Hike to Rainbow Lake in the Cloud Peak Wilderness

Rate this Adventure

Added by Kyle Frost

This beautiful aquamarine lake is a great off-trail romp in the Cloud Peak Wilderness.

Best accessed from the Geneva Pass trail, Rainbow Lake is a gorgeous hidden gem. It's not on the main Solitude Trail or the Lake Loop, but it's pretty straightforward to access.

The lake is most easily reached via the Cliff Lake Trail. If you're approaching from Geneva Pass, take the Cliff Lake Trail turn-off that is just south of the pass. The trail will head east for a bit -- you'll want to jump off the trail before it starts heading south and down into the basin (see map photo).

Head east over a gentle ridgeline, with fantastic views of Black Tooth and the lakes below for most of the way. This is truly a choose-your-own-adventure, although I'd recommend following the high point of this small ridge for the best views and most efficient access.

Return the way you came to reach the Cliff Lake Trail, or follow the path of least resistance and drop into the main lake basin down to Lake Elsa. From there, you should be able to reconnect with the trai by heading west towards Cliff Lake.

Read More




Have you done this adventure? Be the first to leave a review!

Stay Nearby

Ten Sleep, Wyoming

West Tensleep Lake

Overview West Tensleep Lake Campground is located on West Tensleep Lake on the west side of scenic Cloud Peak Skyway, near the Cloud Peak Wilderness Area. The Bighorn National Forest offers a wide ...

Ten Sleep, Wyoming

Island Park Campground

Overview Island Park Campground is located in pine and spruce forest on West Tensleep Creek near West Tensleep Lake and the Cloud Peak Wilderness. Located 21 miles northeast of Ten Sleep, Wyoming, ...

Greybull, Wyoming

Ranger Creek Recreation Area

Overview Ranger Creek Group Campground is located just off the Bighorn Scenic Byway (U.S. Highway 14) at an elevation of 7,500 feet. The Bighorn National Forest offers a wide variety of activities,...

Buffalo, Wyoming

Middle Fork

Overview Middle Fork Campground is located 14 miles west of Buffalo, Wyoming, adjacent to the Cloud Peak Skyway (scenic byway), near the Cloud Peak Wilderness Area. The Bighorn National Forest offe...

Nearby Adventures

  • Backpack to Robin Lake

    Starting at Coffeen Park, head south on the Solitude Trail. This trail will wind through the woods for several miles, passing Lake Geneva, and then Solitude Lake. After a glimpse of Solitude (it's a bit off the trail to the west), you'll start the...

    12 miles 1500 ft gain

  • Backpack to Highland Lake

    To get to Little Goose Trailhead take Red Grade Rd. west out of the little town on Bighorn for about 10 miles, then keep your eye out for FS Rd. 314 on the left, this you will follow until the road will eventually dead-end at the trailhead. There ...

    16 miles 1500 ft gain

  • Summit Blacktooth Mountain

    To get to the Little Goose Trailhead make sure you have a vehicle capable of traveling over very rough terrain and big rocks and cross 3 creeks, one of which is about 50 feet wide and 2 feet deep. Four-wheel drive would be strongly recommended.  F...

    24 miles 4000 ft gain

  • Hike to Bomber Mountain

    Starting at West Tensleep Lake Trailhead is the best place to begin the trek up to Bomber Mountain. It is a 6.5 mile hike up to Mistymoon Lake following trail #63. It is about 1,100 foot elevation gain in the 6.5 miles, and the hike is very nice g...

    22.8 miles 3000 ft gain