Jasper Lake, Hessie Trailhead, Indian Peaks Wilderness Area, Colorado
Jasper Lake - 8.8 miles
|Round-Trip Length:||8.8 miles|
|Start-End Elevation:||9,009' - 10,814' (10,849' max elevation)|
|Elevation Change:||+ 1,805' net elevation gain (+2,025' total roundtrip elevation gain)|
Jasper Lake - 8.8 Miles Round-Trip
Jasper Lake (10,814') is located 4.4 miles from Hessie Trailhead in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. This kidney bean-shaped lake covers 19 acres near treeline and is stocked with cutthroat, brook and brown trout.
Jasper Lake is an ideal family destination with several desirable campsites spread out along its lengthy shore. Camping is only permitted in these designated, high-demand sites. Contact the Boulder Ranger District (303.541.2500) in advance to secure a permit.
Note that Jasper Lake is also a reservoir whose water rights are owned by Caribou Ranch. The lake is partially drained (seasonally) to manage water flow downstream. Though signs of its damming are apparent, the majority of the lake is unaffected and maintains a natural aesthetic:
The trail begins on a steep dirt road that meets South Fork Middle Boulder Creek at the Devils Thumb Bypass Trail split (.85 miles : 9,455'). Bear right on the Devils Thumb Bypass Trail.
Moderate switchbacks twist through dense forest to a broad meadow cut by Jasper Creek and ringed with aspen (1.25 miles : 9,625'). Look for beaver and moose in this willow-lined creek corridor.
The trail levels past the Wilderness Boundary (1.4 miles : 9,650') back into the forest (1.65 miles). A moderate, rocky path climbs through intervals of timber, meadow and marsh to the Devils Thumb Trail - Woodland Lake Trail split (2.2 miles, 9,792').
Veer right toward Jasper Lake on a steeper grade that's intermittently obscured by runoff and snow through mid-July.
Be patient with route finding and ignore social trails that ostensibly offer an easier way. Anticipate one sudden, poorly marked left turn over a tributary at 2.85 miles (10,215').
The trail climbs steadily up the north valley wall to the Diamond Lake Trail split (3.75 miles : 10,675'), past which it undulates in a thinning forest to the first of two spurs for Jasper Lake and backcountry campsite access (4.35 miles).
Jasper Lake (4.4 miles : 10,814') is surrounded by flat, wooded terrain on three sides with social trails around much of the waterline; a steep ridge on the north side makes circumnavigation difficult.
Use social and campsite access trails to reach secluded coves and outcrops away from the main trail. Respect the privacy of campsites while exploring the area.
A challenging cross country route beginning from Jasper's NW side follows the inlet through treeline to its source at Storm Lake.
The Devils Thumb Trail continues 1-mile and 325' up from Jasper Lake to Devils Thumb Lake (5.45 miles : 11,138'), and on to Devils Thumb Pass (11,775') and the High Lonesome Trail junction along the Divide.
Interactive GPS Topo MapKey GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84
- N39 57.100 W105 35.696 — 2WD Parking Area for Hessie Trailhead
- N39 57.278 W105 36.192 — Hessie Trailhead
- N39 57.330 W105 36.780 — .85 miles : Devils Thumb Bypass Trail junction
- N39 57.364 W105 37.187 — 1.25 miles : Enter Meadow
- N39 57.410 W105 37.301 — 1.4 miles : Indian Peaks Wilderness Boundary
- N39 57.543 W105 37.547 — 1.65 miles: Exit Meadow
- N39 57.848 W105 37.935 — 2.2 miles : Woodland Lake Trail junction
- N39 58.133 W105 38.434 — 2.85 miles : Turn left over small creek
- N39 58.409 W105 38.892 — 3.5 miles : travel along valley wall
- N39 58.475 W105 39.107 — 3.75 miles : Diamond Lake Trail junction
- N39 58.488 W105 39.615 — 4.35 miles : Jasper Lake
- N39 58.492 W105 39.780 — 2nd Lake and Backcountry Campsite Access Spur
- Jasper Lake is a popular destination accessed by a heavily used trail artery. Get an early start to avoid peak-season congestion. Parking is limited and fills up quickly on weekends.
Camping and Backpacking Information
- Permits are required for backcountry camping in the Indian Peaks Wilderness, June 1 - Sept. 15. Permits are $5 per party. Contact the Boulder Ranger District (303.541.2500) in advance to secure a permit.
- Permits are required year-round for day and overnight use by large groups (8+) or organizational groups such as scouts, churches, schools and hiking clubs.
- Group size is limited to 12 people or people and packstock combined.
- Campfires are prohibited east side of the Continental Divide, as well as Caribou Lake, Columbine Lake, Gourd Lake, Crater Lake and in the Cascade Creek drainage above Cascade Falls.
- Camping is permitted only at designated campsites in the Diamond, Jasper, Crater and Caribou Lakes Backcountry Zones.
- Camping is prohibited in the Four Lakes Backcountry Zone (Mitchell, Blue, Long, Isabelle) May 1 - Nov 30.
- Camping is prohibited within 100' of lakes, streams and trails.
- Packstock is prohibited in the Four Lakes Backcountry Zone, in the Cascade Backcountry Zone above Cascade Falls and on the Diamond Lake Trail #975.
Rules and Regulations
- Dogs must be leashed at all times in the Indian Peaks Wilderness.
Directions to Trailhead
Jasper Lake is accessed from Hessie Trailhead in the Indian Peaks Wilderness near Nederland, CO.
From downtown Nederland, head south on Highway 72 for .5 miles to County Road 130 and turn right. You'll see a sign for Eldora Ski Resort at this junction.
Continue on Highway 130 through the town of Eldora, just past which it becomes a dirt road (4 miles). 2WD drive conditions end 4.8 miles from the Highway 72 turnoff. 4WD vehicles may veer left at this demarcation and continue another .5 miles to the trailhead. Others will have to park in one of the roadside spaces and walk the 4WD road to the trailhead.
Boulder Ranger District
USDA Forest Service
2140 Yarmouth Ave.
Boulder, CO 80301
Sulphur Ranger District - National Forest Lands in Grand County
9 Ten Mile Drive
P.O. Box 10
Granby, Colorado 80446