Jasper Lake, Hessie Trailhead, Indian Peaks Wilderness Area, Colorado

Jasper Lake - 8.8 miles

Hessie Trailhead

Jasper Lake (10,814') in the Indian Peaks Wilderness

Jasper Lake (10,814') in the Indian Peaks Wilderness

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)
Skill Level: Moderate
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: Yes
Related Trails:

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.

Trail Map Photo Gallery

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.

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key 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

Worth Noting

  • 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.

Contact Information

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

Trip Reports

There are no trip reports on this trail.


"Jasper lake is nearly empty having been almost entirely drained. It smells a bit and is not really a pleasant place right now. I wonder if this is related to flood concerns or what other reason there is?"
Vaughn  -  United States  -  Date Posted: September 1, 2014
"Trail condition update for Jasper Lake | Patchy and packed snow up to the Diamond Lake Trail connector split. Some lower and south facing areas completely clear. Passable without traction, though poles are useful. 4-10" from split up to Jasper Lake. Drifts 12 - 24". Snow is appreciably deeper between Jasper and Devils Thumb Lake, and trail is not fully tracked out. Snowshoes necessary beyond Jasper."
ProTrails Admin  -  Colorado  -  Date Posted: October 27, 2013
"Question: Boulder Ranger District reports that Jasper Lake is currently "empty" (or nearly drained) right now (late August, 2013). Is this accurate? "
staorman  -  Boulder  -  Date Posted: August 27, 2013
"Indian Peaks have designated only a few blocks of road for parking and reduced the parking lot at the top by 25 spaces. There are long lengths of road where there are 2 no parking signs. If there is no spot to park, plan on paying the $25 (reduced from $50 due to economic times) ticket given to you from the Boulder Police Department unless you wait for someone to leave or just hike elsewhere."
Mary  -  Broomfield  -  Date Posted: October 14, 2012
"There is @ 3 blocks of parking, the rest is a $25 fine issued by Boulder police. The parking at the top is reduced by 25 spaces as well. Wait for someone to leave or hike elsewhere."
mary  -  Broomfield  -  Date Posted: October 14, 2012
"Great hike. Flowers were out and beautiful. Lake is low. Trail well defined and marked. Hesse Trailhead 2WD parking has been weel marked out on the road. There is a shuttle from the High School on weekends."
Jonna Villines  -  Jasper Lake  -  Date Posted: July 6, 2012
"Moved to CO less than a year ago. Hoping to do this hike this coming weekend (Sunday, May 27). Best guess if it will be accessible? Trail to Lost Lake was snow covered but passable on 4/28, Jasper Lake was not w/o snowshoes. "
 -   -  Date Posted: May 21, 2012


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