Hiking to Hartenstein Lake is for Colorado outdoor enthusiasts! In the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness, you will find your trail options are so many. Put this one on the list!

 

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I’m with my gals again who always show me up even though they are reaching 70 yrs! Driving up Cottonwood Pass from the town of Buena Vista we found Denny Creek Trailhead and our day began.

STARTING OFF ON DENNY CREEK TRAIL

Climbing straight uphill as soon as we hit the trail was a great way to acclimate to what lies ahead. we hiked through pines and aspens up switchbacks until reaching a more gentle path.

 

 

Coming upon the turn off for Mt. Yale (14er) at 1.3 miles, we hiked past and on to the forest, over several creek crossings until emerging out of the trees and into incredible views.

 

 

SIGNPOST TO HARTENSTEIN LAKE

Turning here we had only a mile more to reach Hartenstein Lake. This last mile was packed full of views all around and sprinkled of wildflowers.

I hiked this trail in May and found deep snow right here at the signpost. Was a beautiful hike nonetheless and the experience was completely different: Denny Creek Trail

 


 

 

The terrain on the way to Hartenstein Lake told stories of harsh winters with fallen trees and a windswept landscape.

 

 

ASTOUNDING VIEWS IN EVERY DIRECTION

Looking down the trail, the views of Mt. Yale (14,196 ft) to the east and Mt. Princeton (14,197 ft) to the south made up for the lung-busting hike.

 

 

 

 

As we get closer the uphill becomes downhill and an easy last trek to the lake.

 

 

REACHING HARTENSTEIN LAKE

A bit marshy in spots but so blue and so quiet, it’s beautiful. The lake sits at 11,480 ft. in elevation

 

 

 

It didn’t take long for the dogs to jump in the lake, With only 3 other hikers about, we had this little paradise to ourselves.

 

 

BLUE SKIES YET HEAR THUNDER!

Numerous debris from an old avalanche were scattered within and around the lake.

Wasn’t long and we hear thunder and see clouds building slightly behind us. Happens so fast, changing weather!

 

A trail you want to be prepared for with appropriate hiking gear. Please check out  “What’s in Your Day Pack” for a list of items to consider anytime hiking in Colorado.

 

 

Looking down the trail, blue skies and off we go, back to the bottom before the rain comes.

THIS HIKE OFFERED THE ULTIMATE MOUNTAIN EXPERIENCE

LOCATED: 12 miles up Cottonwood Pass (CR 306) heading west from the stoplight at Main Street in the town of Buena Vista. You can’t miss the parking lot on the right.

For information and maps of the area contact or visit the Salida Ranger District.

TIDBITS 

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

YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY

Booth Lake Trail– Vail, CO

Mohawk Lakes Trail – Breckenridge, CO

Kroenke Lake Trail – Buena Vista, CO

Ptarmigan Lake Trail– Cottonwood Pass, CO

Native Lake Trail – Leadville, CO

Blue Lakes Trail – Ridgway, CO


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