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Rainbow Lakes

Easy/Intermediate

Trail

2.5 mile 4.0 kilometer out and back
95% Runnable
Easy/Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 293' 89 m
Descent: -293' -89 m
High: 10,260' 3,127 m
Low: 9,967' 3,038 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 4% (3°)
Max Grade: 11% (7°)

Dogs

Leashed
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Trail shared by Sarah Baker

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

Sarah Baker

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

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

Overview

This popular run 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!).

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Sep 21, 2018
Keri Peacock Wilson

Trail Ratings

  4.6 from 8 votes

#2

in Nederland

#647

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

#2

in Nederland

#135

in Colorado

#647

Overall
117 Views Last Month
9,960 Since Jul 28, 2017
Easy/Intermediate

11%
89%
0%
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

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