Hiking Upper Diamond Lake

Colorado 4th of July Trailhead

Added by

Solitude in a very popular area of the Indian Peaks Wilderness. 8 mile hike with approximately 2000 total feet of elevation gain. Wonderful scenic hike that includes several alpine lakes and many options of places to explore. There are several waterfalls, beautiful little streams, and many meadows of flowers along the way.

The trail begins at the 4th of July trailhead, which is located near the Eldora ski area and can be crowded during the summer and weekends. The road is rough in places but passable by any car when dry. From the parking area begin hiking the Arapaho pass trail, which will gently gain elevation through forests with occasional glimpses across the valley. Just after a mile into the hike there will be a trail junction, take the diamond lake trail and begin to descend towards the valley floor.

After 0.5 miles you will cross middle boulder creek, which is beautiful area for photographs, flowers, and small waterfalls. Continue along the trail as you ascend through forest from the valley floor to Diamond lake. Just before diamond lake and approximately 1.8 miles from the trailhead the devil's thumb trail splits to the left. Stay to the right (north/west) and continue to diamond lake. Once at diamond lake (a worthwhile small dayhike in its own right and reportedly good for fishing), continue along the northern shore of the lake on the heavily used trail towards the inlet stream.

Near the inlet stream a small unmarked trail will split to the right and begin ascending the hillside. The trail can be hard to find, if you do not see it, continue to the inlet stream and begin ascending. After several hundred meters the faint trail will become more obvious on the hillside. You will follow this unmaintained trail for the next mile as you pass beautiful meadows of flowers, small tarns, and beautiful mountains. As you reach the top of the ridge separating diamond and upper diamond the trail becomes harder to follow.

From here follow the trail as best you can. However, if you are unable to follow the trail or if you prefer to meander follow the easiest path to the west (uphill). The area consists of wet meadows and some class 2 scrambling over rocks, which range from pebbles to house sized boulders. In approximately 0.5 miles you reach upper diamond lake and your destination.

Notice how alone you feel despite being in the middle of several very popular areas (diamond lake and Arapaho pass) and enjoy every minute of it!! The easiest way to return is to follow the same route back to the trailhead. The more adventurous could continue to climb up to Mt. Jasper but I have not done that route and cannot vouch for its difficulty level

Pack List

For day hikers:
  • Compass
  • Map
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Extra layers
  • Camera
  • Sunscreen
For campers:
  • The area is designated wilderness and permits/extra regulations may apply
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Tent
  • Cooking tools
  • Food
  • Warm Clothes
Read More

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

Share

Activities:

Camping, Photography, Hiking

Skill Level:

Beginner

Season:

Spring, Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:

Out-and-Back

Distance:

8 Miles

Elev. Gain:

2200 Feet

Rating:

Features:

Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Forest
Lake
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

How to Get There

12 months ago

Camping Spot

Great hiking/camping location. There is some good fishing in the stream and lake. It is very pretty with a fun hike along the way.

12 months 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!!!

More Adventures Nearby

Mountain Bike the Notch Trail

Colorado / Notch Trailhead

The trail is shared by mountain bikers and ATV users. The Notch Trail is located in the San Juan National Forest.  Photos: William Snow, Davey Nin, and Kent Kanouse

Hike the Hidden Valley Loop

Colorado / Hidden Valley Loop Trails

The trail is shared by mountain bikers, hikers, and trail runners. The Hidden Valley Loop offers amazing views of the Animas Valley, especially when the foliage changes in the fall.

Hike the Jones and Dutch Creek Loop

Colorado / Jones Creek and Dutch Creek Trail

The trail is well maintained and is dog friendly. Bring extra water if using this trail in July or August.  Photos: Chris M Morris and Daniel Weber