If you don’t mind a bit of a drive out into the Indian Peaks Wilderness deep in Boulder County, there is a beautiful hidden gem of a trail waiting for you. Blue Lake and Little Blue Lake is a 6.3 mile out-and-back trail near Nederland, and offers one of the most rewarding hiking experiences in the area.

Credit: Bergen Adair

Our Ratings:

Crowd: 4/5. The Indian Peaks Wilderness area itself is very crowded, especially when it comes to parking. We ended up adding over a mile to our trek because we had to park so far away from the trailhead. But once you get on the trail, many hikers stop at the Little Blue Lake, which is an easy trail, and the Blue Lake section is typically only moderately trafficked. You may see wildlife such as Moose on this trail! Dogs are also allowed on leash.

Credit: Bergen Adair

Views: 5/5. This is one of the most beautiful hikes in Colorado. From meadows bursting with wildflowers to lush pine forests to melting snowpack waterfalls to bald mountains in the distance to the lake itself, nothing about this trail is disappointing. Go in June to catch the lake still partially snow-locked.

Credit: Bergen Adair

Difficulty: 3.5/5. The first portion of the hike is a nice easy stroll, and the Blue Lake section is moderately challenging. There’s a lot of stair-like ascent, and you’re going to be at a very high altitude gaining over 1400 feet. It’s not technically challenging and all ascents are fairly gradual, but it’s definitely a trek. You’ll get a great workout and can soak sore feet in the frigid waters of the lake at the top!

Credit: Bergen Adair

This is a must-see in Colorado, and you won’t be disappointed if you make the trip. Go before 7am or after 2pm to get a parking spot right at the trailhead, or park a bit away and enjoy the stroll you’ll add. There is a 10$ day permit fee that helps keep our parks open and beautiful for hikers like you!

Happy Hiking!

Bergen is an animal lover, arts and crafts dabbler, and board game enthusiast.In her free time she likes to read, and she runs a horror review blog. She has lived in Colorado all her life, except for a year she spent studying abroad in Wales: she has been to 15 countries and three continents and has ambitions to make it to many more. People come from all over to go camping and hiking in the Boulder area, and she gets to do it every weekend! She looks forward to writing about one of her favorite topics.