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Stunning Hikes to Alpine Lakes in Central Colorado

14 hikes leading to a beautiful lake, high up in the Colorado Rockies—perfect for fishing, paddling, or just sitting on the shore!

Hiking Moderate, Difficult

Lake Ann
Photo: Scott Anderson


While climbing Colorado’s highest mountains may well be the primary pastime of avid hikers in the state, sometimes an alternative objective, such as an alpine lake, can be even more gratifying. What’s more relaxing than sitting on the shores of a crystal-clear body of water, alternatively watching the sun reflect off the surface, and staring up at the towering mountain peaks above?

Each of these hikes in Central Colorado culminates at a beautiful alpine lake—and no two lakes are the same! With incredible scenery throughout the entire hike that varies wildly depending on what drainage you’re hiking up, you might just have to check each and every one of these routes off your bucket list.

Once you reach the lake, you can enjoy a number of activities ranging from a picnic lunch on the shore, to fly fishing for trout, or even paddleboarding if you choose to haul your board up the mountains. However, be sure that you check for any regulations for each specific lake: some lakes don’t allow certain activities like fishing or paddling, and for others you’ll need to have the appropriate license to fish.

Routes included

Related guidebooks