Lost Lake | Colorado | 04/26/19

Lost Lake | Indian Peaks Wilderness

Nederland, CO | 04/26/19 | 4.30 miles | 816′ gain

Kyle and I picked a Friday morning for a hike to Lost Lake, hoping that we could avoid the weekend crowds. (It’s extremely busy on the weekends, so I hear.) I was excited to see a new trail, but I assumed that we’d walk through a forest and see a lake…and not much else.

I was wrong.

We drove up Boulder Canyon and through a ton of construction. Stopping for flaggers gave us a chance to really look around and admire how awesome this canyon was. We couldn’t believe we’d never been up this way before! There were a few pull-offs and sightseeing spots we decided to visit on the way back.

Eventually we drove through Nederland and then Eldora, an old mining town that is still inhabited by a few stragglers. Old buildings and cabins are everywhere. We even saw moose crossing signs. We definitely didn’t think there would be moose in this area.

Just as Kyle was making fun of the moose crossing signs, I SAW A MOOSE! It (we think she) was right at the side of the road, so we stopped for a photo.

She was watching a Jeep coming from the opposite direction.

The pavement turned to dirt as we drove out of town. The dirt road was bumpy but doable in any normal car. We parked at the 2wd trailhead. Only 4 cars there ahead of us. Woohoo!

A quick look at the start of the 4wd road. The ol’ Subaru said “heck no!” to this lake, I mean road.

From the 2wd trailhead, you follow the 4wd road for about a half mile to the main Hessie Trailhead. Thankfully there were boardwalks and trails above the road so we didn’t have to walk through the wet areas.

Moose country.
Typical trail conditions at the start of the trail.
Snowmelt covers the 4wd road.
Boardwalk fun.

As we followed the road, we came to an old cabin, and next a sign for the Hessie Townsite. An old mining community perhaps.

This cabin is on private property so we didn’t get any closer than the trail.

A short while later, we came to the 4wd Hessie Trailhead. Here, a nice bridge crosses Middle Boulder Creek.

The feet can stay dry at this creek crossing!

As we climbed up out of the valley, the views started opening up.

Valley views, a cabin bottom left.
Old cabin, almost hidden by the forest.
Near the top of the valley, looking back.

There are two trail junctions. Go left at both to get to Lost Lake. Both junctions have great signs.

First junction.

After the first junction, you cross Middle Boulder Creek again.

Middle Boulder Creek cascades.
A small waterfall hiding in the snow.
Typical trail conditions on the upper part of the trail.

The trail gets steeper and steeper as you near Lost Lake. Some spots were extremely slippery in the softening snow. But finally we left the forest and reached the lake!

Lost Lake
Me with Bob and Toby at Lost Lake.
Lost Lake
Lost Lake

There’s a trail that goes around the lake, though we decided not to take it today. I learned after I’d gotten home that the trail leads to an old mine site with a few buildings and tailings piles. We could see evidence of this at different points along the hike. Maybe you can see the tailings piles in some of the above pictures? (Hint: look for yellow colored “dirt” piles high on mountain sides.)

After checking out the lake for a few minutes, we decided to turn around and head back. On the way down, we saw ANOTHER moose! Possibly the same one we saw earlier in the day, though much higher up the valley.

Moose bottom left.
She was tearing branches off an aspen tree. A nice lunch.

We decided to explore the second cabin (not the one marked by private property signs).

A miner’s cabin maybe?
Main room.
Window views.
The upstairs area.
From the main room.

I enjoyed imagining who lived in the cabin and when. I just wish people didn’t feel the need to graffiti the walls.

Kyle models the bridge on the way down.
I believe this is Sagebrush Buttercup. Spotted near the Hessie Townsite sign.

As promised, we stopped at a few sightseeing spots on the way back down Boulder Canyon.

Barker Reservoir
An unmarked homestead. Not accessible to the public. I took this picture from the gate.
Boulder Falls. There is a trail that goes almost all the way to the falls but we didn’t go that far. There were a ton of people!


15 thoughts on “Lost Lake | Colorado | 04/26/19

  1. BIT|Hiker 65

    I tried to do this in November 2016 and was thwarted by a snowstorm. My rented Buick LaSabre could not handle the dirt road. Hope to get there – maybe this summer!


  2. I am always intrigued by ruined buildings we encounter during our hikes. Wouldn’t it be fascinating to learn about their former occupants and their daily lives?
    And running into a moose, or possibly two, is a rare, but always appreciated experience. Good for you!


    1. I absolutely LOVE when trails have interpretive signs that tell you about the cultural history! It’s fascinating to know what happened in the area, but most times we have to settle for whatever our imaginations can come up with.

      Liked by 1 person

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