Forest Lakes

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.


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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 ...