Sprague Lake Hike
- Physical DifficultyThis is the average user-submitted rating on the physical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
- Technical DifficultyThis is the average user-submitted rating on the technical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
Everybody should hike to Sprague Lake in Colorado. The Sprague Lake hike is the trail you need to do, especially if you only have a few hours to spend in the Rocky Mountain National Park. This hike is short and easy. It’s a great walk for families, but still gives you unforgettable views. We think Sprague Lake is a great place to glimpse into the rest of the Rocky Mountain National Park.
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- Map Data: ©OpenStreetMap
- Tiles: ©CyclOSM
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Route Description for Sprague Lake Hike
Sprague Lake is a short hike, less than 1.6 km, but worth the stop. Whether you’re looking for a hike to do with a stroller or a recovery jaunt to shake out your legs from driving, Sprague Lake is a great place to enjoy the Rocky Mountain National Park’s views and wilderness. This is a great stop if you only have a short amount of time to spend in the park or if you are just passing through.
From the parking lot, head east toward the entrance to the lot and find the trail to Sprague Lake on the right side, across the bridge. When you reach Sprague Lake, turn right or left, staying on the main trail that borders the lake. The path is smooth and varies from hard packed gravel to a boardwalk. There are no turns to worry about as you hug the trail close to the lake. Make your way around, back to the parking lot.
On the west side of Sprague Lake, you’ll see Emerald Mountain in the distance. On the other side, looking toward the West, you’ll see, from left to right, Half Mountain, Thatchtop, Taylor Peak, Otis Peak, Hallett Peak, and Flattop Mountain. There’s a signpost along the lake with a picture of the peaks and matching names for your reference.
Sprague Lake is also a great place to rest and relax at one of the many picnic tables, grills, and wooded areas before heading out for the rest of your day.
History of Sprague Lake
The beautiful Sprague Lake sits on the south side of Glacier Creek, and is one of the prettiest and most accessible attractions in the Rocky Mountain National Park. It’s a popular spot for family excursions, largely due to the level and well-maintained path that skirts the shoreline. In addition, it’s a wonderful destination for anglers, with a well-stocked supply of brown trout and rainbow trout.
Sprague Lake gets its name from Abner Sprague, an early pioneer who settled in the Estes Park area in the 1870s. He built a ranch in Moraine Park, which later became a popular destination for hunting, fishing, dude ranching and even golfing. However, in 1910 he decided to construct another guest lodge in the area next to Sprague Lake. He envisaged the area as an ideal spot for recreation, and dammed the far end of the lake to improve the prospects for fishing.
The region later came under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service, and the lodge was destroyed in 1957. However, Abner Sprague’s legacy lives on in the name he gave to this picturesque lake. Furthermore, he also made history as the first person to pay an entrance fee for the Rocky Mountain National Park when the NPS started to charge for entry in 1939. This beautiful lake, with gorgeous views of the Continental Divide, including Flattop Mountain, Taylor Peak and Otis Peak, is an important piece of Rocky Mountain National Park history.
Want to find more amazing hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park? Check out Chasm Lake hike, Lake Haiyaha hike or the Sky Pond and Lake of Glass hike.
Insider Hints for Sprague Lake Hike
- For a longer hike, you can find more trails in the area starting here. Try Estes Cone.
- In the winter, there are a lot of snowshoeing trails in this area.
Getting to the Sprague Lake Hike Trailhead
To get to Sprague Lake from Estes Park, take highway 36 West and enter RMNP at the Beaver Meadows Entrance Station. Just after the pay station, turn left on Bear Lake Road. Follow the road for about 9.7 km and turn left on Sprague Lake Road, following the signs. The road meets a dead end at the parking lot for Sprague Lake.
Sprague Lake Hike Elevation Graph
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Sprague Lake Hike Reviews
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