Round-Trip Length: 13.26 miles (out-and-back)
Start Elevation: 8,796’
High Point: 10,867’
Elevation Gain: 2,071’ (net gain 2,142’)
Skill Level: Moderate
Trailhead Location Jasper Lake is accessed from Hessie Trailhead in the Indian Peaks Wilderness near Nederland, CO. From downtown Nederland, head south on Highway 72 for .5 miles to County Road 130 and turn right. You’ll see a sign for Eldora Ski Resort at this junction. Continue on Highway 130 through the town of Eldora, just past which it becomes a dirt road (4 miles). 2WD drive conditions end 4.8 miles from the Highway 72 turnoff.
It was time to get out for another high alpine lake hike. I set my sights on Jasper Lake in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. The trail guide I looked at said it was 8.8 miles roundtrip for this hike. However, the guide I was referring to quoted mileage from the four-wheel drive parking area at the actual trailhead. Most people park at the two-wheel drive parking so this adds another 1 mile round trip to the hike. Because parking is so limited for the Hessie Trailhead, even though I arrived at the two-wheel drive parking area by 8:15am, it was not early enough on a Sunday morning to secure a parking spot. I had to park about 0.8 miles down the road from the two-wheel drive parking area and start my hike from there. This added an additional 1.6 miles to the hike. Add my exploration around the lake once I got there, and the 8.8 mile turned into a 13.26 mile hike! But, it was a very enjoyable hike.
I started from the car about 8:30am. After a little over 2 miles, I came to the turnoff for Jasper Lake.
After 2.7 miles I came to the Indian Peaks Wilderness boundary in an open meadow with beautiful views of the peaks to the west.
I saw some beautiful, huge Columbine flowers along the trail.
The trail climbed through the woods to the Devil’s Thumb/Woodland Lake trail split at 3.5 miles. The actual trail sign did not mention Jasper Lake but someone wrote Jasper on the sign for those that were unsure which way to go.
Views of the surrounding peaks through the trees.
The views continued to improve as the trail climbed higher up the valley.
The higher I climbed, the more Indian Paintbrush I saw along the trail.
Nearing Jasper Lake, I came to a small pond which provided for some good reflection pictures.
Very near the lake, I came to a couple of good sized snowbanks still lingering from winter.
After nearly 6 miles, I arrived at Jasper Lake set in a beautiful area surrounded by peaks and forest.
The outlet of Jasper Lake.
I did a little exploring around the lake and sat for a while to take in the views while having lunch. I could have stayed longer, but after spending nearly an hour at the lake, I decided to head back down the trail.
More flowers along the trail.
A stream crossing further down the trail.
My route for the day:
I continued back to the car and headed home. Another beautiful day in the High Country. In the words of John Muir: “Oh, these vast, calm, measureless mountain days, inciting at once to work and rest! Days in whose light everything seems equally divine, opening a thousand windows to show us God. Nevermore, however weary, should one faint by the way who gains the blessings of one mountain day; whatever his fate, long life, short life, stormy or calm, he is rich forever.”