Jasper Lake

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.

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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.

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I saw some beautiful, huge Columbine flowers along the trail.

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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.

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Views of the surrounding peaks through the trees.

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The views continued to improve as the trail climbed higher up the valley.

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The higher I climbed, the more Indian Paintbrush I saw along the trail.

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At a little over 5 miles, I came to the turn off for Diamond Lake).  You can read about this hike here.

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Nearing Jasper Lake, I came to a small pond which provided for some good reflection pictures.

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Very near the lake, I came to a couple of good sized snowbanks still lingering from winter.

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After nearly 6 miles, I arrived at Jasper Lake set in a beautiful area surrounded by peaks and forest.

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The outlet of Jasper Lake.

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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.

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A stream crossing further down the trail.

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My route for the day:

Jasper Lake Route

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.”

 

Lost Lake – Indian Peaks Wilderness

Round-Trip Length:  4 miles
Start-End Elevation:  8,642’ – 9,786’
Elevation Change:  +1,144’
Skill Level:  Moderate
Trailhead Location:    From downtown Nederland, go south on Highway 72 for .5 miles to County Road 130 and make a right. You will 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. 4WD vehicles may veer left at this demarcation and continue another .5 miles to the trailhead. Others will have to park at one of the limited roadside spaces and walk the 4WD road to the Hessie Trailhead.

There are several nice hikes that start from the Hessie Traihead near Eldora.  I did a winter snowshoe hike up to Lost Lake a couple of years ago but we hadn’t been up in the summer for quite some time.  We headed out around 9:15am on a beautiful Sunday morning.  The one thing I was worried about as we headed out was the parking at the trailhead.  Any Colorado trailhead is going to be busy on a Sunday in August and I knew that there was very limited parking at the Hessie Trailhead.  As we turned off of Highway 72 onto 130 we soon saw a sign that told us the Hessie Trailhead parking was full and directed us to turn into a shuttle parking lot.

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I didn’t know that they now offered shuttle parking for this trailhead.  We parked in the Nederland Middle/High School parking lot and waited about 15-20 minutes for the shuttle to arrive to take us to the trailhead.  The shuttle dropped us off at the end of the 2WD road where we started our hike (0.5 miles from the actual Hessie Trailhead).

A short ways down the trail we came to a small pond with great reflections.  I always need to stop for reflection pictures!

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After a 0.5 mile hike up the trail, we came to the old Hessie townsite.

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Hessie became a town because it was halfway between Lost Lake and Eldora and made a good stopping point for gold miners.  Hessie was named for the wife of the town’s founder. Hessie also served as the postmistress for the town. In the last 1890s, the town of Hessie was large enough to have a post office, school, sawmill and one or two stores.  By 1914 only a few stalwarts still called Hessie home as the high-grade gold vanished.

A short distance from the townsite is the start of the official trail.

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There were an abundance of wildflowers along the trail.

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We were soon hiking along the South Fork of Middle Boulder Creek.

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After 1.35 miles you come to the King Lake – Devil’s Thumb bypass.  The Lost Lake trail forks to the left and continues on up through the trees.

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We continued to the left over the creek.  A couple of shots of the creek at the crossing.

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Just under 0.25 miles further up the trail from the trail split, we came to a beautiful waterfall dropping through a narrow chute.  The mist off of the waterfall felt very refreshing!

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There were some beautiful columbine in the area.  Lisa stopping to get some close up shots of the flowers.

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A short distance further up the trail (1.6 miles from our start), we came to the Lost Lake trail split.

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We headed to the left and continued on up towards the lake.  Another bridge crossing along the trail.

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A beautiful purple flower near the bridge crossing.

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We soon arrived at the western edge of Lost Lake.  We hiked around the northern shore of the lake, first at a higher level.

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A view through the trees of the Continental Divide to the west.

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We then dropped down closer to the shore.  Some beautiful Indian Paintbrush along the trail.

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We found a nice spot on a rock by the lake’s shore to have our lunch and take in the views.

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Of course I can never get enough of the reflection pictures.

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A couple of shots of both Lisa and I taking in the views at the lake.

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There were some ducks out on the lake also enjoying the nice day.

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After spending a little over an hour at the lake, we decided to head back down.

A few more shots of the South Fork of Middle Boulder Creek as we headed down.

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A view looking down the valley to the east.

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More wildflowers along the trail.

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We also came across a snake crossing the trail. Not sure what kind it is.

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One last reflection picture in a puddle along the 4WD section of the trail near the start.

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An old cabin near the start of our hike as we arrived back at the shuttle pickup.

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We caught the shuttle back to our car and took a quick drive up to check out Mud Lake Open Space just north of Nederland before stopping at the Sundance Café just outside of Nederland where we had a nice early dinner overlooking the Continental Divide before heading home!

 

 

 

 

Lost Lake (and beyond)

Round-Trip Length7 miles

Start-End Elevation:  8,642” – 9,886 “

Elevation Change:  +1,244’

Skill Level:  Moderate

Trailhead Location:    From Nederland’s traffic circle, take Highway 72 north through the town of Nederland 0.6 miles from the traffic circle, turn right on County Road 130 (look for the signs that say Eldora Mountain Resort). Pass the ski resort turnoff and drive through the town of Eldora to the sign that says “End of Winter Maintenance” and park here.

Lost Lake is a great snowshoeing trip in the Indian Peaks Wilderness area near Nederland, Colorado.  I did this trip in February 2011 when there was an abundance of snow.  It was a cold, but sunny day and I didn’t run into anyone else on the trail.  In the winter, the trail actually starts just outside of the town of Eldora and on a dirt road which is closed in the winter.  After snowshoeing up the road for 1.25 miles, you come to the Hessie townsite and the Hessie Trailhead (this is the start of the summer hiking trail).

Hessie Townsite Sign

Hessie became a town because it was halfway between Lost Lake and Eldora and made a good stopping point for gold miners.  Hessie was named for the wife of the town’s founder. Hessie also served as the postmistress for the town. In the late 1890s, the town of Hessie was large enough to have a post office, school, sawmill and one or two stores.  By 1914 only a few stalwarts still called Hessie home as the high-grade gold vanished.

Soon after reaching the Hessie townsite, you cross a bridge.

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Looking to the south, I could see some runs of the Eldora Ski Area.

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There was plenty of snow as I continued to hike up the trail.

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After 2.3 miles, the Lost Lake trail forks to the left and continues on up through the trees.

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I continued on up to the lake, arriving about 12:30pm.  A look across the frozen lake.

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Lost Lake

I was going to stop and eat lunch at the lake but it was too windy and cold so I just walked around and across the lake a bit and decided to head back into the trees where there was less wind.

I headed back down the .25 miles to the trail split and decided to continue on up into the valley in the direction of King Lake.  I continued up through an open meadow with some great views.

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The trail follows the South Fork of Middle Boulder Creek.  I had a glimpse of it here.

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After continuing on up the trail for another mile or so, I lost the trail so decided to take in the view before turning around and heading back.

Lost Lake View

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I decided to have a little fun with my shadow and take a picture!

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After having a little lunch, I turned around about 2:00pm and retraced by tracks back down the valley.

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I came across a cabin in the woods on the way back.

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Lost Lake-Cabin

A self-portrait of myself with the view of the Continental Divide in the background.

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Another great snowshoeing trip!