James Peak Lake Trail

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Trail Distance: 3.1 miles
Time Estimate: 1 hr 40 min+
Elevation Gain: 807 feet
Leash Rule: On Leash
Difficulty: Moderate
Parking: Free
Route Type: Loop
Restroom: No
Description
The James Peak Lake Trail is one of the most scenic and hard to get to trails in the Lincoln National Park, although once you get there, the gorgeous views of the forests and prairies that paint the landscape will make it worth it for you and Fido. The trail itself is a rural and rocky path that stays about 3 feet wide throughout the entire length, and eventually loops around James Peak Lake.


The beginning of the trail starts off a small parking lot off the National Forest System Road 353, also known as Kingston Peak Road. The parking area has no amenities, but offers a great view of the area as it sits on top of a ridge that looks down on the area. The entrance of the trail can be found on the west side of the parking area, where it begins to descend down the ridge. You and Fido will need to bring your own water and clean-up bags, and remember to keep your pup on a handheld leash at all times. That first descent is a steep decline down the ridge, then thr trail enters into the forest that covers the floor of the valley.

While the northern half of the trail features spots for shade, the southern portion leads back up towards the ridge, with loose terrain, rocks, and a desert area. Patches of grassland are scattered along the ridge, offering views of wildflowers during the summer.

After two miles, the trail meets James Peak Lake, where it begins to loop around the lake and offers access to sandy beaches along the shore. The lake doesn't offer many fishing opportunities, but offers amazing photography options from the base of the valley. The loop trail eventually comes back around to the meeting point of the lake after a mile, where walkers can head back to the parking area.

The rugged and untouched views of the Lincoln National Forest can't be matched, and the unique sights of James Peak Lake and its trail will provide you and Fido a tranquil place to get out and closer to nature.

Trail Features
Grassland, Mountains, Diverse Landscape, Lake, Forest, Steep Inclines, Rocky, Loose Terrain, Ice
Abundant Wildlife, Wildflowers, Scenic
Cautions & Considerations
The road leading to the trailhead is made of dirt and can be difficult if not using four wheel drive. Marmots, moose, and black bears roam the area, and can come onto the trail, so be aware.
Address
National Forest System Road 353
Nederland, CO 80466
Hours
Mon Sunrise - Sunset
Tue Sunrise - Sunset
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Address
National Forest System Road 353
Nederland, CO 80466
Hours
Mon Sunrise - Sunset
Tue Sunrise - Sunset
Wed Sunrise - Sunset
Thu Sunrise - Sunset
Fri Sunrise - Sunset
Sat Sunrise - Sunset
Sun Sunrise - Sunset