Hessie Trailhead

Hessie Trailhead provides access to Indian Peaks Wilderness and  Devils Thumb,  Lost Lake,  King Lake,  Woodland Lake and  Diamond Lake trails. Approximately one mile of trails leading west lie outside the Indian Peaks boundary. West of the boundary, wilderness regulations apply and permits are required for camping. This trailhead is extremely popular during the summer months and parking is limited. Please use the Boulder County Hessie Shuttle on summer and fall weekends and holidays. In winter, access is typically from the town of Eldora. Parking is limited and located near the trailhead and Hessie Cabin.

At a Glance

Permit Info: This trailhead accesses the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area:
  • Camping permits required for all overnight trips between June 1 and September 15. Overnight permits cost $5 per group, per trip from June 1 through September 15.
  • Organized groups are required to have a permit for both camping and day hiking year round. Day hiking permits are free.
Usage: Heavy
Restrictions: Indian Peak Wilderness restrictions apply:
  • Motorized equipment and mechanized transportation are prohibited.
  • Pets must be on a hand-held leash at all times.
  • Campfires are prohibited year round.
  • Campsites must be at least 100 feet away from water and trail.
  • Group size is limited to 12 (people and livestock combined).
  • Processed weed-free feed is required for stock.
  • Practice Leave No Trace principles.
Fishing and hunting: permitted in accordance with regulations established by the Colorado Parks & Wildlife.
Closest Towns: Nederland, Colorado
Water: No
Restroom: No
Operated By: U.S. Forest Service

General Information


From Nederland, head south on Colorado Highway 119 for 0.6 miles. Turn west onto County Road 130, signed for Eldora. Follow the paved road through the valley to the Town of Eldora, where the pavement ends. Continue beyond the end of the pavement for 0.75 miles to the fork in the road. The left fork goes to Hessie Trailhead.


Day Hiking

Recreation areas with activity Day Hiking:


Recreation areas with activity Backpacking:

XC Skiing/Snowshoeing

Recreation areas with activity XC Skiing/Snowshoeing: Boulder County Transportation Department plows County Road 130 to the end of the pavement at the west end of the Town of Eldora. Consequently, most winter parking is adjacent to the road. Respect private property and do not block driveways or traffic. One mile of snow-packed road beyond the snow closure takes skiers and snowshoers to Hessie Trailhead. Lost Lake is a popular destination for those seeking a shorter adventure; those with more time and stamina (and a good sense of direction doesn't hurt) may head farther up Devils Thumb Trail to Jasper Lake or Devils Thumb Lake.
Warming Shelters none

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