Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
770.00 ft (234.70 m)
Trail type
5.30 mi (8.53 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

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.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Not Required


Pristine alpine lake. Wildflowers in early August.


Long gravel access road.

Trailhead Elevation

10,170.00 ft (3,099.82 m)


Backcountry camping
Big Game Watching
Big vistas

Typically multi-day



Nearby Adventures

Nearby Lodging + Camping


Highly recommend this hike. It is a great one for kids, we passed about 5 other groups with kid carriers, and Diamond Lake offers plenty of space to let lil ones out to run around and stretch their legs or dip their toes in the refreshing water. Arriving early is a must, and be aware that it is quite popular for dogs to which the trail can be a little crowded and narrow at times with passing traffic.

One point of note is that my GPS watch traced elevation gain to be closer to 830 feet vs the specified 770 feet, with the lake resting at approximately 10,949 feet.
Very popular hiking trail. Highly recommend getting to the trail head early to get a parking spot
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