Cottonwood Pass connects the town of Buena Vista in the east to the town of Almont in the west. Views from the summit show both sides of the Continental Divide — a scenic drive loaded with spectacular hiking trails. Just minutes from the summit is a Colorado favorite, Lost Lake Trail. 

Trail Stats and Map Located at the Bottom

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Lost Lake Trail is now open with new signage on Cottonwood Pass and a parking area off the road. It starts on a level unused dirt road and turns onto a mild uphill single-track switchbacking to Lost Lake.

On Alltrails, look up Lost Lake Trail #1532 for the latest information.

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Round trip, 3.3 miles, it’s a perfect trail for beginners and families to reach a captivating alpine lake. Keep in mind it is a high altitude, 11,000’+ hike.

If you have not acclimated to Colorado’s high altitudes, it is suggested to start at a lower elevation before attempting even easy trails above 10,000′. Read > High Altitude Hiking Effects and Advice. 

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As we went higher and closer to Lost Lake, we found large areas of rock shale loose below our boots, making an easy trail turn slightly more moderate. Something to consider with young children and your footwear!

Three popular brands of day hiking backpacks to consider: > Osprey (my personal favorite), > Deuter, and > Gregory backpacks.

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Lost Lake, sparkling in the afternoon sun, is charming. The colors in the water keep changing from green to Aqua. A rocky island sits in the middle of the lake. 

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Sounds of Pika fill the air upon our arrival. My hiking buddy brought her dogs, and they were soon swimming joyfully. Sitting just below the peaks of the Continental Divide, it’s beautiful.

Two hikers have brought their inflatable paddle boards and are ready to attempt the cold water. I own the paddle board they brought up, but I can’t imagine carrying it here!


Smartwool Hiking Socks – late for lots of hiking miles!

Garmin inReach Mini – Lightweight Satelite Communication

Hiking back on the trail are gorgeous views before reaching the forest — another added treat when above the tree line.

It is almost September, and fall colors in the tundra are beginning to turn. Fall is one of my favorite times to hike, especially at high altitudes.  > Fall Hikes off the Beaten Path.



Trail #1532

3.3 miles out and back

Rated: Easy/slightly moderate

No restrooms

Nearest Town: Buena Vista, CO

> Seasonal Closures on Cottonwood Pass (generally Nov-May)

> San Isabel National Forest

Leashed dogs ok.


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Can't wait to see you on the trail!

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