Entering the beautiful forest and fields of the Arapaho & Roosevelt National Forests Pawnee National Grassland offers some of the greatest views in the Colorado region, but nothing prettier will be apparent to you and Fido then when you visit the King Lake Trail. This rugged trail passes through thick trees and open grasslands until it reaches the valley where the King Lake resides.
The trail begins at Hessie Trailhead, an outpost for multiple trails that converge from the Hessie Trail. The trailhead is off a dirt road that is best suited for four-wheel drive, with a small area to park along the side of the ridge. Parking is limited. Here, you'll be able to explore the old log cabins that once housed residents decades ago that still stand. The King Lake Trail starts about half a mile from the trailhead, and you and Fido will have to walk along Hessie Trail to get to it.
Along the trail, you'll have to pass over three different creeks, including Middle Boulder Creek, Jasper Creek, and then over South Fork Middle Boulder Creek. The creek has a cobblestone bedding, offering a nice breeze from the flowing water and through the trees as you walk by. The trail winds in and out of open spaces and forests, with a steady incline that heads west. The trail eventually loops around one mountain peak, and then to the beauty that is King Lake. The lake is of medium size, and offers pretty crystal clear views of the water, with jagged rocks and desert terrain covering the mountains that surround it. Camping is allowed 100 feet away from the lake, but you will need a permit to stay.
The hike back is easy, and offers views of the beautiful countryside. No matter how much time you take, you and Fido will get plenty of exercise on the King Lake Trail.