Explore 'The Hidden Gems' of Loch Lomond

Loch Lomond Trailhead - Search Nearby - Added by Sean O'Brien

Access not 1, but 4 gorgeous, alpine lakes in 1 day less than an hours drive from Denver. One of the best unknown spots around Denver metro area.

Getting There

From Denver, go W on I-70 and take exit 238 for Fall River Rd. Continue on this road before taking a left on Alice Rd. Continue on Alice Rd. until you see the right hand turn for Steuart Rd. This is where you park. Do not attempt this road in a AWD or 2WD you definitely need a good 4WD. Continue up Steuart Rd on foot to reach the lakes.

Loch Lomond

Each time I have explored Loch Lomond, hardly anyone has been there; especially when compared to the busy trails of Rocky Mountain National Park, Indian Peaks Wilderness and Chataqua. One reason this hike may deter people is because the ascent isn't singletrack. It is a 4x4 road, but don't let this stop you because first of all, the road is a gorgeous hike up. Second of all, once you complete the 2.3 miles in to the first lake – Loch Lomond – you are immersed into an endless alpine wonderland.

The reason I love this place so much is because you have lots of freedom of adventure. Once at Loch Lomond, to get to the other lakes you have two options. Either scurry up the majestic waterfall seen on the  other side of the lake. Or you can take the singletrack trail leading around the lake and up the left side of the ridge. If you decide to make your own route just remember to go up with the water and eventually you will be in a basin surrounded by 3 more gorgeous lakes overlooking Loch Lomond! 

This part of the hike is the funnest and I prefer not taking the trail and instead making my way up the rocky outcrops following the endless cascading waterfalls. Either way is gorgeous though, and taking the trail is definitely the safer, more standardized route.

The first lake you reach in the basin above Loch Lomond is called, Reynolds Lake. From there, gorgeous meandering alpine streams cutting through rock fields covered in grass lead you to the next two lakes. The second is known at Steuart Lake and the third, Ohman Lake. They are all sizeable for their close proximity and altitude and each is more wondrous then the next. Marmot and Rock Ptarmigan are common to see frolicking around the lake's surroundings.

If you keep going up past this basin, you will eventually summit the ridge and make it to another lake – Ice Lake, just below the summit of James Peak. From the top of this ridge you can connect to other great hikes in the area and turn it into an epic backpacking trek. You're allowed to camp out near Loch Lomond and the wonderful basins above it, which would make for some of the most beautiful backcountry Colorado camping, but pack warm because it gets freezing at night here even during summer months.

Keep in mind the 4.6 miles out and back is to Loch Lomond. It is another mile or so to the basin above making it closer to a 7 mile round trip depending on how much you explore and what you make of your adventure. If you choose to drive up the 4WD Rd this would allow you to bring a canoe, SUP board and other fun toys to the lake with you. Have fun and explore there!

Distance

4.6 Miles RT

Elevation Gain

950 ft Gain

Type

Out-and-Back

Activities

Stand Up Paddle, Canoeing, Chillin, Camping, Fishing, Photography, Snowshoeing, Backpacking, Hiking

Forest
Lake
River
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Wildlife
Swimming Hole

Nearby Lodging

Denver West / Central City KOA

Central City, Colorado

From $40/night

Boulder A-Lodge Camping

Boulder, Colorado

From $149/night

Boulder A-Lodge Cabin

Boulder, Colorado

From $39/night

Boulder A-Lodge Hostel

Boulder, Colorado

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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