Trappers Lake & Lodge


Trappers Lake in late autumn

Trappers Lake is known as the "Cradle of Wilderness." At approximately 302 surface acres, the lake contains a strain of native cutthroat trout and the Colorado Division of Wildlife operates a spawn collection station at the Cabin Creek inlet during May and June. 

Trappers Lake itself lies completely within Flat Tops Wilderness; motorized boats and wheeled carts for boat transport are prohibited.

Trappers Lake Lodge rents cabins and boats, and there are 5 Forest Service campgrounds nearby.  Dispersed camping is prohibited within 1/4 mile of Trappers Lake and the campgrounds.

The video below is provided courtesy of Flattopsbyway. A downloadable audio tour of the Flat Tops Trail Scenic and Historic Byway is also available.

At a Glance

Reservations: Rentals: (970) 878-3336,
Rentals & Guides: Trappers Lake Lodge rents boats and cabins.
Usage: Medium
Restrictions: No motorized boating.  Boats must be transported approximately 1/4 mile from the parking area to the lake: wheeled carts are prohibited.

See: Blanco Ranger District and Flat Tops Wilderness Regulations
Closest Towns: Meeker is the nearest place to purchase gasoline and supplies.

General Information


Driving Directions: from Denver, CO via 1-70

Take I-70 West from Denver, Take the Rifle/Meeker exit, turn right at the light. Drive through Rifle – Hwy 13 will take you to Meeker, which is 39 miles from Rifle. After you pass through Meeker – there will be a sign for Trappers Lake. This is County Rd 8 (also known as the Scenic Byway) – Turn Right onto CR 8. Travel on CR 8 for 31 miles (on pavement), once you pass from pavement to a dirt road, begin clocking 10 miles. At or near the 10 mile mark, you will see another sign on the right hand side of the road for Trappers Lake.

General Notes:

Trappers Lake - Cradle of Wilderness

In the summer of 1919, the Forest Service dispatched its first landscape architect to Trappers Lake with instructions to survey 100 planned summer home sites and a road around the lake.  The 27 year old surveyor, Arthur H. Carhart, completed his plan and returned to Denver.  But he closed his report with a strongly-worded recommendation that the area remain roadless and undeveloped. "There are a number of places with scenic values of such great worth that they are rightfully the property of all people.  They should be preserved for all time for the people of the Nation and the world.  Trappers Lake is unquestionably a candidate for that classification."

In an unprecedented move, the Forest Service set the plans aside for further study and the proposed road was never built.  Mr. Carhart went on to work with conservationist Aldo Leopold. The memorandum detailing their shared approach to preservation became the foundation and heart of the Wilderness concept.

In 1964, the Wilderness Act was signed into law. It set aside nine million acres of National Forest lands for the use and enjoyment of future generations. Since then, the system has grown to encompass lands in National Parks, Forests and Wildlife Refuges, as well as properties managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The Flat Tops Wilderness, home to Trappers Lake, was designated in 1975.

Video of the Cradle of Wilderness Commemoration Event in 2014:

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Camping & Cabins

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Nature Viewing

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Areas & Activities


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Recreation Quicksheets