Summer is almost over! Ugh!
If you’re getting a case of FOMO from all of your friends’ pictures of beautiful hikes, here are five lakes you need to see before the summer ends and fall hits.
Hanging Lake, Glenwood Springs
Courtesy of Shotzr, Photo by Nicole Grierson (@nicolelynn)
Named one of Colorado’s National Natural Landmarks, Hanging Lake is one of the more popular lakes to go to. While the distance is three miles, it may feel longer than that. The trail itself is a steep climb up. As always, the views pay off for the work you put into the trail; waterfalls and the beautiful waters await for anyone who’s up for the challenge. This lake is for eyes only because of the unique ecosystem, and while it is free to go to, you must have a permit to hike here.
St. Mary’s Glacier, Idaho Springs
Courtesy of Shotzr, Photo by Derek Johnson (@djvisuals)
Price: $5 parking permit required (Psst … they’re available in the parking lot.)
St. Mary’s Glacier has two major differences from the Hanging Lake. One, fur friends are allowed here so you can bring Spot along with you. Two, this is a swimming lake, but please exercise caution because the lake is being fed by a glacier. The water will be freezing, but will offer a great way to cool off. The hike is rated as moderate but is fairly short at just under two miles. The first section is pretty dry and rocky, but as you ascend up into the colder climate it can get dicey, so wear sensible hiking boots and you should be just fine! It's also a great hike to blaze a trail on any time of the year!
Lake Dillon, Summit County
Courtesy of Shotzr, Photo by Mark Lemmons (@marklemmons)
Price: FREE (except for camping, of course)
Lake Dillon is the perfect way to spend any summer evening in this lake town. If you’re looking for an Insta-worthy pic with your friends, you have over 20 miles of shoreline and awe-inspiring mountainous backdrop for you to choose from. Lake Dillon offers boating, kayaking, and even sailing lessons. Campsites and RV sites are available to anyone who’s looking to spend an entire weekend here. And why wouldn’t you? With summer concerts, amazing restaurants, and sick jeep tours, there’s always something to do in Summit County. Plus, did you know that the lake is the former site of a small town?
Grand Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park
Courtesy of Shotzr, Photo by Darlene Sours (@disphoto)
Price: If entering through the National Park, a Day Pass is $25
If you thought this list wasn’t going to include another small lake town with jaw-dropping views, you thought wrong. The town is completely walkable, making it easy for any parents who want to visit because everything is accessible by foot. There are also many trails to choose from at different experience levels. From easy ones like Adams Falls (0.7 miles) to difficult hikes like Mount Ida Trail (9.2 miles), Grand Lake is packed with outdoor activities for everyone.
Grand Mesa Lakes, Grand Mesa National Forest
Courtesy of Grand Mesa Lodge (Facebook)
Prepare yourself. This forest is one of the largest flat-top mountains in the world and it includes *ahem* Three. Hundred. Lakes. 300 lakes, ya’ll. High altitudes mean cooler temperatures, so if you’re really looking to escape the last bit of summer heat, this is your destination for cool sensations. It’s also a great place for a camping weekend. Hotchkiss, Delta, and other towns surround the area for Coloradans and tourists to visit and eat. Some areas are much more popular than others such as Crag Crest Trail (about 12 miles). If you’re looking for complete solitude, look for Military Park or Stell Lake Dam. Many of the lakes are only accessible by foot or horseback. Know before you go that it is advised to know weather and fire conditions before you plan your trip.
Have you been to any of these lakes? Did we miss any lakes on this list? Let us know below!