Kroenke Lake

Collegiate Peaks Wilderness Area, Colorado

Elevation Gain3,267ft
Trailhead Elevation10,383ft
Elevation Min/Max10383/12547ft
Elevation Start/End10383/10383ft

Kroenke Lake

Kroenke Lake is a hiking and horse trail in , Colorado. It is within Collegiate Peaks Wilderness Area. It is 5.2 miles long and begins at 10,383 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 10.4 miles with a total elevation gain of 3,267 feet. The Kroenke Lake (elevation 11,516 feet) reservoir can be seen along the trail. This trail connects with the following: North Fork Denny Creek and Horn Fork Basin Trail.

Kroenke Lake Professional Reviews and Guides

"This is a day hike to Kroenke Lake or a longer trip to Browns Pass. This trail follows North Cottonwood Creek up to a pretty subalpine lake, then climbs above the timberline for a high traverse above the Texas Creek valley to reach Browns Pass. Kroenke Lake makes an easy day hike, while Browns Pass makes a more ambitious day trip. Some of the attractions along the way include fishing, wildflower viewing in high alpine meadows, the old mine ruins at Browns Pass, and a chance to spot bighorn sheep grazing across the high and windswept slopes above the timberline. At the trail’s end, the Browns Pass Trail descends south to the Middle Cottonwood Road and north into the hinterlands of Texas Creek for extended backpacking possibilities.

The trail begins by following North Cottonwood Creek through a lowland forest of lodgepole pine and Douglas fir. Soon a bridge leads to the south bank, where the path travels beside the crystalline waters of the creek, enjoying the shade of a spruce forest. After 1.4 miles, an avalanche slope interrupts the trees, and a bridge leads to a junction on the far bank. The Horn Fork Trail climbs away to the right, while the left fork is the Kroenke Lake Trail. It continues the gentle ascent through the forest, with a few pitches of steady climbing sprinkled here and there. The lodgepole pines soon give way to an old-growth subalpine forest, replete with impressive specimens of spruce and fir."

"This hike has it all: two gorgeous lakes, a short walk along the Continental Divide, and memorable views of several 14,000-foot Collegiate Peaks. At 12.9 miles it is a relatively easy backpack trip with a choice of two lakes as campsites. If you get an early start you will probably want to spend the night at Kroenke Lake, 8.2 miles from the Denny Creek Trailhead. If you get a late start, however, you can also camp at Hartenstein Lake which is only 3.0 miles from the trailhead. Either lake is a beautiful place to spend the night. The hike described here begins at the Denny Creek Trailhead, but you can just as easily do the trip in the opposite direction.

The trail follows the west side of Denny Creek for the first 1.0 mile, then crosses the creek on a primitive log bridge as it continues to climb toward the Continental Divide. 0.3 mile beyond Denny Creek you will come to a well-marked trail junction where the trail to Mount Yale departs on the right. Up to that point the trail is so wide it sometimes looks more like a jeep road than a foot path, but beyond the junction the trail soon narrows down. Also, as you gain elevation the forest seems to thin a bit, yielding occasional views of the mountains north and west of the trail."

"This hike takes you into the beautiful Collegiate Mountain Range to Kroenke Lake in a subalpine setting surrounded by evergreens and vast mountain meadows. The trail begins by crossing North Cottonwood Creek via a wide, sturdy bridge about 50 yards from the trailhead. It then continues on the south side of North Cottonwood Creek through a lush forest of spruce and fir with scattered small stands of aspen and stays close to the stream.

All along your hike you will have seen small meadows with many wildflowers in summer. Kroenke Lake (11,530 feet) is surrounded by evergreens and is directly below the Continental Divide in a glaciated valley where there are vast alpine meadows. It is a very beautiful area and the lake promises good fishing. You may want to stay awhile and just enjoy your surroundings, or ascend to the summit of Mount Yale (14,196 feet), or go to Brown’s Pass (12,010 feet) on the Continental Divide, or any of the other high peaks in the area."

"This hike follows a tumbling stream and travels through a mountain forest to end at Kroenke Lake. The hike is in the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness so wilderness leash regulations apply. Nonetheless, the hike meets the two criteria that make an outing a joy for any dog—plenty of water access and a trail that is not hard on paws. From the trailhead, the North Cottonwood Creek Trail runs along the creek for about 50 yards before crossing it on a solid bridge. The trail follows the stream, offering numerous opportunities for your dog to get wet or get a drink. The trail passes through a dense mixed forest and at 1.5 miles crosses the stream again.

Two more stream crossings are pleasant experiences for your dog. The terrain dips before reaching the lake. The shelf around the lake is covered with evergreens and meadows. Notice the tiny island almost in the center of the lake. On a beautiful Colorado afternoon, a lakeside lunch offers dramatic vistas of the Continental Divide to the west and the summit of Mount Yale (14,196 feet) to the southeast."

Kroenke Lake Reviews

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A great long day hike or overnighter. It is a nice, steady incline to the lake -- not too strenuous. Much of the trail is through forest but there are great views as you get near the lake. The lake is small, clear, and beautiful, with nice campsites. You can explore further if you are feeling adventurous! Very pretty area.
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A long 3 mile drive on a bumpy road to the trail head. The trail head is also the starting point for Mt. Harvard and Columbia. The trail to Kroenke is well marked. One creek has a particularily scary crossing. I didn't understand the guide book, what meadows? You were in the woods 96% of the time until reaching the lake. The lake was worth reaching, very pretty, surrounded by mountains, scenic. Noticed that many of the campsites were taken, if backpacking I would try to get an early start.
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This was a very pleasant trip I did with my 8 year old as a double over-nighter. The elevation gain was moderate and the lake was beautiful. My only issue was that we had to walk nearly the entire way to the lake before we came up with a reasonable camp site. Given my son's age, I was hoping to break the trip up into smaller stages, but since there was no place to put a tent until about 20min away from the lake, we had to keep pushing through. Outside of that, it was a wonderful trip, though we didn't catch any fish!
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Pretty terrain, rough road, need a high clearance vehicle to get to the TH. Nice out and back backpacking trip.
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This was one of the greatest day hiking trips of my life. When you leave the trail head and enter into the mountain wilderness, you feel like you have left all civilization behind you. The views from the trail on the peaks are amazing. Nothing but mountains for miles. Make it a point to get over to the lake. On a hot day, a few second dip in the lake will definitely keep you cool...:) I heard that the area was once used as an anceint buffalo trap by the indians. I guess there may be some merit to this because my friend found an arrowhead on the trail. so keep your eyes open! On the way back be sure to have a snowball fight with your friends. YOu will definitely need a lot of water for this trip, so plan ahead. It gets dry in the high elevation.

Trail Information

Collegiate Peaks Wilderness Area
Nearby City
Collegiate Peaks Wilderness Area
Collegiate Peaks Wilderness Area, San Isabel National Forest
Local Contacts
Mount Yale (USGS)
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Oct 2018