Backpack to Kelly Lake In State Forest SP

Kelly Lake Trailhead - Search Nearby - 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.

Distance

13.2 Miles RT

Elevation Gain

2624 ft Gain

Type

Out-and-Back

Activities

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

Dog Friendly
Forest
Lake
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Nearby Lodging

Estes Park KOA

Estes Park, Colorado

Steamboat Springs KOA

Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Fort Collins / Lakeside KOA

Fort Collins, Colorado

Laramie KOA

Laramie

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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