Betty and Bob Lakes, Hessie Trailhead, Indian Peaks Wilderness Area, Colorado

Betty and Bob Lakes - 12.0 miles

Hessie Trailhead

Betty Lake

Betty Lake

Round-Trip Length: 12.0 miles (includes both lakes)
Start-End Elevation: 9,009' - 11,422' (Betty) & 11,570' (Bob)
Elevation Change: +2,561' net elevation gain (+2,663' total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Moderate-Strenuous
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: No
Related Trails:

Betty and Bob Lakes - 12.0 Miles Round-Trip

Betty Lake and Bob Lake are accessible from the Hessie Trailhead in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. The lakes are located half a mile apart in the open tundra of an isolated offshoot in a gorgeous alpine valley. Visitors will enjoy light crowds and pristine landscapes on the hike to Betty and Bob lakes:

Trail Map | Photo Gallery

The trail begins on a steep dirt road that merges with the South Fork of Middle Boulder Creek at the King Lake - Devils Thumb Bypass Trail split (.85 miles : 9,455').

It continues beside the creek to the Lost Lake Trail split (1.1 miles : 9,582') and eases into a meadow at the King Lake - Woodland Lake Trail split (1.3 miles : 9,600').

The trail enters a mixed pine forest and climbs steadily for the better part of 2.5 miles with little variation up the south flank of Woodland Mountain. A dense forest limits views but never fully envelops the trail. The South Fork of Middle Boulder Creek is audible much of the way, but its location remains elusive through the timber.

Travel moderates in a meadow beneath Guinn Mountain's (3.85 miles : 10,437'), past which the creek and trail merge in a thinning forest.

The trail abruptly banks right up a steep ridge on switchbacks (4.75 miles : 10,904') that level off near treeline at the King Lake - Bob and Betty Lakes Trail split (5.0 miles : 11,108').

The trail turns sharply north and twists steeply through tangles of krummholz, willow, and forbs. Be patient with route finding and help minimize erosion by staying on the trail. A good map with an eye on Betty Lake's outlet stream should guide you in lieu of a clear path.

The trail levels on the southeast shore of Betty Lake (5.5 miles : 11,422'); it continues beside it before scaling a faint but intuitively followed path to Bob Lake (6.0 miles : 11,570').

The open tundra is fairly easy to explore and offers sweeping views of the upper-valley, King Lake cirque, and Lonesome Dove areas. An unnamed 12,307' peak stands over Bob Lake, behind which the High Lonesome Trail runs along the Continental Divide.

Facebook Comments

Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N39 57.100 W105 35.696 — 2WD Parking Area for Hessie Trailhead
  • N39 57.278 W105 36.192 — Hessie Trailhead
  • N39 57.330 W105 36.780 — .85 miles : King Lake - Devils Thumb Bypass split
  • N39 57.265 W105 37.000 — 1.1 miles : Lost Lake Trail split
  • N39 57.251 W105 37.193 — 1.3 miles : King Lake - Woodland Lake Trail split
  • N39 56.962 W105 38.698 — 2.75 miles : Travel up-valley in dense forest
  • N39 56.839 W105 39.435 — 3.45 miles : Travel continues up-valley in dense forest
  • N39 56.719 W105 40.228 — 4.2 miles : Trail closely follows creek
  • N39 56.608 W105 40.753 — 4.75 miles : Begin switchbacks up steep ridge
  • N39 56.599 W105 40.902 — 5.0 miles : King Lake - Betty and Bob Lakes split
  • N39 56.693 W105 40.842 — Trail mark #1 to Betty Lake
  • N39 56.855 W105 40.789 — Trail mark #2 to Betty Lake
  • N39 56.919 W105 40.788 — 5.5 miles : Betty Lake
  • N39 57.116 W105 41.078 — 6.0 miles : Bob Lake

Worth Noting

  • The picture shown here was taken from the east shore of Betty Lake. Bob Lake lies just over the small ridge to the west, beneath the glacial ice.

