Columbine Lake Trail #11.1


The lake is situated below Mt. Neva. It is a shallow lake, with a maximum depth of 8 feet containing rainbow and cutthroat trout. Columbine Lake offers day hikers a beautiful setting for a leisurely lunch and is well worth the hike through the wet meadows. Camping is permitted, but no campfires are allowed. Remnants of snow fields usually remain along the trail until the first or second week of July. At the Junco Lake Trailhead, the trail begins as an old jeep road now closed to motorized vehicles. 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. The left fork goes on a narrow footpath to Caribou Pass. The Columbine Lake Trail enters the forest where it climbs to a plateau, located 2 miles from the trailhead. For the next .5 mile, the trail skirts marshy meadows. At the southern end of these meadows, the trail meets Meadow Creek, where it becomes steep and rocky. From the creek, the trail heads left over boulders before turning again towards the creek. The trail then climbs alongside the creek to a smaller second plateau and another marshy meadow. At the end of this meadow, the trail then climbs to timberline, still following the creek, and ends at Columbine Lake.

At a Glance

Area Amenities: Tent camping,Fee charged for some activities
Permit Info: Permits are required for overnight stays in the Indian Peaks Wilderness (IPW) from June 1 to September 15. Additional permit requirements exist for large and organized groups.
Usage: Light
Restrictions: Columbine Lake Trail is located within the Indian Peaks Wilderness. 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 Leave No Trace principles.
Closest Towns: Tabernash, Fraser, Winter Park
Passes: Parking in the Arapaho National Recreation Area (ANRA) at Junco Lake TH requires a daily use fee. $5 daily fee. Annual passes available.
Information Center: Sulphur Ranger District, 9 Ten Mile Drive, PO Box 10, Granby, CO 80446, Phone: 970-887-4100, Fax: 970-887-4111, Contact Us

General Information


Head north on U.S. Highway 40 north out of Fraser. Turn right (east) onto County Road 83. When the road forks, go left onto County Road 84 (NFSR 129). Travel 11 miles to the Junco Lake Trailhead parking area. Hike about 1.8 miles on the Caribou Pass Trail #11 to the Columbine Lake Trail #11.1. It is approximately 1.3 miles east to the lake.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information



Hide detail HIDE

Day Hiking

Accessed via Junco Lake Trailhead.


Fee charged for some activities
Tent camping

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Areas & Activities

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Campgrounds At-A-Glance


  Area/Length : 
2.8 miles

  Latitude : 

  Longitude : 

  Elevation : 
10,080 ft - 11,060 ft