Hello Healthy Altitude fans! This is the third in a weekly series of articles that will be featuring various hiking trails in the Front Range. Check out our first two entries here:
The most unique aspect of living in the front range is that you can access some absolutely incredible hikes in under an hour of driving. This week we’re going to focus on some of my favorite trails that culminate in a lake at the end of the hike! Whether you’re aiming to fish, swim, or just relax by the shore, these mountain lakes offer scenery that can’t be beaten!
Length: 6.1 miles (out and back)
Elevation Gain: 1,240 ft
Trailhead: Fourth of July Trailhead (~1 hour from Boulder)
Diamond Lake is a stunning jewel nestled among the surrounding peaks. The views are right out of a postcard and the hike to get there is moderate, but be warned; the drive up Fourth of July Road can be treacherous! Traveling in a vehicle with four-wheel drive is recommended.
Length: 9.4 miles (out and back)
Elevation Gain: 2,601 ft
Trailhead: Longs Peak Trailhead in Rocky Mountain National Park (~1 hour from Boulder)
Boasting crystal blue water and unbeatable views of Longs Peak, Chasm Lake is one of the most striking destinations in the Rockies. Hiking this trail requires a pass to Rocky Mountain National Park, but the extra cost is absolutely worth it.
Length: 10.8 miles (out and back)
Elevation Gain: 2,011 ft
Trailhead: Hessie Trailhead (~45 minutes from Boulder)
Located off the popular Hessie Trailhead, Jasper Lake is a more scenic and less crowded alternative to the ridiculously crowded Lost Lake. The hike there is more demanding and will take up most of your day, but once you see the surrounding mountains reflected in the lake’s surface you won’t even notice the mileage!
Lake Isabelle (via Pawnee Pass Trail)
Length: 7.3 mi (out and back)
Elevation Gain: 734 ft
Trailhead: Brainard Lake Recreation Area (~50 minutes from Boulder)
I have never done this trail without seeing at least one moose—Lake Isabelle and the trail leading to it offers prime wildlife spotting opportunities! The relatively low elevation gain and round trip length make this hike an easy half-day adventure. Try to go on a weekday to avoid the hassle of finding parking!