Lost Lake | Hessie Trailhead | Indian Peaks Wilderness
Nederland, CO | 04/26/19 | 4.30 miles | 816′ gain | Class 1
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.
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!
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.
As we followed the road, we came to an old cabin, and next a sign for the Hessie Townsite. An old mining community perhaps.
A short while later, we came to the 4wd Hessie Trailhead. Here, a nice bridge crosses Middle Boulder Creek.
As we climbed up out of the valley, the views started opening up.
There are two trail junctions. Go left at both to get to Lost Lake. Both junctions have great signs.
After the first junction, you cross Middle Boulder Creek again.
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!
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.
We decided to explore the second cabin (not the one marked by private property signs).
I enjoyed imagining who lived in the cabin and when. I just wish people didn’t feel the need to graffiti the walls.
As promised, we stopped at a few sightseeing spots on the way back down Boulder Canyon.