Crater Lakes Trail

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Trail Distance: 3.5 miles
Time Estimate: 2 hr 20 min+
Elevation Gain: 1950 feet
Leash Rule: On Leash
Difficulty: Hard
Parking: Free
Route Type: Out-and-back
Restroom: Yes
Description

If hiking among rocky peaks, alpine lakes, and fragrant pine forests is your pup’s idea of a good time, then pack ‘em up and head over to Crater Lakes Trail! Located smack dab in the middle of Colorado’s James Peak Wilderness, this trail is what adventures are made of.

The hike begins at the East Portal Trailhead. Several trails stem from this trailhead, so be sure to take the South Boulder Creek Trail. After about two miles of hiking through aspen groves and pine forests, you will come to the Crater Lakes Trail junction. Now the climb begins! Your doggo will get a pawsome leg workout as they make their way up some switchbacks. It won’t be long until you and your furry hiking companion arrive at the lower lakes. The trail actually runs through the patch of land that separates the two lakes. The one to the south has steep rock walls in places and is surrounded thick forest, while the northern lake is more open. Social trails circle both lakes, so your pooch can see them up close. There are even some pawsome waterfront spots for backpacking.

These lower lakes are a great place to end your hike. But if your pup is up for even more adventure, continue on to the upper lake. There isn’t a developed trail to follow. Instead, scramble up the steep slope that sits at the end of the lower lakes. When you reach the top, follow a spur trail through some shrubs, hop down some boulders, and behold, the upper lake!

Be aware that you may encounter some snow in the lakes’ basin, even in June and July. Your doggo will love it, but your feet won’t, unless you have proper footwear. Also, carry plenty of water for both you and your pooch, as well as clean up bags. Primitive restrooms are available at East Portal Trailhead. 

A hike on the Crater Lakes Trail will leave your doggo begging for more adventure in this beautiful country!

Trail Features
Forest, Mountains, Steep Inclines, Loose Terrain, Lake
Scenic
Cautions & Considerations
This pawsome trail is open from July to October. Even in the summer you may encounter snow, so plan accordingly.
Address
Gilpin County Rd 16
Rollinsville, CO 80474
Hours
Mon Open 24 Hours
Tue Open 24 Hours
Wed Open 24 Hours
Thu Open 24 Hours
Fri Open 24 Hours
Sat Open 24 Hours
Sun Open 24 Hours
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Address
Gilpin County Rd 16
Rollinsville, CO 80474
Hours
Mon Open 24 Hours
Tue Open 24 Hours
Wed Open 24 Hours
Thu Open 24 Hours
Fri Open 24 Hours
Sat Open 24 Hours
Sun Open 24 Hours