Hike to Lake Agnes

1.6 miles  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by Jennifer Broome

Lake Agnes, in State Forest State Park, should be on your “why shouldn’t I do this trail” list. It’s short and filled with fantastic views without a whole lot of effort. Along the short trail, you see a historic cabin, rugged crags, and an incredible alpine lake.

In State Forest State Park, you start at Agnes Cabin, a historic cabin built in 1925. Because of its rustic architecture, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of the Interior. It is a one-story, lodge pole pine log cabin. The cabin is empty, but peek inside and you can see the flooring is made of pine wood planks. The cabin was occupied seasonally by forest and park ranger from 1925 to 2000. In the later years of use, it was also a rental cabin. The cabin has been closed since 2000. Park personnel have maintained the building since the early 1970s.

On the trail, you immediately pass a large meadow. You will quickly find out, this trail is short but it has a lot to see including crags. Nokhu Crags is an outcropping of craggy spires that look like towers. They are named after a shortened Arapahoe name, Neaha-no-xhu, which means “Eagles Nest.”

The trail is a series of switchbacks and is well mark. It does get a little rocky in spots, but is very easy to maneuver. About three-quarters of the way up, you get a fantastic view of the Nokhu Crags, a rockslide, and down valley. You can barely see Highway 14 in the distance.

Nestled in a cirque, Lake Agnes sits at 10,320 feet. Take your fishing gear as fly and lure fishing are allowed. Even on a gray cloudy day, Lake Agnes is stunning. There is a lot to explore so spend time hiking around the lake.

Just off the lake is a short trail by the scree field. Take it to an overlook spot for a great view of the valley. As you hike the rocky trail back, you get an entirely different view of the lake than the view from the main trail.

Hike down to the water’s edge. If the sun is out, you might see the lake sparkle a little. It’s really not a bad spot to sit, fish, picnic, or just daydream.

One of the most unique features of this alpine lake is the tree covered island in the middle. The lake was originally named Island Lake but John Zimmerman changed the name to honor one of his daughters, Agnes. Zimmerman and his brother were miners in the Elkhorn and North Star mines in the Poudre Canyon. They opened the Keystone Hotel in 1882. The cabin at the trailhead was supposed to be part of a boy’s camp. But a little boy drowned in the lake and the camp never reopened.

If you hike the trail in summer or fall, it is .8 miles with an elevation gain of 400. You can snowshoe the trail in winter, but it is longer. For winter it is 2.5 miles one-way with an elevation gain of 1000 feet.

Read More

Tags

Fishing
Photography
Snowshoeing
Hiking
Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Lake
Scenic

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

🥉Contributor

over 4 years ago

Difficult for a Winter hike

I found this to be a difficult hike during the winter . The snow was chest to shoulder deep and adding the elevation gain made it tough. Snowshoes or ski's are a must if you're trying to reach the lake, otherwise you will sink in the snow & won't be able to make it. Gorgeous views and hardly many people on the trail. More backcountry skiers on the trail, so be aware of the avalanche danger & pack accordingly for a winter hike with those safety items.

Stay Nearby

Bellvue, Colorado

Chambers Lake

Overview Chambers Lake Campground is located approximately 60 miles north of Fort Collins, Colo., on beautiful Chambers Lake. Visitors enjoy the area for its great fishing and canoeing, as well as ...

Estes Park, Colorado

Moraine Park Campground

Overview Moraine Park Campground (8,160 feet) is located in Colorado's awe-inspiring Rocky Mountain National Park, near the Beaver Meadows Entrance on Highway 36. It is situated on the north side o...

Larimer County, Colorado

Glacier Basin Campground

Overview Glacier Basin Campground (8,500 feet) is adjacent to Estes Park in the awe-inspiring Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. From lush valleys to craggy peaks with elevations reaching ov...

Grand Lake, Colorado

Green Ridge

Overview Green Ridge Campground is located on beautiful Shadow Mountain Reservoir, southwest of Grand Lake in north central Colorado. Visitors enjoy the area for its great boating, fishing and hiki...

Nearby Adventures

  • Overnight at Nokhu Hut

    The Nokhu Hut is part of the Never Summer Nordic Hut system, and makes for the perfect beginner Hut trip. The Hut has a stocked kitchen, wood shed, and small wood burning stove that keeps the tiny hut toasty warm.From the Hut, it is a short, easy ...

    3 miles 540 ft gain

  • Hike to American Lakes

    American Lakes are two high alpine lakes located within State Forest State Park and the Never Summer Mountain Range. The park is located about 75 miles west of Fort Collins, Colo. along Highway 14 on the west side of Cameron Pass.Coming down from ...

    11 miles 1680 ft gain

  • Cross-Country Ski to American Lakes

    WARNING! AVALANCHE DANGER!Make sure you have avalanche safety knowledge and equipment. This route enters avalanche terrain.If you are looking for one of the ultimate cross-country ski treks along the northern Front Range, look no further. This tri...

    12 miles 800 ft gain

  • Snowshoeing at Blue Lake near Cameron Pass

    While the trail does have quite a bit of elevation gain you don't really feel it since it is dispersed among five miles of trail. The first part of the trail is a wider road with a few look out points of nearby Chambers Lake. About two miles in yo...

    10 miles 1500 ft gain

  • Inspire Your Fall Aspen Trip!

    Autumn days in Aspen are filled with sunshine and nights with crisp cool air. Watch the mountains and valleys turn gold with the changing Aspen trees. Take in the scenery while enjoying scenic drives, hiking through forests, road biking, and exploring our IMBA Gold Level Ride Center recognized mountain bike trails. 




    Learn More