Earning its namesake from one of the original settlers of the Estes Park area, Abner Sprague, this hike along a hard-packed trail is one of the most popular of the area. Just shy of a mile in length, the Sprague Lake Loop circumnavigates the placid waters at a comfortable grade that is doable for the whole family.
According to the park, "this shallow, 13-acre lake is a remnant of a resort once owned by Abner Sprague, an expert guide and host. Just before Rocky Mountain National Park was established in 1915, Sprague enlarged this lake by damming the far end to create better fishing for his guests. Sprague and his wife, Alberta, operated their lodge - formerly located near today's parking lot - from 1910-40."
A free, highly recommended shuttle services this and all of the other heavily traveled trails originating from Bear Lake Road such as Dream Lake, Lake Haiyaha, Bear Lake and campgrounds such as Glacier Basin Campground. An early bird's start to this hike typically earns calmer weather and smaller crowds, increasing your odds of seeing elk, beaver, marmot, and other animals that are native to the park.
An early wake up call also benefits the angler's mission, and fishing from the shoreline often yields favorable results from this well-stocked lake. Note that only artificial lures or flies can be used in the lake.
With spectacular panoramic views of the Continental Divide and it's notable jagged peaks including Taylor and Otis peaks, Hallett Peak, and Flattop Mountain, Sprague Lake is a must-not-miss hike on a tour of Rocky Mountain National Park.