Sprague Lake

Estes Park, Colorado

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Unlike most other lakes in Rocky Mountain National Park, Sprague is of human construction. Still, it provides abundant natural pleasures to the many park visitors who circumnavigate the lake on a flat trail. The National Park Service traded the land on which Sprague Lake and Sprague Lodge sat for the land containing Mills Lake and The Loch, which Sprague owned but had refused to develop as cabin sites. He thus preserved as wilderness the heart of hiking territory in what would become the national park. Eventually the park service bought back Abner Sprague’s lodge and lake. The lodge was torn down in 1958. The 13-acre lake remains, a reminder of Sprague’s deep familiarity with where the park’s scenic potential was greatest. Walking clockwise around the lake presents the best series of mountain vistas. From the eastern shore, glacier deposited rocks, bending water grasses, and conifers form foreground for a photo of the Front Range left to right, with Taylor, Otis, and Hallett Peaks and Flattop and Notchtop Mountains (the latter partly hidden by forest) hopefully reflected in the lake. Heading counterclockwise is the easiest route to wheelchair-accessible backcountry campsites.
Best Hikes Rocky Mountain National Park

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Best Hikes Rocky Mountain National Park

by Kent Dannen (Falcon Guides)

Unlike most other lakes in Rocky Mountain National Park, Sprague is of human construction. Still, it provides abundant natural pleasures to the many park visitors who circumnavigate the lake on a flat trail. The National Park Service traded the land on which Sprague Lake and Sprague Lodge sat for the land containing Mills Lake and The Loch, which Sprague owned but had refused to develop as cabin sites. He thus preserved as wilderness the heart of hiking territory in what would become the national park.

Eventually the park service bought back Abner Sprague’s lodge and lake. The lodge was torn down in 1958. The 13-acre lake remains, a reminder of Sprague’s deep familiarity with where the park’s scenic potential was greatest. Walking clockwise around the lake presents the best series of mountain vistas. From the eastern shore, glacier deposited rocks, bending water grasses, and conifers form foreground for a photo of the Front Range left to right, with Taylor, Otis, and Hallett Peaks and Flattop and Notchtop Mountains (the latter partly hidden by forest) hopefully reflected in the lake. Heading counterclockwise is the easiest route to wheelchair-accessible backcountry campsites.

© 2015 Kent Dannen/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Estes Park
Distance: 0.7
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Skill Level: Easy
Duration: 1 hour
Season: Year-round
Local Contacts: Rocky Mountain National Park Backcountry Office, 1000 US 36, Estes Park 80517; (970) 586-1242; www/nps.gov/romo
Local Maps: USGS Longs Peak; Trails Illustrated Longs Peak
Driving Directions: Directions to Sprague Lake

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Apr 2018