The wild and rugged Rawah Trail is a hidden gem in the Colorado wilderness that's a great option for experienced backpackers and long-distance hikers. Steep inclines, a total elevation gain of over 5,000 feet, and several water crossings make this a challenging multi-day hike if you want to get to the end of the 25-mile trail. Novice hikers can enjoy it, too, by choosing a more moderate hike along a limited portion of the trail.
The trailhead for the Rawah Trail is easy to spot physically, but may be hard to find using GPS as the road it's on is only partially mapped by Google. To get there, turn off of Colorado Highway 14 onto County Road 103, also known as the Hohnholz Lakes Road and Laramie River Road, then follow the rugged dirt road 13 miles north. Just past the Rawah Guest Ranch, you'll see a large parking lot to the right with trail information and bathrooms. The trail begins across the road. You'll want to check with rangers before heading up to this wilderness country, as County Road 103 may be closed during the winter.
The Rawah Trail starts out on flat land, but quickly becomes steep as it climbs through forest and meadow, and crosses several creeks on its way to a series of high alpine lakes. It's possible to do the 14-mile round-trip hike to Lost Lake in a single day, though it's probably better to plan for at least one night of camping just in case you or your pup get tired from the elevation gain. To get to this lovely spot, you'll take the Rawah Trail (#961) six miles from the trailhead to the junction with the Lost Lake Trail (#982), then follow that trail for a mile. You should see a wooden sign nailed to a tree indicating where these trails intersect.
Check out the Rawah Trail with your pup. You're sure to get in touch with your wild side here.