When spring makes its appearance in the Colorado Rockies, the people of the small towns scattered across the mountains rejoice in the sight of snowfall, sunshine and warmer days. As we approach mid-April, Mother Nature has given us days as warm as the ’50s and ’60s here in the high country and that made me realize, summer is just around the corner.
As much as I’ll miss winter, summer means hiking, paddle boarding, and camping. Today was the first time I felt excitement for longer days and summer outdoor activities. As we prepare for warmer weather, I’ll start posting weekly about my favorite hikes in Colorado.
This 7-mile hike will take the average hiker around 4 hours roundtrip. I consider this a moderate hike due to the altitude and length, but the elevation gain is slight at only 1000 ft. Most of the hike is very mild, but you’ll start to feel yourself huffing and puffing towards the end when you’re forced to make an uphill climb towards the lake.
What I love about this hike is the difference in scenery throughout the trail. In the beginning, the trail consists mostly of dense forests where sudden gaps in the trees will give you a glimpse of the mountains and a sprawling meadow. This scene alone gives you the motivation to continue along the trail to find out what type of views lie ahead.
Eventually, you make your way into this beautiful meadow known to have bright colored wildflowers during the peak of summer then you’ll start climbing uphill along a beautiful creek. When you make it to the end of the trail, you’ll find big boulders, vast mountain views and of course, the very pristine Lake Columbine.
My advice is to bring lunch because you’ll want to sit at the lake for a while to rest and take in the views. Also, be aware of the altitude if you’re visiting from lower elevations. The lake sits at 11,060 ft (3371 m) so it can be difficult to breathe if you’re not acclimated. Take your time, enjoy the views, and bring some food. We really loved this hike and I think you will too!
If you have any questions, let me know in the comments. Happy hiking!