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    Lake of the Clouds 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.
    20.3 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.
    825 m
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    Directions to Trailhead

    The Lake of the Clouds Hike is a picturesque adventure on the western border of the Rocky Mountain National Park. Trek through the Coyote Valley along the Colorado River before ascending to the alpine lake that sits in the basin of the Never Summer Mountain Range peaks. Feel as though you are among the clouds as you relax on the shores of an alpine lake in the high-country.

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    Route Description for Lake of the Clouds Hike

    The Lake of the Clouds sits on the border of the Rocky Mountain National Park and the Never Summer Wilderness. The crystalline alpine lake sits between Howard Mountain and Mount Cirrus. This small lake reveals epic vistas of the looming Never Summer Mountains and the verdant woodlands of the Rocky Mountain National Park. This adventure ascends high elevations, so make sure you are acclimated to the area’s altitude and check the forecast to avoid getting caught in an afternoon storm. Furthermore, we highly recommend microspikes in the autumn and winter to navigate the icy and steep terrain. Note that park passes are required to hike these trails.

    Embark on your adventure from the Colorado River Trailhead. From here, trek near the Colorado River on the Colorado River Trail, and shortly after your departure from the trailhead, you will encounter an intersection. From here, veer left, and you will be diverted over the river and onto the Red Mountain Trail. Ascend the Red Mountain Trail as it curves you around to the confluence of Mosquito and Opposition Creeks. Shortly after crossing the creeks, you will encounter a junction. Here, keep right onto the Grand Ditch Trail. Hike along this route and take a break before your final push up to the lake. At the next fork in the road, turn left and ascend the steep alpine terrain to Lake of the Clouds.

    From here, you will be rewarded with an up close and personal view of the Never Summer Mountains. Revel in the grandeur of the alpine wilderness and admire the blue-hued lake. When you are done appreciating the views, retrace your steps along the path back to the trailhead.

    Getting to the Lake of the Clouds Hike Trailhead

    The Lake of the Clouds Hike departs from the Colorado River Trailhead off Trail Ridge Road.

    Route Information

    • Backcountry Campground


    • When to do


    • Pets allowed


    • Family friendly


    • Route Signage


    • Crowd Levels


    • Route Type

      Out and back

    Lake of the Clouds Hike Elevation Graph

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    Lake of the Clouds Hike Reviews

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