The Lake Evelyn Trail is just far enough from Denver that you can feel like you've gotten away from it all, but close enough that you can do it as a day trip. There's no need to rush to make that happen, though—Lake Evelyn is as lovely a place to camp as it is to hike. If you decide to camp, you can keep your hike contained to the Lake Evelyn Trail, which is a five-mile out-and-back hike, or to continue on to any number of spur trails it meets along the way. One popular option is to continue from Lake Evelyn to Horseshoe Lake via the Kinney Creek and Horseshoe Lake Trails, which adds up to a twelve-mile round-trip hike.
To find this trail, head down County Hwy 325 to the Bottle Pass/ Lake Evelyn Trailhead. At the start of your hike to Lake Evelyn, you'll cross over a few different creeks in sun-exposed meadows, but will soon be in the shade of dense forests of pine, spruce, and aspen. As you continue to follow the streams through the woods, note the wildflowers that grow in these lush sun-dappled glades. The scent of pine all around you should delight both you and your dog, as should the birds flicking from branch to branch, and the small critters running across the trail and crashing into the brush.
As the trail winds back out to meadow and grassland, you'll find even more wildflowers: larkspur, aster, and paintbrush. But more than anything, what you'll notice is all the green, shade upon shade in lush layers of grass, brush, moss, and pine. Of course, green fades to white if you come when there's still snow on the ground! The shallow lake at the trail's end is a peaceful place. You'll easily see clear through to the flat stones on the bottom and will probably spot some fish. As small as it is, Lake Evelyn is bursting with trout. If you're a licensed angler, consider packing your fishing gear.
The options for a great day with your dog are endless once you've parked your car and set out on the Lake Evelyn Trail.