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Hike to Finch Lake

Allenspark, Colorado

3.0/5
based on 1 reviews

Details

Distance

8.96 miles

Route Type

Out-and-Back

Description

Added by Eric Schuette

Hike to a scenic little lake at the southern edge of the wild basin area in the Rocky Mountain National Park. Although the wild basin is a popular area, expect fewer crowds here than other hiking destinations nearby. The area is home to abundant wildlife including deer, elk, mountain lions, and moose.

There are several ways to reach finch lake but this will cover the route from the Finch Lake Trailhead in the wild basin area of Rocky Mountain National Park. You can also loop it with other trails in the area or begin at the Allenspark Trailhead, which is technically outside the park and a bit easier of a hike. 

The trail to Finch Lake starts off with a climb up the moraine and through an open ponderosa pine forest. There are occasional breaks in the trees to view the area but better views are ahead. After 1.4 miles you will encounter a split that goes to the Allenpark Trailhead, follow the signs (basically straight ahead) to finch lake. After another mile or so in the forest you will come to another split for the calypso cascade/falls trail. Again follow the sign and continue mostly straight ahead towards finch lake. 

Shortly after the second intersection the trail will open up and go through the burn area, it has many flowers but the sun can be intense here. From the burn area, the trail continues to climb moderately through the forest. After almost 4 miles you will cross a wooden bridge and begin to descend. Although nice at the moment, you will have to go back up on your return journey. From the descent you are less than .5 miles from the lake. 

You will first reach its open east shore as the trail stays along the northern shore. You can explore the shoreline but the eastern edge is generally the most scenic. From there views of longs peak and cropland/ouzel peaks are more prominent. 

Finch lake does have a couple backcountry sites as well as a group site with a privy. Reservations can be hard to come by during the summer months if not made by April/May but it is not quite as popular as some other destinations in wild basin. 

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Features

Photography
Hiking
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Lake
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Reviews

My partner and I attempted to do this hike mid October, which we discovered was way too late in the season. This trail is an out and back, meaning 5 miles out and 5 back, so be prepared for a longer hike. The majority of the trail sits on the backside of this mountain, so when we did it, the majority of the trail was caked in a foot of ice and snow. We were not prepared for this (if we had been, I think we would have been fine!), so our hike involved a lot of sliding and falling on the way to the lake. When we reached the descent down to get to the actual lake, we found that the snow and ice build up was way too thick for us to get down safely. So, after hiking 4.5 miles, we turned back without reaching the lake. If we’d been more prepared with shoe tracks and hiking poles and better supplies, this hike could have been really cool. We plan to try again in the summer time! The journey was beautiful though, for the most part!

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