Caribou Pass (#11)

Length: 4.2 miles ONE WAY

Elevation: 10,080 feet at Junco Lake Trailhead; 11,906 feet at Caribou Pass

Trail Description: At the Junco Lake Trailhead, the trail begins as an old jeep road. After a mile, the road forks and the right-hand fork leads to several tumbled down log cabins beside Meadow Creek. Following the left fork, the road will skirt the northern edge of a long open meadow through which Meadow Creek flows. Here the trail enters the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area. The trail continues to a junction. The right fork goes to Columbine Lake Trail (#11.1) and Mt. Neva. The left fork goes on a narrow footpath to Caribou Pass. Rock cairns mark the trail even though the trail is well defined. From Caribou Pass you can continue on to Arapaho Pass (elevation 11,906’) and from there continue down to Monarch Lake Trailhead, or return to Junco Lake Trailhead.

Alternatively, from Monarch Lake Trailhead follow the trail on the west side of the lake for 1.5 miles to the fork and take the Arapaho Pass Trail (#6). The trail crosses a log bridge over Arapaho Creek 5.2 miles up the trail and then steepens to pass a large avalanche slide area, crossing several small brooks and emerging into Coyote Park (elevation 10,500’). This is a good camping area. Timberline marks the location of Caribou Lake (elevation 11,147’), located between Arapaho and Caribou Passes. The trail continues steeply up a series of switchbacks to Arapaho Pass and the Continental Divide.

View a printable trail profile here.

View a trail map here.

At a Glance

Fees: Parking in the Arapaho National Recreation Area at Junco Lake Trailhead requires a daily use fee. America the Beautiful Interagency Passes accepted.
Permit Info: Permits are required for overnight stays in the Indian Peak 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: Caribou Pass Trail is located within the Indian Peaks Wilderness, therefore wilderness regulations apply.
  • Permits are required for overnight stays from June 1 to September 15.
  • Mechanized/motorized travel is prohibited.
  • Group size is limited to 12 people and/or livestock.
  • Dogs must be on a leash at all times.
  • Follow 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, Grand Lake
Water: Lakes and streams; treat water for drinking.
Restroom: Pit toilet located at Junco Trailhead.
Operated By: U.S. Forest Service

General Information


Go north on U.S. Highway 40 from Fraser and turn right (east) onto Grand County Road 83. When this road forks, go left onto CGR 84 (NFSR 129) and travel 11 miles to a left spur going to the Junco Lake Trailhead.

Alternatively, from Granby, go north 5.5 miles on CO Highway 34 (9.5 miles south of Grand Lake) to Grand County Road 6 (NFSR 125) and travel 10 miles to the Monarch Lake Trailhead.


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