Columbine Lake Trail TR 11.1by Mary Norton
DifficultyModerate. Elevation Gain 980 Ft.
Trail LengthApproximately 5 miles round trip
In the Arapaho National Forest you will surely enjoy Columbine Lake Trail which is a scenic hike beginning from the Junco Lake Parking Lot and Trailhead.
The Columbine Lake Trail takes you through a beautiful area of the Indian Peaks Wilderness through varying terrain. The trail is well-maintained and lightly-traveled and takes you on a gradual uphill climb to the lake. Some areas are flat and easy while other parts of the trail require you to climb over hills and rocks. At 1.8 miles on the Caribou Pass Trail, take the right fork towards Columbine Lake.
There is beautiful scenery from beginning to end. You will begin in pine forest, then move into open marshy meadow with brilliant wildflowers, past waterfalls and on to Columbine Lake at the end of the trail. At the top you will be pleasantly surprised by the beauty of the water, the water falls, and the Rocky Mountains that form the continental divide around you. At the foot of Mt. Neva, the lake is clear, shallow and contains trout. Tent camping is allowed in the area with a permit. Stay a while and enjoy the peace and quiet of the area.
Restrooms available along the road before you arrive at the trailhead.
Picnic spot recommendations:
Pack yourself a picnic to enjoy at Columbine Lake.
DirectionsClick Map Below or see instructions below: Take I-70 west approximately 28 miles to US 40 (Exit 232 to Empire and Winter Park). Take US 40 through Winter Park and past Fraser about 3 miles. Exit onto CR 83 for .2 miles then go left onto CR 84 (Meadow Creek Rd). Follow Meadow Creek Rd (CR 84) for 10 miles to Meadow Creek Reservoir. Follow the road all the way around the reservoir to the northeast side to the Junco Lake trailhead. There is a large parking lot at the Junco Lake trailhead. Begin the hike here first by checking in at the wilderness forest service registration box and verifying your hike route.
AttractionsWinter Park offers many good places to stop for a snack or a meal. Stop for an Italian Soda along Hwy 40 in Winter Park or try something at one of the many little cafés along the way.
About Mary Norton, Contributor of this Hike
Mary grew up hiking in Colorado, so she knows all the best places to go! With a family of 6 children and no lack of enthusiasm for the outdoors, Mary is well qualified to give you tips and hike spots that will challenge you as well as delight your whole family. Whether you have kids, dogs, or are just looking to enjoy nature by yourself, Mary will show you where to go to find what you are looking for.Check out my Google+ page