Lost Lake, Hessie Trailhead, Indian Peaks Wilderness Area, Colorado

Lost Lake - 2.7 miles

Hessie Trailhead

Lost Lake

Lost Lake

Round-Trip Length: 2.7 miles
Start-End Elevation: 9,009' - 9,786'
Elevation Change: +777' net elevation gain (+791' total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Easy-Moderate
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: No
Related Trails:

Lost Lake - 2.7 Miles Round-Trip

Lost Lake is located 1.35 miles from Hessie Trailhead, just east of the Indian Peaks Wilderness boundary. This short, family-friendly hike is highlighted by aspen groves, waterfalls and a dramatic alpine backdrop. Visitors will enjoy good fishing and numerous backcountry campsites at Lost Lake:

Trail Map | Photo Gallery

The trail begins on a steep dirt road lined with aspens and wildflowers, merging with the South Fork of Middle Boulder Creek at the King Lake - Devils Thumb Bypass Trail split (.85 miles : 9,455'). The trail crosses (left) over the creek and closely follows it to the Lost Lake Trail split (1.1 miles : 9,582').

A powerfall waterfall drops through a narrow chute just before reaching this turnoff, where a number of spurs lead to creek-side viewing areas.

The Lost Lake Trail turns sharply away from the creek and climbs steeply for .25 miles to the marshy west side of Lost Lake (1.35 miles : 9,786').

The main trail forks here into well-defined paths around the wooded shore. The best views and backdrops can be found on the east side, though late afternoon arrivals may find lighting more favorable from the west. Respect the privacy of backcountry campsites while exploring the area.

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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 — King Lake-Devils Thumb Bypass Trail junction (.85 miles)
  • N39 57.265 W105 37.000 — King Lake - Lost Lake Trail junction (1.1 miles)
  • N39 57.072 W105 37.045 — Lost Lake

Worth Noting

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

  • Snow may linger on the trail well into summer.

  • Lost Lake is technically located just outside the southeast boundary of the Indian Peaks Wilderness.

Camping and Backpacking Information

  • Because Lost Lake is not technically located within the Indian Peaks Wilderness Boundary, backcountry permits are not required for camping. There are designated campsites around the lake and it's always a good idea to contact the Boulder Ranger District for the most recent camping regulations.

  • Within the Wilderness Boundary: Permits are required year-round for overnight camping as well as day / 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.

  • 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.

  • Camping is permitted only at designated campsites in the Diamond, Jasper, Crater and Caribou Lakes Backcountry Zones.

  • Camping is prohibited in the Four Lakes Backcountry Zone (Mitchell, Blue, Long, Isabelle) May 1 - Nov 30.

  • Camping is prohibited within 100' of lakes, streams and trails.

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

Rules and Regulations

  • Dogs must be leashed at all times in the Indian Peaks Wilderness.

Directions to Trailhead

Lost Lake is accessed from the Hessie Trailhead just outside the southeast boundary of 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

Trip Reports

There are no trip reports on this trail.


"There is a big bear problem and 2/3 of 5he campers including us lost our food to a large black bear "
Don Labelle  -   -  Date Posted: July 18, 2018
"The trail is clear to Lost Lake. Some parts are a little mushy around the lake but it's good to go."
Miranda Bell  -  Superior  -  Date Posted: June 12, 2017
"This is one is on the top of our list! We enjoyed the complexity of the different landscapes. Waterfalls were amazing. The lost lake was stunning. "
Melissa  -  Denver  -  Date Posted: July 23, 2012


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