Hike to Arapaho Pass and Lake Dorothy

Colorado 4th of July Trailhead

Added by Eric Schuette

Hike to an alpine lake in the Indian Peaks wilderness and take in the wonderful views at Arapaho pass. You may also continue on to caribou pass or descend to the west side of the Indian peaks through beautiful areas.

Begin by parking at the 4th of July trailhead. This can be reached by conituing past the Eldora ski area and up a rough but passable (for all vehicles) gravel road to the trailhead. The trail is easy to find, and will continue to rise for the next 1.15 miles.

At just over a mile there is a fork for the Arapaho pass/Diamond Lake split. Take the Arapaho pass trail to the left and continue hiking. At just over 2 miles the Arapaho glacier trail breaks off to the left. Continue straight on the Arapaho pass trail and you will soon pass the ruins of the 4th of July mine.

Past the mine the trail it is easy to follow as you rise above tree-line and continue hiking on a moderate but consistent grade. At just over 3 miles you will reach Arapaho pass; this is a great place to stop and take in the views! For extra credit, you can also head up the obvious ridge (which is class 2) for a 1/2 mile to the unnamed 12er.

From Arapaho pass, continue hiking on the caribou pass trail for nearly 1/2 mile when several spurs will head over to Lake Dorothy. If there is too much snow to see the trail, head into the obvious cirque below Mt Neva. Once at the lake, there is enjoyable scrambling to be had on all sides, and if you are experienced with class 4+ terrain or snow climbing, Mt. Neva is a wonderful hike as well.

Pack List

Day Hiking
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Map
  • Compass/gps
  • Camera
  • Appropriate hiking clothes
Backpacking
  • Keep in mind most of the trail is in the Indian peaks wilderness and special regulations apply
  • Standard hiking gear
  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag
  • Food
  • Water
  • Other camping gear allowed in wilderness areas
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Activities:

Camping, Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:

Beginner

Season:

Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:

Out-and-Back

Distance:

7.5 Miles

Elev. Gain:

2080 Feet

Rating:

Features:

Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Forest
Lake
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers

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How to Get There

3 months ago

Awesome Hike!

Just did this hike a few weeks ago. It provides spectacular views. Had Lake Dorothy all to myself when I first arrived. Highly recommend.

3 months ago

12 months ago

A very rocky trail but still a fun spot for a run. Bring a leash if you have a dog, I've run into a ranger patrolling near the top of the pass.

12 months ago

over 1 year ago

Excellent trail, but the first two trail splits mentioned are noted incorrectly. At the Diamond Lake split you continue to the right, up a switchback, to continue on the Arapaho Pass Trail. And at the Arapaho Glacier split, you keep left. Right will take you up to Arapaho Glacier, not Arapaho Pass.

over 1 year ago

almost 2 years ago

There are two waterfalls that you have to cross on the trail, make sure you wear good shoes/boots unless you wanna take a dip. The wildflowers are best in July.

almost 2 years ago

Added by Eric Schuette

I love adventure and exploring. Currently a school psychologist who tries to spend my free-time hiking, climbing, fishing, and celebrating with a good beer in Colorado. On Instagram @ericschuettephotography Cheers!!!

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