Trail Length: 11.49 miles (roundtrip)
Trailhead Elevation: 9.362’
High Point: 11,952′
Roosevelt Lakes Elevation: 11,773’
Elevation Gain: +2,769’
Difficulty: Moderate – Difficult
Trailhead Location: From C-470 in Denver, take Highway 285 west about 25 miles to a stoplight before you get to Bailey. Turn right on Country Road 43A. (This is the turnoff for the library and there is a gas station here.) Take the road about 6.6 miles to Country Road 43. Veer left. CR43 will become a dirt road, then pass a campground, stay on the road until it dead ends at the parking lot/trailhead.
I took this hike back in August. A great hike fairly close to home that gets you above tree line with some great views and two beautiful lakes – what more could you ask for!
I headed out on Sunday morning to the Tanglewood Trail just outside of Bailey to begin my hike. A short distance up the trail, I came to a sign indicating the direction to go for both the Tanglewood Trail and Rosalie Peak Trail.
Another 20 minutes up the trail I soon entered the Mt. Evans Wilderness. Here is where the trail split between the Tanglewood Trail and Rosalie Peak Trail. Rosalie Peak is a 13,000 peak which I have yet to summit. I’ll have to save that for another day!
The trail continued up through a thick forest along Tanglewood Creek.
For the most part, the trail traveled through thick forest, but there were a few meadows with some wildflowers in bloom.
After switch backing up the steep trail for nearly 3.5 miles, I finally reached tree line and the tundra. I was beginning to think I would never reach tree line! A look back down the valley I had just climbed out of.
A view over to 13,000’ Rosalie Peak.
I continued across the tundra up towards the saddle.
I eventually reached the saddle. Someone had marked the saddle with a stick. I guess I’m officially to the top!
A view to the northwest from the saddle.
In a little less than a mile and a 200’ elevation drop from the saddle, I came to Roosevelt Lakes.
Both lakes are quite small and shallow but are certainly in a beautiful setting.
I was able to capture a reflection shot in one of the lakes.
After taking a break at the lakes, I started my 200’ hike back up to the top of the saddle. Looking back, I could see the highway cutting across Mt. Evans. The Mt. Evans Scenic Byway is the highest paved road in North America, reaching a height of 14,130’.
A shot of some beautiful yellow wildflowers and as I looked back down the valley.
I made my way back down the switch backs and into the lower valley and the trailhead. My legs could definitely feel the effects of nearly 12 miles of hiking with nearly 3,000’ of elevation gain and descent!
An overview of my route for the day.