6 miles when gate is open, 13.8 miles if the gate is closed Elevation Gain:
approx. 1,200 feet Location:
Near Fraser (see directions below) Trailhead:
Just some signs, park along road Dogs:
Allowed on leash Hiking Partner:
The hike to Saint Louis Lake near Fraser is typically 13.8 miles roundtrip, but if you do it on the right day, its only 6 miles roundtrip. Why? Theres a gate on the road. Come when the gate is open and you can drive the last 3.9 miles to the trailhead. Come on a day when the gate is closed and youre hiking 3.9 miles on the road before you even get to the trailhead. Turns out, a gate open day fell during my vacation.
The trailhead at the end of the road isnt much of a trailhead. There are no parking spaces, hikers park on the side of the road. Theres a sign and a bridge crossing the creek and thats about it.
However, this is a beautiful trail. It follows a stream for quite awhile. Even in August, the creek was crashing over the rocks so hard it was hard to hear my hiking companion. Then again, we werent doing much talking since the trail climbs more than 500 feet in the first .7 of a mile.
Hiking in the meadow areas along the trail were a treat. In August, we found fields and fields of flowers. If you didn't see your favorite flower in one meadow, you'd likely spot it in great numbers in another meadow. Stream next to the trail for St Louis Lake
At 1.5 miles in, there's a trail split for those hiking Mount Nystrom, we continued on.
As you get closer to the lake, you get occasional views of the mountains surrounding you. Make sure when you stop to take a picture of one mountain range, you do a 360 degree turn to see the other mountains. I was surprised at how many pretty views I missed on the way up, fortunately I enjoyed those views on the way down.
When you arrive at Saint Louis Lake, the question will be where do I sit? If you sit near the trail, you're view is the shelf the lake sits on. Scramble through the marsh to the other side of the lake, and you'll have a better view of the peaks around the lake. No matter where you choose to sit, this is a peaceful spot. Even on a day the gate was open, there were only two other people at the lake when we arrived.Fields of flowers along the trail
Trails.com describes the hike by saying, "Not only is the lake and its flower-bedecked inlet right up the wildflower lovers alley, but the string of meadows leading to them are calico quilts of color in full bloom. Add the tranquility of deep forests, and you have a terrific high country hike."
Saint Louis Lake is part of the Fraser Experimental Forest
. It was created in 1937 to study timber, water, wildlife management, and their integration in the high elevation subalpine coniferous forests. In Spring 2005, three major access roads
were closed to protect the research conditions. It was also agreed that the administrator of the experimental forest could open those gates on certain days. The open dates for 2008 are over, to find out the gate open dates for 2009, call (970) 726-5220.
One note: if the gate is closed, you can ride a bike the 3.9 miles between the gate and the trailhead. There is a bike rack at the trailhead.The Mountain view and tarn along the St Louis Lake trail
I found this hike because of the recommendation of two friends. I welcome your hiking trail suggestions, questions and comments, just email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you're looking for a hiking dog, consider the Dumb Friends League Hiking Buddies program. Hikers who complete a training program may borrow an adoptable dog to hike with at the Glendale Open Space Trail or the Rock in Castle Rock. The Buddy Center staff will give you with all of the necessary equipment including an Adopt Me vest for the dog and a fanny-pack with pet waste pick-up bags, water bowl, water, leash and first-aid kit. You and the dog get a work out and your four-legged friend may get a new home. For more information, contact Matt Levien at 303-751-5772 ext. 202.
From Winter Park, drive north on Highway 40 to Fraser. At the Fraser Valley Shopping Center turn south on CR 72 for .3 miles. Turn right onto Fraser Parkway for .8 miles. Turn left on CR 73 for 11.7 miles to the trailhead. CR 73 is a dirt road and is rough near the end. If the gate is closed, you'll park on the side of the road near the gate. If the gate is open, drive all the way to where the road ends.
Previous hiking reports:(lower elevation hikes have a star)
, Mallory Cave*
, Marshall Mesa
,Heil Valley Ranch*
, South Boulder Peak*
, The Boulder Flatirons*
, Walker Ranch*
, Bear Peak*
, Rabbit Mountain*
, Bald Mountain*
, Betasso Preserve*
, Wonderland Lake*
, Chimney Gulch*
, Apex Park*
, Elk Meadow*
, Chicago Lakes
, Chief Mountain
Rocky Mountain National Park:
, Twin Sisters
, Bierstadt Lake
, Chasm Lake
, Lulu City & Little Yellowstone
, The Loch, Andrew's Glacier
, Sandbeach Lake
Indian Peaks/James Peak Wilderness:
King, Bob & Betty Lakes
, Forest Lakes
, Arapaho Lakes
, Mitchell & Blue Lakes
, James Peak Area
, Heart Lake
, Devil's Backbone*
, Lake Agnes
Summit & Eagle Counties:
, Missouri Lakes
, Mohawk Lakes & Continental Falls
Waterfall At Snow Mountain Ranch
, Granby Ranch
Exploring Fulford Cave
, Our Favorite Hikes
, Our Favorite Bike Rides
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