  • King Lake is located .4 miles (+322') from the Betty and Bob Lake Trail split.

  • This is a heavily used trail artery and popular destination. Get an early start to secure parking and avoid crowds.

  • Storms can organize quickly over the Continental Divide. Monitor skies closely and get below treeline before storms develop.

Camping and Backpacking Information

  • Permits are required for all overnight campers June 1 - September 15.

  • Permits are required year-round for day and overnight use by large groups (8+) or organizational groups such as scouts, churches, schools and hiking clubs. Group size is limited to 12 people or people and packstock combined.

  • There are no designated sites in this travel zone - dispersed camping only. Camping is prohibited within 100' of lakes, streams and trails.

  • Campfires are prohibited east side of the Continental Divide, as well as Caribou Lake, Columbine Lake, Gourd Lake, Crater Lake and in the Cascade Creek drainage above Cascade Falls.

  • Pets must be on a handheld leash at all times.

  • Packstock is prohibited in the Four Lakes Backcountry Zone, in the Cascade Backcountry Zone above Cascade Falls and on the Diamond Lake Trail #975.

Directions to Trailhead

Betty and Bob Lakes are accessed from the Hessie Trailhead in the Indian Peaks Wilderness near Nederland, Colorado.

From downtown Nederland, go south on Highway 72 for .5 miles to County Road 130 and make a right. You will see a sign for Eldora Ski Resort at this junction. Continue on Highway 130 through the town of Eldora, just past which it becomes a dirt road (4 miles). 2WD drive conditions end 4.8 miles from the Highway 72 turnoff. 4WD vehicles may veer left at this demarcation and continue another .5 miles to the trailhead. Others will have to park at one of the limited roadside spaces and walk the 4WD road to the Hessie Trailhead.

Contact Information

Boulder Ranger District
2140 Yarmouth Avenue
Boulder, CO 80301
Phone: 303.541.2500

Trip Reports

There are no trip reports on this trail.


"There's still a lot of snow! Snow began about 1 mile past the Lost Lake split and quickly became continuous. Fortunately the snow was cold and firm enough to walk on, and post-holing was surprisingly minimal. Not sure if you need snowshoes, but traction and/or poles are a must. The trail was hard to follow - a GPS would be helpful. I've been here a few times so had a good feel for things up to the King Lake split. Once there you can sight-navigate across big snowfields to Betty. Bob was pretty easy to reach at that point. The trickiest part was just getting through treeline - a lot of weaving and looking for the best way forward. I wouldn't be discouraged by the snow, but I'd definitely prepare for it."
Mattias  -  Boulder  -  Date Posted: June 12, 2017
"We hiked this on a Sunday, arrived at 7:30am at Hessie parking along CR 130. There is very limited parking, observe the signage to avoid ticket or tow. If no spaces, you can park at the High School back along CR 130 and take a shuttle. Arrive early and you'll find spots. If you have an SUV or pickup you can likely drive the Hessie road, thru the stream, to find about 6-10 spots along the road and at the actual trailhead. The trail begins aggressively with the majority of elevation gain in the first 1.5 miles. Then it levels out, a bit of mud here and there, but mostly consistent in the woods, with some views and sun, plenty of wildflowers. Not many folks go to B&B lakes, most are looping Jasper, Devil's Thumb, Kings lakes. saw one person at camping at Betty Lake, there's a nice site near the lake off the trail, with 2-3 nearby possible tent sites. Otherwise tough to find additional camping. Bob lake is rocky and has few possible sites around it. You cannot loop Bob lake, there is a snowfield that goes down to the lake. Highly recommended. Total was about 14 miles r/t with the extra mileage from parking on 130 to the TH. "
Joshua Sroge  -  United States  -  Date Posted: August 19, 2014


Add Comment

Only used to identify you to ProTrails. Will not show on comments list.
Tell us when your experience with this trail happened.