High Lonesome (#7)

Length: 17.8 miles from Monarch Lake Trailhead to Rollins Pass ONE-WAY

Elevation: 8,300 feet at Monarch Lake Trailhead; 9,920 feet at Devil's Thumb Park

Trail Description: Begin at the Monarch Lake Trailhead. The first section of the High Lonesome Trail goes up to Strawberry Bench, through quite a bit of dead Lodgepole Pine, before levelling out in the Forest.  Some sections of this trail are coincident with old roads and some active OHV use area, before approaching the Junco Lake Trailhead. Continue left, uphill, on a steep and rocky trail. The trail follows the Continental Divide through the Indian Peaks Wilderness for 6 miles. The trail terminates at the Rollins Pass Trailhead on the Corona Pass Road 149. 

Unlike other trails, the High Lonesome trail does not follow a major creek, so water should be carried enroute.

Download a trail summary here.

View a trail map here.

At a Glance

Fees: Parking in the Arapaho National Recreation Area at Monarch Lake requires a daily use fee. America the Beautiful Interagency Passes accepted.
Permit Info: Permits are required for overnight stays in the Indian Peaks Wilderness from June 1 to September 15. Additional permit requirements exist for large and organized groups.
Usage: Light
Best Season: Hiking conditions are best from July through September.
Restrictions: Portions of the High Lonesome trail are located within the Indian Peaks Wilderness, therefore Wilderness regulations apply:
  • Permits are required for overnight stays in the Indian Peaks Wilderness from June 1 to September 15
  • Mechanized/motorized travel is prohibited.
  • Do not camp or build campfires within 100 feet of developed trails or bodies of water.
  • Group size is limited to 12 people and/or livestock.
  • Dogs must be on a leash at all times.
  • Follow the Leave No Trace principles.
Unless seasonal restrictions are in effect, campfires must be attended at all times and cold to the touch with the bare hand before being abandoned. Collection of dead and down wood is allowed; do not break branches from standing trees for firewood.
Closest Towns: Granby, Tabernash, Winter Park
Water: No streams; advised to bring and carry water.
Restroom: Practice Leave No Trace principles.
Operated By: U.S. Forest Service

General Information


There are many ways to access this trail:

  • Via the Monarch Lake Trailhead: Take Highway 34 to County Road 6, 5.4 miles north of Granby and 8.9 miles south of Grand Lake. County Road 6 (NFSR 125) is a 9.4 miles improved road along Granby Reservoir to Monarch Lake where parking is available.
  • Via the Junco Lake Trailhead: There is also a mid access by taking Highway 40 to County Road 83, just outside of the town of Tabernash. County Road 83 soon forks. Take a left at the fork, continue about 9 miles to Meadow Creek Reservoir from Highway 40. Continue around the east side of the reservoir for 3 miles to the High Lonesome TH. This is useful for hiking, bicycling and horse riding, with good trailer parking at the Junco Lake Trailhead.
  • Via the Devil's Thumb Park Trailhead: Take US Highway 40 to the North side of the Town of Fraser, to County Road 8.  Follow this residential, paved route, until it turns to dirt and forks with County Road 81.  Continue straight ahead on this County Road is a primitive dirt road through the Forest, heading North.  It will eventually become Forest Road 128, which is also known as the Waterboard Road.This is a windy road, with some steep ups and downs.  It is only 1 mile from the Forest Boundary to NFSR 128.2C, which is the access to the Devil’s Thumb Park Trailhead.  Please note that this Trailhead is very tight.  Trailers are not recommended here.


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