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Red Deer Lake

Intermediate

Trail

14.2 mile 22.9 kilometer out and back
95% Runnable
Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 1,725' 526 m
Descent: -1,725' -526 m
High: 10,372' 3,161 m
Low: 8,703' 2,653 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 17% (10°)

Dogs

Leashed
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Trail shared by Jared Crockett

A beautiful creekside run in an awesome mountain setting!

Jared Crockett

Features Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildlife

Dogs prohibited between December 1 and April 30.

Overview

These trails run through beautiful scenery along a pristine creek. They eventually lead you to a fabulous little lake for camping and fishing (or just a run).

Need to Know

The first mile of trail is day use only. The next three miles is open to dispersed camping and no permit is required. West of the Middle Saint Vrain 4X4 TH is the Indian Peaks wilderness boundary. Inside the Indian Peaks Wilderness, campfires are not allowed. Year-round camping permit requirements exist for all groups between June 1 and September 15. Overnight permits are $5 per group, per trip from June 1 through September 15. Groups of more than 12 are not permitted. Packstock restrictions apply.

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).

Description

This run is in a beautiful setting, running up the St. Vrain drainage. There are beautiful colors here in the fall. It's possible to encounter elk and moose along this trail, so keep an eye out.

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.

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Check-Ins

Sep 15, 2018
Sarah M
Great easy run that's mostly shaded. I got to the TH at 8:30 and it was mostly empty today. 14mi
Jun 17, 2018
Bridget Toomey
Did ~12 miles of the trail. Walked from the parking by Peaceful Valley; next time I'll park beyond Camp Dick to have more energy left for the trail!
Jul 15, 2017
Courtney Peck
Only did six miles out and back. Very technical trail but quiet and beautiful. 6mi
Jul 12, 2017
Susie Gallaudet
Great run with lots of water for dogs. High ridges walls keep it nicely shaded for ascent.

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 14 votes

#1

in Ward

#590

Overall
  4.5 from 14 votes
5 Star
57%
4 Star
36%
3 Star
7%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Run Rankings

#1

in Ward

#114

in Colorado

#590

Overall
35 Views Last Month
12,356 Since Mar 13, 2015
Intermediate

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Photos

Come for the run, stay for the beauty!
Mar 13, 2015 near Nederland, CO
Sawtooth mountain watching over you on Buchanan Pass Trail.
Mar 13, 2015 near Nederland, CO
Waterfalls and snow in mid-July, as clear as an azure sky of deepest summer.
Jul 18, 2019 near Nederland, CO
Looking west into Indian Peaks Wilderness
Aug 3, 2017 near Nederland, CO
Near the intersection with the St. Vrain Glacier trail.
Mar 13, 2015 near Nederland, CO
Timberline Falls
Jul 17, 2017 near Nederland, CO

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