strenuous, exhilarating, and left me speechless when reaching the treeline. Beautiful from beginning to end with the added bonus of popular 60′ Booth Falls!  READ MORE…

10 mile out and back

Rated: difficult

Trail # 2011

Elevation gain: 3,053 feet

Open to hiking, horseback, dogs on leash

Not open to mountain bikes

Popular for trout fishing in late summer – Colorado Fishing License

Parking: limited – another option: East Vail Free Shuttle

White River National Forest

Eagle – Holy Cross Ranger District – Camping Information 

Eagles Nest Wilderness

HOPE ONE OR ALL OF THESE TRAILS LEAVES YOU LOVING HIKING AND WANTING MORE! ANY QUESTIONS PLEASE DROP ME A COMMENT BELOW. LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU. HAPPY TRAILS…

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Note: Many of the links are affiliate links which means I receive a very small commission (at no added cost to you).