Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
The hike to Lost Lake is short with mild elevation gain. I saw many families on the return trip to my car.
The Lost Lake Trail has no signed trailhead, but at exactly 17.8 miles from the start of CR 306 in Buena Vista, just before the last big switchback below Cottonwood Pass, there is a wide dirt shoulder where you can park, and an obvious trail leading into the trees.
I started out at sunrise with the trail to myself, and thought I might be the only one here all day, but coming back there were twenty to thirty other groups, and the pullout was packed, as well as the shoulder. This is a great hike, but only before the crowds.
The trail starts out in the forest then quickly finds a meadow overlooking Turner Peak, Jones Mountain North and Mount Princeton further in the distance. After approximately one-third of a mile, and little elevation gain, you'll reach the first lake.
From the first lake, the trail takes a sharp left turn downhill into a forested stretch, losing 110 feet along the way. Near a swampy meadow, the trail gets muddy, and even 0.7 miles from the highway, you can still hear the distant traffic.
Reaching a slight incline, the trail skirts a rock slide, then ends suddenly at Lost Lake. From here, a very faint trail around the east side of Lost Lake will take up up to the Continental Divide Trail.
Flora & Fauna
You might spot a moose, elk, bear or deer early in the morning, but the afternoon crowds will probably scare them off. Starting out well above 11,000 feet, much of this trail is right at treeline.
Shared By: Caroline Cordsen