Indian Peaks Wilderness – Lost Lake in Winter

Hiking to Lost Lake in Winter

At the end of March we went on a hike to Lost Lake, which is located just outside of Nederland.

The Hike

It is a relatively easy hike of 4.4 miles with roughly 800 feet elevation gain. The trek features beautiful views of the Indian Peaks.


You park on County Highway 130 in designated parking areas. When we got there at 8:30 am it was already starting to get busy. Lost Lake is a popular destination in the area, and there are also several other trail options that are possible. When we finished our hike around lunchtime the roadside parking was overflowing beyond the designated parking areas.

Hessie Road

In order to get the the Hessie Trail trailhead, you have to first walk half a mile down Hessie Road. In late March there was already considerable snowpack and we quickly realized that we did not need to use our snowshoes, so we attached them to our backpacks. It seems that well-traversed trails such as in this area, as well as Rocky Mountain National Park, often have dense snowpack. If a trail is snowpacked, you can still use snowshoes, but you can also just use microspikes, or even no traction at all.

On Hessie Road we had this lovely view of a mountain. Here it is with a wide-angle lens –

And this is the same mountain with my telephoto lens –

Hessie Trail

After walking along the flat Hessie Road for half a mile, we arrived at the Hessie Trailhead. The Hessie Trail wound through the woods and up the mountains.

Along the way there was this sweeping view of the valley –

From the trailhead, it is 1.1 miles to Lost Lake Trail junction.

Lost Lake

At about 2.4 miles in from the parking lot, we reached Lost Lake. For being so close to a town, I was surprised at how pristine and lovely it was.

This is a view of a mountain looking west from the east side of the lake.

Backcountry Skiing

During our trek we met a couple groups who were going to go backcountry skiing downhill a mountain in the area. It seems that the area around Lost Lake is popular for backcountry skiing. REI’s Powder Project, which maps out backcountry skiing trails, shows several options for backcounty skiing in the area.

Lost Lake

We kept walking along the east edge of the lake to get a better view of the mountain in front of us, where we could see the tracks left by backcountry skiers. How did people get up there?

Lost Lake

Lost Lake

We found out soon enough as we saw a couple people climbing up the mountain in their skis. We waited about an hour to see if we could catch them skiing down, but didn’t see them. It’s likely they skied down the other side of the mountain.

Indian Peaks

We had seen the Indian Peaks mountains previously from Brainard Lake and Long Lake, but the different view we saw from Lost Lake was also breathtaking.

Panorama of the Indian Peaks mountains looking north from the south edge of Lost Lake –

Lost Lake

Recommended as an Easy Hike

A relatively easy and short trek of 4.4 miles, hiking to Lost Lake is a great option for anyone, especially beginner hikers. It is also doable as a casual hike – we saw a few groups in sneakers and non-athletic clothing.

Overall, I was very impressed with how convenient the location is as well as the beautiful views of the mountains.

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  1. Pingback: 2019 Hiking Adventures in Review – Takahashi Outdoors

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