Backpack to Red Deer Lake, CO

Colorado Middle Saint Vrain Rd. Trailhead

Added by Brynn Schmidt

Great backpacking distance for families (individuals too) with gorgeous hiking trails with waterfalls and along a river and a beautiful lake at destination. An awesome hidden gem in Indian Peaks Wilderness - not as crowded. There are wildlife in the area - moose and bear scat near our camp site and this is within easy driving distance for Boulder County - less than 45 minutes and one of the best breweries in CO is only about 20 miles away in Lyons.

This is an excellent place to take your family backpacking. It is a fairly easy trail and definitely a great one for kids. Take in the beautiful scenery while hiking through meadows, aspen and pine with incredible mountain views in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. 6.4 miles to Red Deer Lake with an elevation gain of 1900 feet.

Starts out a couple miles down the Middle St. Vrain Road off of Peak to Peak Hwy (Hwy 72) and past the Camp Dick campground. Look for a parking lot right past the campground for the trailhead (Hwy 72).

GPS Info. for Camp Dick: (Latitude, Longitude): 40.13, -105.51833 40°7'48"N, 105°31'6"W

You start at 9,655 feet and the final elevation is at 10,381 feet (net 726 feet). It is a 12.8 mile round trip hike. This would be an excellent place to hike and backpack in the early fall as well as summer. Check in the fall to make sure it is open. Plan ahead as the parking lot does get crowded as it is a small lot. After your trek, head to Oscar Blues Brewery with amazing food and beer about 20 minutes away in Lyons.

Pack List

  • Permit for Indian Peaks Wilderness (pick up at the ranger station)
  • Backcountry tents (we take 2 small ones)
  • Warm sleeping bags - high elevation
  • Stuff sacks - we use stuff sacks that reverse to fleece for a pillow
  • Layers for clothing - it can be hot or very cold.
  • Parachute chord or rope to hang food in trees - rule in this wilderness area
  • Water filter
  • Back country stove
  • Food for backpacking
  • Hammocks for your kids - don't forget the straps
  • Water bottles and bladders for backpacks
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



Backpacking, Camping, Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:




Trail Type:



6.4 Miles

Elev. Gain:

1900 Feet



Dog Friendly

Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

How to Get There

12 months ago


I've done this twice and seen five moose in all. Also, it is very easy and from the lake you can get to sawtooth, which is slightly more crowded, but worth it.

12 months ago

Added by Brynn Schmidt

I love wilderness/beaches: photography, hiking, camping, backpacking, and hanging out with my guys while they climb. Mom, wife and co-founder of non-profit organization serving in Gabon and DRC, Africa. Find me on Instagram

More Adventures Nearby

Hike the Spearhead

Colorado / Glacier Gorge Trailhead

Beginning from the Glacier Gorge trailhead, follow trail signs towards Mills Lake. At Mills, continue onward past Black Lake, and then continue hiking up into the incredible basin above Black Lake.

Kyle Frost
1 Saves

Hike Mt. Elbert via Black Cloud Trail

Colorado / Black Cloud Trailhead

Directions:  Heading south from Leadville from U.S. 24: West on CO 82 for 10.5 miles to a hidden right turn that leads to a trail head. If you make it to the Mt.

Mike Stevens
2 Saves

Backpack to Dragon's Back via Horsethief Trail

Colorado / Horsethief Trailhead

The Uncompahgre Wilderness stretches out through the mountains and forests of southwestern Colorado, with worn trails lingering beside abandoned 19th-century mines and crossing old alpine sheep pastu.

Jonathon Reed
10 Saves