Sprague Lake

Rocky Mountain National Park
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Sprague Lake

Distance: 1.3km
Elevation: 10m
Time: 0.5-1h

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Everybody should hike to Sprague Lake. The Sprague Lake hike is the hike you need to do if you only have a few hours to spend in 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 Rocky Mountain National Park.

Getting there

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 9.7km and turn left on Sprague Lake Road, following the signs. The road dead-ends into the parking lot for Sprague Lake.


When to do

Year-round (check road conditions)

Backcountry Campsites

Upper Wind River campground


In parking lot

Family friendly


Route Signage


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Detailed Description

Sprague Lake is a short hike, less than a 1.6km, 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 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.

Insider Hints

  • 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.


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