July 6, 2018 · Indian Peaks Wilderness
What a beautiful day for a hike, what a beautiful hike and a beautiful set of lakes - Forest Lakes in Indian Peaks Wilderness. Depending on how you read the maps, this set of lakes is either in Indian Peaks Wilderness, James Peak Wilderness - which are part of the Arapaho / Roosevelt National Forests. Either way, it is a quick 9.2-mile hike to Forest Lakes. The weather could not have been better, huge blue skies, a light breeze and not a lot of people on the trail.
This trail starts off at the East Portal for the Moffat Tunnel, just outside of Rollinsville. The drive from Rollinsville to the Moffat tunnel is lush and very green this time of year, and in the fall is full of golden Aspens, an excellent spot to see the fall colors of Colorado, though my trip there was at the tail end of the 4th of July holiday week/end. I'm surprised there are not that many people at this trailhead. What's even more interesting is that though this is technically within in a Wilderness area, they have self-issuing backcountry permits at the trailhead. This is definitely a hike worth doing again as a multi-day hike.
Lower Forest Lake and its surrounding ponds seem like Moose country, though I did not see any Moose or evidence of them. Upper Forest Lake is spectacular, with the high, steep granite peaks contrasting against the lake and the blue, blue, blue sky. It is very peaceful.
There are people at the lake, though mostly they are anglers - not a lot of them but a few here and there dotting the shore line. You can see the trout in the lake, and there are a lot of them.
I got super lucky with the weather. It was perfect weather on the way in and for almost the entire way out. About 10-15 minutes before stepping off of the trail, it began to rain. Once in a while you would get hit in the head, and think "Hmmm, that's not a big fat rain drop, that's hail." But it was just a light rain up until stepping off of the trailhead. Then it started to pour rain and in the short distance from the trailhead to the car, the rain switched over to hail, and a lot of it; perfect timing. What a beautiful day, super lucky with the weather, and definitely worth going back and doing as a multi-day event.