Added by Will McKay
Who doesn't love mountain lakes? Well one of the most scenic and unvisited is Kelly Lake in State Forest State Park, Colorado.
Round trip will take you along 13.2 beautiful miles of Northern Colorado backcountry. Starting from the trail head which can be found within the entrance of the park (near the horse ring and car camping), you'll head into some beautiful backcountry. Before you reach the woods, a 4x4 trail will be your main path for about 4 miles. Once finishing the 4x4 path, you'll hike through a smaller forest that eventually opens up into one of the biggest aspen groves I've personally ever seen.
If you continue up the trail, while taking the occasional breather of course, you'll end up in some seriously pretty scenery.
Now I don't want to spoil it for you but just imagine a lake surrounded by mountains and forests... or simply look at the photos above.
Now this is a pretty long hike that WILL WORK YOUR LEGS. So, you've been warned! You might just want to camp there for the night since it's damn beautiful.
Regarding campsites, they can be found scattered along the shoreline of the lake but please, camp at least 200 ft from the nearest water source and try your hardest to practice Leave No Trace Ethics. You'll want to preserve this beautiful place for generations to come. Also, you'll need a fly and lure permit for fishing.
- Tent (if you're camping)
- Sleeping bag (If you're camping)
- Sleeping pad/improvised floaty
- Hiking shoe
- Trekking Poles
- Light food
Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.
Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More
Backpacking, Camping, Chillin, Fishing, Hiking, Photography, Swimming
Spring, Summer, Autumn
Are we missing something?Suggest an edit
ReviewsLeave a Review
Have you done this adventure? Have something to add? You could be the first to leave a review!
More Adventures Nearby
Hike to "The A" via the Foothills Trail
Colorado / Maxwell Natural Area
Why is there an A on the side of the mountain? The "A" stands for Aggies. When Colorado State University was first founded in 1870, it was originally called Colorado Agricultural College.
Hike Arthur's Rock in Lory State Park
Colorado / Arthur's Rock Trail trailhead
The climb to the summit of Arthur's Rock in Lory State Park provides relative isolation and solitude just 30 minutes from downtown Fort Collins along with great hiking, trail running, mountain biking.