Watanga Lake Trail
ElevationAscent: 1,045' 318 m
Descent: -24' -7 m
High: 10,850' 3,307 m
Low: 9,819' 2,993 m
GradeAvg Grade: 10% (6°)
Max Grade: 31% (17°)
Popular runs nearby
Cascade Falls and Big Pool
7.5 mi 12.0 km • Loop • 559 ft Ascent 170.27 m Ascent
Red Deer Lake
14.2 mi 22.9 km • Out and Back • 1,725 ft Ascent 525.85 m Ascent
7.7 mi 12.4 km • Out and Back • 2,662 ft Ascent 811.3 m Ascent
Long Lake Loop
3.6 mi 5.8 km • Loop • 294 ft Ascent 89.63 m Ascent
Bear Lake Trail
0.6 mi 1.0 km • Loop • 45 ft Ascent 13.78 m Ascent
Best of Bear Lake Area Loop
5.7 mi 9.1 km • Loop • 1,293 ft Ascent 394.25 m Ascent
“A lesser known trail in Indian Peaks up to alpine lakes.”— Blake Calvert
Features Commonly Backpacked · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers
Need to Know
To access the trail, start on the Roaring Fork Trail # 3. Roaring Fork Trail climbs very steeply in the first mile, then moderates along the creek to the Watanga Lake - Stone Lake fork, about 2.6 miles in. Go left at the fork for Watanga, or right for the Roaring Fork Trail # 3 and Stone Lake.
Most people won't go this far due to the steep start. Good for you! You just scored a trail to a lake with minimal people on the edge of Rocky Mountain National Park!
Past the fork, the trail gets progressively steeper and more open until you crest a small ridge and descend into the lake area valley. Enjoy the beautiful views!
I don't recommend running the first mile from the trailhead in the late afternoon as there is limited tree cover in this very steep section. It can be very hot in the summer! After the steep section, you enter a lush forest and run along the creek most of the way to the fork.
Land Manager: USFS - Arapaho & Roosevelt National Forests Office