Attractions and Considerations:
Columbine Lake offers day hikers a beautiful setting for a leisurely lunch and is well worth the hike through the wet meadows. Blazes mark the trail, enabling hikers to find their way along a path often snow covered in early July. Fishing is fair. Campfires are not permitted around Columbine Lake.
Much of this trail is located within the Indian Peaks Wilderness - regulations apply. A permit is required for overnight users between June 1 and September 15.
This short trail is most commonly used by day hikers. It follows an old jeep road and reaches a junction with the Caribou Pass Trail at 1.7 miles. The Columbine Lake Trail continues south along the road, which becomes a trail after 1.8 miles. Here the trail enters a lodgepole pine, Engelmann spruce forest where it climbs to a plateau 2 miles from the trailhead. For the next half mile the trail mucks around through marshy meadows covered with elephantella, marsh marigold, and globeflowers.
At the southern end of these meadows the trail meets Meadow Creek where the path becomes steep and rocky. Off to the right, Meadow Creek's water rushes by banks bordered with brightly colored parry primrose.
From the creek the path heads left over boulders and through a spruce fir forest before once again turning to join the creek. Together the creek and trail climb a short distance to a second level containing still another soggy meadow. Although the under footing is wet, the view of Middle Park and the Fraser Valley and the surrounding mountains, including Winter Park Ski Area, is excellent. At the end of the meadow and at timberline is Columbine Lake, 2.8 miles from the trailhead.
The shallow, green lake is bordered on its northern shores with large granite ledges interspersed with subalpine fir and Engelmann spruce. Lush green grass leads to the horseshoe of rock wall surrounding the southern lake shore.
Directions: From Granby, Travel southeast on Highway 40 approximately 14 miles to County Road 84. Travel northeast for 6 miles to Forest Road 129, then east 6 miles to the Junco Lake Trailhead.
Elevation: 10,080 feet
Ending Elevation: 11,060 feet
Elevation Gain: 980 feet
Usage: Moderate to Heavy
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Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests, Colorado
Review by Wildernet Copyright © 2010 Wildernet.com all rights reserved.
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