King Lake Trail

Roosevelt National Forest, Colorado

Distance4.3mi
Elevation Gain2,170ft
Trailhead Elevation11,669ft
Top11,669ft
Elevation Min/Max9629/11669ft
Elevation Start/End11669/11669ft

King Lake Trail

King Lake Trail is a hiking trail in Grand County and Boulder County, Colorado. It is within Indian Peaks Wilderness Area and Roosevelt National Forest. It is 4.3 miles long and begins at 11,669 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 8.6 miles with a total elevation gain of 2,170 feet. Near the end of the trail is an information guidepost. This trail connects with the following: Devils Thumb Trail, Spur Trail to Pond, Betty/Bob Lake Trail and High Lonesome Trail.

King Lake Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"The sweeping landscape on the way to King Lake and its satellite lake, calls for separate spring and summer visits to explore two distinct plant communities. Corona Pass, called Rollins Pass on the east side, is an expansive and level stretch on the Continental Divide.

Tundra wildflowers first appear in late spring, while later in the summer, the flower-lined bowl sloping down to King Lake is in full bloom. An even more flowery smaller lake to the east is also in full bloom at this time of year. Snow lingers in these protected bowls so the bloom season lasts far into summer. In late summer, an impressive number of arctic gentian fills the basin and signal that snow is not far off. Wildflower alert: Early tundra flowers and, within six weeks of autumn snowfall, a bounty of arctic gentians."

"Alpine lakes, abundant wildflowers, cascading mountain streams, and spectacular views make for a wonderful two-day hike. Don’t forget to bring a fishing rod. Trail conditions: The lower portion of the trail is maintained and sees heavy use during the late summer months.

The middle section of the hike follows along the south fork of Middle Boulder Creek while the upper section makes a steep climb up to the Continental Divide and the Corona Trail."

"King Lake should be part of a loop past Woodland Lake, Skyscraper Reservoir, and Betty and Bob lakes. It is only a 0.8-mile detour after Betty Lake, and the lush tundra bordering the lake leading to a large perpetual snowbank between the Continental Divide and the lake’s western shore is worth the extra distance.

The Hessie Trailhead is a quarter mile along a road/creek bed that sometimes carries water and always is paved by cobbles hard on even booted feet. The worst parts are bordered by a trail that lifts hikers above this hassle. High clearance vehicles can make it all the way to the Hessie Trailhead and less-than-abundant parking."

"Only do this hike if you and your dog are in top-notch physical shape. This hike is a fair-weather hike because of the long stretches above timberline, and an early start is best; be at the trailhead by 8:00 AM, or camp overnight in the vicinity of the trailhead to get an early start. Also, the hike is in Indian Peaks Wilderness, so leash regulations apply. If you choose to backpack, permits are required for overnight stays, June 1 through September 15; contact the Boulder Ranger District.

The hike is described clockwise because the uphill stretches are easier by way of the King Lake Trail. This hike can also be cut in two: one hike going to King Lake, with a second hike following the Devils Thumb Trail to Devils Thumb Pass or one of the lakes below it. You can also reach King Lake and the Continental Divide Trail via a much shorter route from Rollins Pass, but this alters the hiking experience completely."

King Lake Trail Reviews

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7/20/2011
The drive up very, very slow. Took us over an hour to go 15 miles. But, it was worth it. Passed only one family on the short trail down. Hiked through some snow. Lake is absolutely gorgeous.
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9/18/2009
Not a long hike, but beautiful scenery. Plan plenty of time just to get to Rollins Pass.
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7/17/2009
beautiful hike! my dog loved it too! It is very steep, and I would recommend doing the loop as described in this book.
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King Lake Trail Photos

Trail Information

Roosevelt National Forest
Nearby City
Indian Peaks Wilderness Area
Parks
Dog-friendly
Accessibility
Easy to Moderate
Skill Level
USDA Forest Service, Boulder Ranger District, 2140 Yarmouth Ave., Boulder CO 80301; (303) 541-2500; fs.usda.gov/arp or USDA Forest Service, Sulphur Ranger District, PO Box 10, 9 Ten Mile Dr., Granby CO 80446; (970-887-4100); fs.usda.gov/arp
Local Contacts
Trails Illustrated Indian Peaks Gold Hill, USGS East Portal, Nederland
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Aug 2018