Backpack to Kelly Lake In State Forest SP

Rate this Adventure Colorado Kelly Lake Trailhead

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.

Pack List

  • Backpack
  • Tent (if you're camping)
  • Sleeping bag (If you're camping)
  • Sleeping pad/improvised floaty
  • Hiking shoe
  • Camera
  • Trekking Poles
  • Headlamp
  • Light food
Read More

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

Share

Activities:

Backpacking, Camping, Chillin, Fishing, Hiking, Photography, Swimming

Skill Level:

Intermediate

Season:

Spring, Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:

Out-and-Back

Distance:

13.2 Miles

Elev. Gain:

2624 Feet

Features:

Dog Friendly
Forest
Lake
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

How to Get There

Have you done this adventure? Have something to add? You could be the first to leave a review!

Added by Will McKay

Environmentalist and Photographer. @wills_stills

More Adventures Nearby

Camp at Silver Queen Campground

Colorado / Silver Queen Campground

To start it off, head out from Aspen on Maroon Creek Road.

Billy DiMirra
3 Saves

Hike the Ypsilon Lake Trail

Colorado / Lawn Lake Trailhead

To get to the trailhead, enter Rocky Mountain National Park on the 36.

Breanne McNitt
4 Saves

Hike the Jud Wiebe Trail

Colorado / Jud Wiebe Trailhead (N Aspen St)

The Jud Wiebe can be accessed from two trailheads:  1) The top of North Aspen St (opposite direction of the Gondola) and across the bridge on the left (where this adventure starts) 2) North Oak St - .

Geoff Turnley
7 Saves