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Junco Lake Loop

Intermediate/Difficult
 4.6 (7) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A challenging loop, technical in spots, but rewarding with valley views and countless alpine lakes.


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Map Key

22.2

Miles

35.8

KM

Point to Point

12,049' 3,673 m

High

9,684' 2,952 m

Low

4,972' 1,515 m

Up

4,962' 1,513 m

Down

8%

Avg Grade (5°)

44%

Max Grade (24°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Lake · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Overview

This is a great long hike that will give you outstanding views of the Fraser valley, an up close look at Devil's Thumb, and innumerable alpine lakes. There is some exposure on the way down from Caribou Pass Trail but nothing too bad! Even people afraid of heights will not have a problem.

Need to Know

Arapaho National Forest costs $5 per day. There is a pay station that accepts credit cards (?!) that you'll pass on your way to Meadow Creek Reservoir. You can also pay the volunteer at Junco Lake in cash; however, there are usually only volunteers on the weekends.

A CAMPING PERMIT is required between June 1st and September 15th; pass waived for wilderness overnight campers with Indian Peaks Pass. Many of the lakes close to the trail have designated campsites that you should try to use rather than making your own new campsite elsewhere.

Description

Begin at the Junco Lake Trailhead, in the Arapaho National Forest. Hike on the Columbine Trail before arriving at the High Lonesome Trail about 0.25 miles from the Junco Lake Trailhead.

High Lonesome will take you through forest and some small rolling hills; a great warm-up before the first big hill!

After 5-6 miles, you'll take a left to continue on High Lonesome (which is also the CDT) for a very steep climb over the next 2 to 3 miles.

Upon reaching Devil's Thumb, take the ridge on your right and look out for cairns. The trail should be obvious. You'll take this until reaching Devil's Thumb Trail #902, which will take you to the east side of the Continental Divide. Once on the east side, you'll head on a steep downhill past several alpine lakes.

Continue on Devil's Thumb Trail until reaching Diamond Lake Trail on your left. Diamond Lake will climb until eventually flattening out at Diamond Lake.

After you get to the lake, you'll head downhill, crossing several streams, until reaching the Arapaho Pass Trail on your left.

Arapahoe Pass is a steady but not-too-steep climb. At the top, you'll switch over to Caribou Pass Trail and have awesome views of the valley and alpine lakes below.

You'll continue on Caribou Pass Trail, all downhill, until you reach a junction with the Columbine Trail, and head back to the parking lot.

Flora & Fauna

Lots of wildflowers in the summer!

History & Background

There is some cool mining equipment about halfway up the Arapaho Pass Trail!

Contacts

Shared By:

Michael Tevebaugh

Trail Ratings

  4.6 from 7 votes

#847

Overall
  4.6 from 7 votes
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Recommended Route Rankings

#164

in Colorado

#847

Overall
1,206 Views Last Month
11,609 Since Aug 20, 2017
Intermediate/Difficult

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Photos

Leaving the Jasper Creek drainage for the Continental Divide on a sunny morning.
Aug 1, 2017 near Fraser, CO
Flowery meadows on a rainy day.
Aug 1, 2017 near Nederland, CO
Looking toward Devil's Thumb Peak, yeah!
Aug 25, 2015 near Fraser, CO
Summer flowers were crazy epic.
Jul 10, 2016 near Nederland, CO
View from the top
Aug 23, 2019 near Fraser, CO
This view looks down from the trail to Lake Dorothy, toward the end of the Caribou Pass Trail/continuation of the Arapahoe Pass Trail.
Jul 4, 2017 near Fraser, CO

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Weather


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Check-Ins

Jun 20, 2020
Katie Richardson
Passable w a few mid of large snow patches especially around diamond lake - no use for spikes or shoes. Jasper lake snow more traveled - no postholing 23.7mi
Aug 26, 2018
Matt Wrodarczyk