There is nothing like a hike to an alpine lake and Kroenke Lake Trail is one to add to your bucket list!

Beautiful from start to finish, we hiked through lush forests, heading to incredible views of Colorado’s Collegiate Peaks, did a few water crossings and nestled in the basin just below tree line, we foundĀ Kroenke Lake.

 

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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).

 

Super shady to start, with North Cottonwood Creek rushing along side us was just the beginning of what is now one of my favorite trails.

 

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You’ll reach this signpost (above) about 2 miles in. Many other hikers are heading to Horn Fork Basin to do Mt. Columbia or Mt. Harvard 14ers. But we are heading to Kroenke Lake and turned left, leaving many hikers behind.

 

 

When coming out of the pines and seeing the peaks my anticipation got my adrenaline soaring. So peaceful, uncomplicated and quiet the mountains are.


 

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We encountered several water crossings, some easy, others a bit trickier but doable. It’s the middle of June and the creek is high and moving fast. Trekking poles came in handy.

 

 

Back into the forest again and out again. I’ve been in many different forests in Colorado and can honestly say the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness is beautiful.


 

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The trail is leveling off with mounds of snow appearing which only meant we are getting close.

The views are astounding already.

 

 

 

 

It’s super windy, chilly and glorious at the lake’s edge.

Hiking up we saw a lot of hikers carrying fishing poles and found that the lake is so clear you could see fish swimming in it. The chances of getting a cutthroat trout are pretty good up here said a few others. Colorado Fishing License

 

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NOTE: Another 1.5 mile climb will take you to the top of Browns Pass for stellar views of surrounding 13ers and 14ers.

Heading back down, the wind had subsided, the sun is warm on our faces and we hiked back feeling refreshed and eager for the next hike.

MY BEST- LOVED HIKES NEAR Buena Vista

Harvard Lakes Trail – Beneath Mt. Columbia

Ptarmigan Lake Trail – A favorite!

Denny Creek Trail – Idyllic Colorado

Browns Creek Falls Hike – Exhilarating

Brown Lake Trail – Adventurous day hIke

 

 

Views heading back down almost more impressive than going up!

Kroenke Lake Trail is really a steady incline with minimal strenuous stretches. Lots of areas to rest if needed. Just started hiking? This is a great start for high alpine hikes, just know it is at high altitude and high altitude sickness is real.

 

 

 

 

Looking down from the trail, hearing the sounds of nature, it’s hard to leave.

LOCATED: From the town of Buena Vista, turn west on County Rd 350 off of Hwy 24.Go to County Rd 361, turn right and take Forest Rd 365 to the trailhead. The road become rocky and a higher clearance vehicle is suggested. (We did see small cars up there and campers). Parking at trailhead, restroom 3 miles before trailhead on Forest Rd 365.

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).