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    Columbine Lake via Caribou Pass Hike

    This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
    This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
    This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
    10.1 km
    This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
    319 m
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    Directions to Trailhead

    Looking for a hike that will get your blood pumping but won’t exhaust you? Columbine Lake via Caribou Pass Hike is a fantastic moderate hike in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. Though steep in places, this hike is not overwhelmingly challenging. The path will guide you through quintessential Colorado terrain: lush aspen forests, babbling brooks, and over a rocky talus field to Columbine Lake.

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    Route Description for Columbine Lake via Caribou Pass Hike

    Columbine Lake via Caribou Pass Hike is a great introductory hike in the Indian Peaks WIlderness. The trailhead for the hike off of Country Road 84, which is very rough and has plenty of potholes. Low clearance vehicles may have trouble navigating the road. Go slow and take a vehicle with high ground clearance when possible. Once you park and start the hike do not be surprised if you come across fallen trees, storms and high winds often down them in this area. Additionally, this trail is very rocky with plenty of exposed roots, so wear appropriate shoes. We’d also recommend bringing bug spray, this trail is notoriously buggy!

    Begin this hike from the Junco Lake Trailhead. Head east on the High Lonesome Trail and it will shortly merge onto the Caribou Pass Trail. This path will follow along the curves of the Meadow Creek and gain elevation as you progress. Continue through the wooded trail and past the vast meadow before you encounter a fork in the road. Veer right onto Columbine Lake Trail. This path will guide you back into the forest and the terrain will get increasingly rugged as you get closer to the lake. Mind your footing as you navigate the rock field before arriving at Columbine Lake. The gorgeous alpine lake is a reward in itself, but the views of the surrounding peaks are a bonus. You will get an up close and personal view of Mount Neva in the southeast, and views of Satanta Peak in the north!

    Explore the shoreline and enjoy the scenery before retracting your steps and heading back. As you descend, ensure to stay left at the first junction and straight at the second.

    Getting to the Columbine Lake via Caribou Pass Hike Trailhead

    Columbine Lake via Caribou Pass Hike begins at the Lake Junco Trailhead. The trailhead is located off Country Road 84 in the Arapaho National Recreation Area. Passes are required and can be purchased online or on-site. Note that Country Road 84 closes seasonally from mid-November to mid-June.

    Route Information

    • Backcountry Campground

      Yes, permits required.

    • When to do


    • Pets allowed

      Yes - On Leash

    • Family friendly

      Older Children only

    • Route Signage


    • Crowd Levels


    • Route Type

      Out and back

    Columbine Lake via Caribou Pass Hike Elevation Graph

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    Columbine Lake via Caribou Pass Hike Reviews

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