Added by Whitney James
Camping at heart lake offers high Rocky Mountain terrain and views and dispersed camp sites—literally sleep wherever you want!
Ever wanted to pick a spot on the map and just GO for the weekend? That's exactly how we discovered Heart Lake. Our only recommendation is don't do it in October, when it might snow. A lot.
As there's not much to do other than hike around up there, we combined the day with a morning mountain bike ride down Pauly's Plunge in Beaver Creek. Picking up final supplies (including donuts from Northside Kitchen in Avon), we began the ascent up Coffee Pot Road to Heart Lake. Once you exit I-70, it's a two hour drive into terrain that is seldom explored by the average car campers, but home to plenty of wildlife and hunters sporting lifted pick-ups. We gathered some comments and looks in our low-clearance Audi, but wouldn't find out why until the next day.
When you get up to the top, anywhere is fair game to camp and explore. We opted to hike our gear across a small water crossing to the island in the middle of Heart Lake, where we swung around in hammocks and otherwise blissfully played in the great outdoors with no cell service. Unfortunately, the next morning we awoke to several inches of snow and then had to go back across the water with all our gear in an absolute blizzard.
Because of the remote nature of this location, be sure to pack generous safety and food supplies and warm gear. The Rockies can see snow at any time of year, even mid-summer. If you encounter snow or severe rain, prepare for a slippery and nerve-tingling drive back down Coffee Pot (it took us over 3 hours to go 37 miles).
- High clearance vehicle with 4WD
- Goal Zero or solar charging back-up for your phone
- Regular camping supplies plus all weather gear
- Sense of adventure
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
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