Roosevelt Lakes

August 12, 2018 · Mount Evans Wilderness

The hike to Roosevelt Lakes and Beartrack Lakes in Arapaho National Forest, technically these lakes are in the Mount Evans Wilderness, is an interesting hike, and deceptively long. For me this turned out to be a 14.5 mile roundtrip hike. This is basically the headwaters for Bear Creek, and is aptly named, I did see a black bear about a half hour from the trailhead; it was a cub black bear. The bear was relatively close, it was about the length of a semi-tractor truck and trailer away from me.

When I saw the bear emerge from the trees along the side of the road several things went through my mind all at once: 1) Oh, a bear, 2) roll up the windows it's kind of close, 3) that's a small bear - that's a cub, the mama bear must be close, where is she? 4) and where is my camera? By the time all of this finally registered, and I found my phone the bear had bolted up the other side of the ridge and was already at the top of ridge, they are quick.

The weather was perfect for this hike. For much of the summer hiking season there has been a haze in the air from either Colorado wildfires or from wildfires from California. So, it was a lucky break to have such a clear blue sky and a light breeze on this hike.

The hike begins in a burn scar from a previous wildfire, though this burn scar has begun to heal and there is green groundcover and trees are beginning to come back, though most are not taller than 15-20 feet tall, so they have a ways to go. The trail continues into a thick healthy canopy of pine though there is evidence of fire here as well, in addition to the after affects of a fire - downed trees from washout and mud slides from rain.

The trail opens up to a wide valley and the backside of Mount Evans is visible up to Beartrack Lakes. You can see the infamous Mount Evans road to the observatory at the top of Mount Evans. It's interesting to see a part of Mount Evans that you normally don't get to see when driving to the peak of Mount Evans.

Beartrack Lakes sits on the floor of a wide bowl with a spectacular backdrop rimmed by the backside of Mount Evans and Rosaline Peak. Alpine Summers are short and the rivers are running low now and there are signs of rust in the grasses around the lake. It was very peaceful there, I only saw four people in two separate camps at the lake.

The push onto Roosevelt Lakes skirts the treeline, just above the treeline. Again there are amazing views of the backside of Mount Evans. Before Roosevelt Lakes come into view the ridgeline of Pegmatite Points comes into view, you get the sense you are the roof of the world as you are above treeline as a barren peak comes into view.

The trail drops quickly down to Roosevelt Lakes. There are two small lakes that sit in a narrow bowl rimed by Rosaline Peak and Pegmatite Points. There were four people at this lake but it's spread out enough that you feel like you have the lakes and the valley bowl to yourself. The weather was perfect for the altitude, a light breeze and a few small white clouds racing by. The lakes here too are low and you can walk across the lake outlets without getting wet. I did see two Trout in the lake, darting around in their ever-shrinking summer swimming hole.

There was also a Traveling Gnome spotting. I always forget that I have him with me on each hike, but managed to take time out on the return trip to get his picture with Mount Evans in the background. It was a beautiful day and got this trail in just in time, as the trailhead in the Mount Evans Wilderness closes right after Labor Day.


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AREAS HIKED

Collegiate Peaks Wilderness10
Eagles Nest Wilderness10
Fossil Ridge Wilderness1
Fraser Experimental Forest1
Gunnison National Forest1
Holy Cross Wilderness12
Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness3
Indian Peaks Wilderness17
James Peak Wilderness1
Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness2
Mount Evans Wilderness2
Mount Massive Wilderness2
Pike National Forest1
Raggeds Wilderness1
Rocky Mountain National Park41
San Isabel National Forest6
Sangre de Cristo Wilderness2
White River National Forest10
Zirkel Wilderness1

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SEASONS ON THE TRAIL

2021

The 2021 Season has started. Though the pandemic created a challenging 2020 season, I am looking forward to building on the 2020 season to create an incredible 2021 season. The pandemic has taught me a few things about when and where to go hiking. As such planning for the 2021 se...

2020

The 2020 hiking season has been incredible, even in the face of adversity. The pandemic has made for a logistically challenging season. Somehow, I was still able to piece together an incredible 230+ miles on the trail this season and able to see some truly spectacular places. Enj...

2019

The 2019 hiking season was an interesting season, this was the first season that I started and ended the season snowshoeing and a full summer of hiking for a total of just under 225 miles on the trail. What this season has taught me is that it's winter in the mountains for a long...

2018

The 2018 Summer Hiking Season has come to an end. What a season, incredible views and just over 230 miles on the trail. Even with 230 miles, this season seems short to me, perhaps I'll add something to it during the winter season - snowshoeing perhaps. In the meantime, I hope you...

2017

The 2017 hiking season was interesting, I was able to explorer more of Colorado's National Forests and get in some camping, not as much camping as I would have liked, but hopefully next year I'll able to get in more multi-day hikes. This season came in just under 129 miles roundt...

2016

The 2016 hiking season was about spreading out and exploring more of Eagles Nest Wilderness, Indian Peaks Wilderness and touching on White River National Forest - and of course a few trips into Rocky Mountain National Park. These are amazing National treasures. This season came i...

2015

The 2015 hiking season was a big hiking season, I decided to do a fundraiser for The Red Cross (I learned a lot about fundraising - it was very interesting) with my pledge to hike over 200 miles for this season, I came in at 217 miles for the season; what a great time out on the ...

2014

The 2014 hiking season was almost all about exploring Rocky Mountain National Park, it really is a beautiful park. What I learned during the course of this hiking season is, although people may roll their eyes when you say you're going on a hike in RMNP, it really is spectacular ...

2013

2013 is the year this all started. The hike to Pitkin Lake started it all. Although it was a difficult trail, I was hooked immediately. However, I didn't have the right gear and the seasons were changing quickly. So, even though this season only brought two hikes, I new this was ...