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Diamond Lake

Fourth of July Trailhead

Northern Front Range, Colorado

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Diamond Lake

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  • Starting off on the Arapaho Pass Trail en route to Diamond Lake.- Diamond Lake
  • Starting off on the Arapaho Pass Trail en route to Diamond Lake.- Diamond Lake
  • Bluebell (Campanula rotundifolia) along the Arapaho Pass Trail.- Diamond Lake
  • American monkshood (Aconitum columbianum).- Diamond Lake
  • Looking across the Middle Boulder Creek Valley to a waterfall below Diamond Lake.- Diamond Lake
  • Early view of Mount Jasper (12,923 ft) at left and Mount Neva (12,814 ft) at center.- Diamond Lake
  • Paintbrush and bluebells along the Diamond Lake Trail.- Diamond Lake
  • Wildflowers along the Diamond Lake Trail.- Diamond Lake
  • Diamond Lake Trail in the Indian Peaks Wilderness.- Diamond Lake
  • Subalpine daisy (Erigeron peregrinus) and other wildflowers along the Diamond Lake Trail.- Diamond Lake
  • Middle Boulder Creek.- Diamond Lake
  • Meadow arnica (Arnica fulgens) just below Diamond Lake.- Diamond Lake
  • Scarlet paintbrush (Castilleja miniata) and Ram's-horn (Pedicularis racemosa).- Diamond Lake
  • Diamond Lake.- Diamond Lake
  • One of 10 backcountry campsites at Diamond Lake.- Diamond Lake
  • Diamond Lake.- Diamond Lake
  • Diamond Lake.- Diamond Lake
  • Scarlet paintbrush (Castilleja miniata).- Diamond Lake
  • Elephant heads (Pedicularis groenlandica).- Diamond Lake
  • Departing Diamond Lake with a view north of North Arapaho Peak (13,502 ft).- Diamond Lake
  • View southeast down the Middle Boulder Creek Valley from the Arapaho Pass Trail.- Diamond Lake
  • Bluebell (Campanula rotundifolia) along the Arapaho Pass Trail.- Diamond Lake
  • Small cascading creek along the Arapaho Pass Trail.- Diamond Lake
  • - Diamond Lake
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Pristine alpine lake. Wildflowers in early August.
Cons: 
Long gravel access road.
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Region:
Northern Front Range, CO
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
770.00 ft (234.70 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
5.30 mi (8.53 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
10,170.00 ft (3,099.82 m)
Typically multi-day: 
No
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

Diamond Lake is a pristine natural reservoir carved out by millennia of slow glacial movement and filled by meltwater. It is one of many similar lakes in this region of the Rocky Mountains west of Boulder, Colorado, but this one makes for a particularly scenic hike of moderate length and difficulty. Highlights of the trail include wildflowers, waterfalls, wildlife, and, of course, the lake itself.

The trail is accessed from Fourth of July Road, which is named for an on old mine in the area. The road is long and bumpy, but is passable for two-wheel-drive passenger cars. Camping is here is free, but limited, at Buckingham Campground.

Begin the hike at Fourth of July Trailhead on the Arapahoe Pass Trail heading up the valley to the northwest. At 1.2 miles the Diamond Lake Trail turns off to the left and drops down through the valley to cross Middle Boulder Creek near a very pretty waterfall. From here, it is approximately one mile to the lake along a northeast-facing slope that can hold snow throughout the spring and well into the summer. Be prepared for some route finding if the trail is still covered. There is a signed turnoff for Diamond Lake.

Most parties end their hike here, and it is indeed a worthy destination. However, by returning to the main trail and continuing uphill you can forge on past tree line to a high point of 11,400 feet. This section of trail beyond Diamond Lake is 2.4 miles to the intersection with Devil's Thumb Trail, where a longer linkup will get you to Jasper Lake and Devil's Thumb Lake

​Note: For overnight camping at Diamond Lake or anywhere within Indian Peaks Wilderness, a wilderness overnight permit for the Diamond Lake Backcountry Zone is required between June 1 and September 15. Contact Boulder Ranger District at 303.541.2500 for details.

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide + Trail Map

Field Guide + Trail Map

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(21 within a 30 mile radius)

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(110 within a 30 mile radius)

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