Heavily used Diamond Lake Trail is one of several looping and criss-crossing trails in this area of the Indian Peaks Wilderness. There are extensions and junctions that take you to other lakes, rugged passes and mountain summits if the hike to Diamond Lake isn't enough of an adventure for you and the doggo. Designated camping sites make it easy to make it an overnight and extend your explorations with a $5.00 permit. Day hikes require a permit, but at no cost.
The trail is accessed via the Arapaho Pass Trail off CR 130, at the Fourth of July Trailhead. A bridge crossing at the North Fork of Middle Boulder Creek followed by a mile uphill climb leads you to a furtastic waterfall and the trailhead. A sign at a fork indicates the Diamond Lake Trail. After a walk of about 2 miles, the trail climbs to just above the treeline where it crosses a ridge, then drops back down. Stone cairns mark the re-entry into the trees. This hike ends at the Devil's Thumb Trail and Diamond Lake itself, which is a magnificent place surrounded by forest and meadows covered in wildflowers, like larkspur, lupine and paint brush. A rest here, perhaps lunch is a pleasant pastime with Fido before heading back to the trailhead, or moving on to another trail.
Hiking the Diamond Lake is best April through October, although you will still find snow pack and ice into June and July because the trail lies on the northeast side of the ridge. It's a good idea to wear spikes, especially for the last push up to the lake. This is a Leave No Trace area, so be prepared to dispose of any waste according to these rules. Doggy waste should be bagged and carried out, not left by the side of the trail. Along with bags, be sure to bring water to share with you.
While this may not be a long or particularly challenging hike for you and the pup, it's certainly an enjoyable one with its spectacular views of mountains and lakes. If you insist on solitude and quiet, this heavily-trafficked path may not be for you, but if you arrive early, you'll miss most of the other hikers. It's a woofderful hike!