Roadtrip to the Rockies: Diamond Lake

November 4, 2017

Trail(s): Diamond Lake Trail
Location: Fourth of July Road
Fees: Free
Website: http://www.protrails.com/trail/102/indian-peaks-wilderness-area-diamond-lake
Elevation: 10,172-10,940 feet
Distance: 5.3 miles roundtrip

We sure enjoyed a beautiful hike today.  We were originally planning to hike 8.8 miles to Jasper Lake, but we heard much of the lake had been drained for the season, so when we saw Fourth of July Road was still open for the winter, we drove up the dirt road to Diamond Lake Trailhead.  The hike to Diamond Lake was much shorter, 5.3 miles, but with the looming ominous clouds overhead, a shorter hike seemed like a good choice.

The path starts at 10,172 feet, thus ice and snow lighted coated the surrounding area. We carefully trekked across the intermittent icy as a light snow fell upon us.  We soon realized there was not enough tacky snow to cover the slick ice to help with traction, so we strapped on our micro-spikes for easier hiking.  We still took it slowly as not all of us had traction devices, though we were far more prepared than fellow hikers who showed up in shorts and Tevas!

The trail was simply spectacular.  We spent most of our time in the evergreen forest though occasionally it opened up providing a lovely view of snow dusted mountains.  To my surprise, we passed several waterfalls, which of course is one of my favorite features on hikes.  The combined tumbling water, ice-cycles, and snow proved picturesque.  We stopped multiple times to admire the snow-covered creeks and cascades.

We continued through the forest enjoying the surprisingly nice weather despite cloudy skies.  We found the trees served as great protection from the gusting wind that chilled us to the bone once we reached the remarkable scenic lake.  We added layers swiftly, including putting Paul’s extra jacket on Utani.  We snacked quickly as ducked into a patch of trees near the icy lake before we hustled back to the trail for warmth.

The hike back down the trail took almost as long as the climb up as sure footing was sometimes elusive.  Overall, however, the hike was pretty easy as the elevation gain to the lake at 10, 940 feet was minimal.  I really liked this trek.  It was just beautiful!  The trail is supposed to be spectacular in the summer too, so I may have to repeat it, eventhough I’d rather explore new ones.  ETB

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A Lovely Snowshoe at Lost Lake Trail

March 19, 2016

Lost Lake Trail
Location: Near Eldora
Fees: None
Website: http://www.backpacker.com/trips/colorado/denver/boulder-co-lost-lake-winter-route/
Elevation: 9,009-9,786 feet
Distance: 5 miles roundtrip
Hours: Sunrise to Sunset daily

Today we snowshoed Lost Lake Trail.  I have to say, this may have been the best snowshoe I have ever completed.  For starters, the snow was perfect!  At the beginning of the hike where we followed Hessie Road, there was a nice snowpack. Many times when we start a trail, there isn’t enough snow for snowshoes and spikes are hardly warranted.  Today, we probably could have just donned spikes, but the snow was soft and deep enough to where snowshoes worked as well, and we didn’t have to take them off and on throughout the hike!

Sometimes, without a GPS, it has been quite hard to determine which ski tracks follow the trail.  Not so today.  We followed the signs on the well-marked trail and trekked along the well-used path right to Lost Lake.  It was nice to reach our final destination as at times, we have had to turn around.

The path led us through a snow-covered evergreens on a low-grade climb.  The five-mile roundtrip which was both easy and fun provided fantastic views of the valley below as well as the Eldora Ski Mountain.

Even better, was the blue-bird sky.  We couldn’t have asked for a nicer day.  ETB

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