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An awesome backpacking route that heads up to Needle Eye Tunnel

Liz

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Map Key

13.4

Miles

21.6

KM

Out and Back

11,311' 3,448 m

High

9,230' 2,813 m

Low

2,963' 903 m

Up

2,962' 903 m

Down

8%

Avg Grade (5°)

34%

Max Grade (19°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Commonly Backpacked · Fall Colors · Historical Significance · Lake · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Overview

With several camping options, and a trip up to the Needle Eye Tunnel, this hike is a great multi-day backpacking adventure.

Description

From East Portal parking, take South Boulder Creek Trail up the gentle climb until you reach Forest Lakes Trail. As you climb, the grade starts to increase, but the scenery improves to match. When you hit Arapaho Lakes Trail, you have a choice. You can take the side path and go find camping for the night (if backpacking), or continue up the trail to Forest Lake. The benefit of camping at Arapaho Lakes is that you can set up camp and leave it as a base camp for a couple of nights, the altitude is a bit lower (and therefore it's easier to sleep), and you're farther away from the busy dirt road that heads up to the tunnel.

The next day, head up to join the road for a brief spell and head up to the Needle Eye Tunnel. The tunnel is barricaded (DO NOT ENTER) but there is a trail over the tunnel if you'd like to go inspect the old rail tressels on the otherside. From here, head back down to camp Arapaho Lakes. The next day, it's a quick hike back to your car at the trailhead.

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Liz

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  5.0 from 1 vote

#2214

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Recommended Route Rankings

#353

in Colorado

#2,214

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Photos

Upper Forest Lake.
Oct 23, 2016 near Winter…, CO
The view from Needles Eye.
May 3, 2015 near Fraser, CO
Moffet Tunnel  (east portal)
May 3, 2015 near Winter…, CO

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