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Forest Lakes Trail

Basics
Location:
20 miles west of Boulder
Setting:
Mountainous
Length:
8 mile roundtrip
Difficulty:
Intermediate
Time:
4 to 5 hours
Trailhead Elevation:
9200 feet
Elevation Change:
-1800 feet
Season:
June - October

Description

From its lower end at the South Boulder Creek Trail #900, the Forest Lakes Trail cuts across the front of a steep ridge on an abandoned road for a half mile to meet up with Arapaho Creek. The creek crossings do not have bridges, and can be difficult to cross in the early summer. The trail follows the creek north/northwest on a gentle grade for a mile. At 1.5 miles from the South Boulder Creek Trail, the road ends in a meadow. The Arapaho Lakes Trail #818 turns to the left (west) and crosses the creek. Continuing north, the Forest Lakes Trail is very difficult to find for the next half mile to the lowest of the Forest Lakes. The last half mile from the lakes to the Forest Lakes TH is a well used trail.

Length: East Portal Trailhead (TH) to: Forest Lakes Trail - 1.2; Heart Lake - 4.2 miles; Rogers Pass - 4.6 miles; Crater Lake - 3 miles; Arapaho Lakes - 3 ½ miles; Forest Lakes - 4 miles. Forest Lakes TH to: Forest Lakes - 1/4 mile; Arapaho Lakes - 2 miles. DISTANCES ARE ONE-WAY.

Details

Location:
20 miles west of Boulder
Setting:
Mountainous
Length:
8 mile roundtrip
Difficulty:
Intermediate
Time:
4 to 5 hours
Trailhead Elevation:
9200
Elevation Change:
-1800
Season:
June - October
Useful Map(s):
USGS Maps: East Portal and Empire quads
Camping Info
Camping permitted
Additional Details:
The East Portal Quad is very helpful in following these trails - all but Rogers Pass Lake are contained on it. Trail intersections are unmarked and often unnoticed. This trail system is in dense subalpine forest, along creeks which lead to dozens of sparkling green lakes. Most of the lakes lie at or above treeline in delicate alpine tundra ecosystems - please be careful where you walk and camp.

Map + Directions

Basic Directions

Travelling south from Nederland, west of Boulder, on CO 119, go west out of Rollinsville on gravel County Road 16 (a.k.a. Moffat Road or Rollins Pass Road).

Drive 7 miles to the end of County Road 16 (Road 16 ends at a T-junction).

Go left 1 mile to park at the East Portal TH or, if you have a high-clearance vehicle, go right and drive an additional 11 miles on a native surface road, to park at the Forest Lakes TH.


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