The Lost Lake trail is a nice way for us to dip our toes in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. It’s about 5 miles return and a decent (but not extreme) elevation gain, ~1,200ft, but it does start at 9,000ft.
It is extremely crowded at the Hessie trailhead, the difference here (I’m told) compared to others trailheads is there are very few parking spots. We opted to take the shuttle from the Nederland Park and Ride which runs every 15-20 minutes and drops off at the start of the trail. Worked like a charm. A great thing about the shuttle is that the RTD N route from Boulder drops off at the park and ride so it’s possible to get to the Indian Peaks Wilderness using public transport. I’d love to see more options for getting into the backcountry without needing a car.
The hike starts by going back to the old Hessie homestead and into the forest briefly before opening up and heading uphill. Along the climb there are views back towards the front ranges. There is a trail junction, opt to go over the creek on the Devil’s Thumb trail towards Lost Lake. Shortly after turn onto the trail to Lost Lake and begin the steepest climb on the hike until you reach the lake.
It is fairly brushy at the base of the lake but if you walk a bit farther around and past some campsites there are much easier spots to get to water. The views on the opposite side of the lake are much nicer, with the divide in the background. The trail continues uphill past the lake, we walked about another .5 mile to get a nice view from above. Anywhere around the lake makes a pleasant spot for lunch or to relax. Head back down the same way you came up to get back to the trailhead.
If you go: