Red Deer Lake
ElevationAscent: 1,725' 526 m
Descent: -1,725' -526 m
High: 10,372' 3,161 m
Low: 8,703' 2,653 m
GradeAvg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 17% (10°)
Current trail conditions
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“A beautiful creekside hike in an awesome mountain setting!”— Jared Crockett
From Nederland, travel approximately 18 miles north on Colorado Highway 72. Look for signs for Peaceful Valley and Camp Dick Campgrounds. There is parking for many vehicles west of the campgrounds (drive through the campgrounds to get to the parking).
The Buchanan Pass Trail meanders along the side of St. Vrain creek making its way up the valley towards the high peaks in the west. After about 4 miles, there is another trailhead - this is where the 4WD road ends. It's possible to turn this trail into a loop by following the 4WD road back down. Continue upward and you're rewarded with stunning views of some of the Indian Peaks. Sawtooth mountain is especially awesome looking from here.
For those wanting to continue onward, the trail begins a very large switchback at this point. It heads north toward the St. Vrain Glacier. After a mile or two the trail will intersect with the St. Vrain Glacier trail which, of course, will take you up to the glacier. Stay on the Buchanan Pass trail and it will cross the creek and head back down south. Note, the foot bridge over this creek was washed out the last time I was there.
Another mile or so and the trail intersects with the Red Deer Lake Trail. This trail is easy to miss, it's a sharp right hand turn (to the west) in the midst of the woods. This trail takes you up to Red Deer Lake, which is a beautiful alpine lake. It's worth it for the views and the pristine setting. If you're into this sort of thing, this is also a great spot for camping and fishing.
Land Manager: USFS - Boulder Ranger District Office