Hiking Project Logo

Rainbow Lakes

Intermediate
 4.6 (8) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A short, pleasant hike through pine forest past multiple alpine lakes.


Your Rating:      Clear Rating
Your Difficulty:
Your Favorites: Add to Favorites · Your List
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

2.5

Miles

4.0

KM

Out and Back

10,260' 3,127 m

High

9,967' 3,038 m

Low

293' 89 m

Up

293' 89 m

Down

4%

Avg Grade (3°)

11%

Max Grade (7°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Commonly Backpacked · Lake · River/Creek · Swimming · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Family Friendly This easy hike is great for kids! There are multiple lakes to stop along the way. It is also popular for first time backpackers who want to see what backpacking is all about.

Permits are required for overnight camping from June 1 - September 15.

Overview

This popular hike is easily accessible for all, especially families and beginner backpackers who are looking for an easily accessible target. The trail gently climbs to pass a few of the nine lakes and beaver ponds that are scattered around the area.

Description

The trail starts at the Rainbow Lakes Trailhead and immediately enters the Indian Peaks Wilderness as it starts the gentle climb towards Rainbow Lakes. The trail passes through dense forest as it skirts above the campground before passing the Arapaho Glacier Trail.

From there, it climbs along a small drainage on the way to the first of the Rainbow Lakes. Once at the first lake, the terrain gets rockier, but the trail doesn't deteriorate. Continue towards the multiple lakes and beaver ponds ahead through marshy meadows and a small creek crossing. Ahead, climb over a rock pile to get to the last lakes. The lake to the north of the trail presents awesome views towards the higher Indian Peaks.

A couple campsites are located around the last lakes at the end of the trail. Make sure to bring your fishing rod and license to enjoy the great angler territory.

Not all nine lakes are accessible by the main trail. Some people have made small paths to some of the other lakes which are not frequently visited.

Flora & Fauna

This area is popular for moose. Be careful, especially during mating season (fall) when the bulls are extra aggressive. The tall reeds and brush in the marshes can make moose hard to spot even when they're close (from personal experience, they have snuck up on me!).

Contacts

Shared By:

Sarah Baker

Trail Ratings

  4.6 from 8 votes

#1

in Nederland

#717

Overall
  4.6 from 8 votes
5 Star
63%
4 Star
38%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#1

in Nederland

#146

in Colorado

#717

Overall
389 Views Last Month
12,789 Since Jul 28, 2017
Intermediate

11%
0%
89%
0%
0%
0%

Photos

Rainbow Lakes after an early winter storm.
Jul 28, 2017 near Nederland, CO
Anglers testing out Rainbow Lakes on a beautiful fall day.
Jul 28, 2017 near Nederland, CO
Rainbow Lakes Trailhead Parking, Colorado
Mar 28, 2019 near Nederland, CO

0 Comments

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
All Clear 64 days ago See History
Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

Jul 25, 2020
Amy Navvab
Trailhead was empty when we got there 8am and full when we left at 10 3.7mi
Sep 26, 2019
Rachael Kern
Loved this hike, beautiful fall colors, hardly any other people, so peaceful. 2.5mi
Sep 16, 2019
Roman Georgi
Sep 2, 2019
Sean Eaton
Labor Day hike with kids. 1.5mi
Aug 18, 2019
Tyler Ditto
Aug 9, 2019
Brian Huber
Jul 28, 2019
Raluca B
Family hike 4.2mi
Jul 14, 2019
lindsey n.
2.5mi