Woodland Lake, Hessie Trailhead, Indian Peaks Wilderness Area, Colorado
Woodland Lake - 9.1 miles
|Round-Trip Length:||9.1 miles|
|Start-End Elevation:||9,009' - 10,972' (10,982' max elevation)|
|Elevation Change:||+1,963' net elevation gain (+2,117' total roundtrip elevation gain)|
Woodland Lake - 9.1 Miles Round-Trip
Woodland Lake is located 4.55 miles from Hessie Trailhead in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. It lies at treeline in a narrow valley that drains into Jasper Creek. It covers 6 acres at a maximum depth of 7', with nice openings on the west side ideal for camping and fishing.
The trail begins on a steep dirt road lined with aspen and wildflowers, merging with the South Fork of Middle Boulder Creek at the King Lake - Devils Thumb Bypass Trail split (.85 miles : 9,455').
The trail rises along the creek to the Lost Lake Trail split (1.1 miles : 9,582') and eases into a meadow at the King Lake - Woodland Lake Trail split (1.3 miles : 9,600').
The trail enters a large meadow on level double track across the Indian Peaks Wilderness Boundary (1.45 : 9,611'). It follows the old wagon road through intervals of forest and meadow, first loosely, then closely beside Jasper Creek to the Devils Thumb Trail - Woodland Lake Trail split (2.35 miles : 9,747'). Note that social trails circumvent washed out areas along Jasper Creek up to this split.
The Woodland Lake Trail bears left and steepens up Woodland Creek to a footbridge (2.8 miles : 10,022'), past which the climb intensifies on a rugged, shifting path. It moderates briefly in a tranquil forest braided with streams and dotted with glades (3.2 miles : 10,395'). This is a good place to see deer, elk, bear and grouse.
The oft-wet trail inches back toward Woodland Creek, rising fast to another flat (3.5 miles : 10,609'). This attractive section is highlighted by converging streams, cascades, wildflowers and mushrooms. Travel eases on an intermittently faint path, edging away from the creek to a small pond (3.8 miles : 10,737') and up the north edge of a marshy meadow in the upper valley.
The trail enters a small spruce stand on the meadow's west end (4.0 miles) and emerges in open space at the base of Woodland Lake's outlet stream (4.3 miles). It levels beside the outlet to Woodland Lake, partially hidden a few dozen yards off trail by thick willow and krummholz (4.55 miles : 10,972').
Access and views are limited from its north shore, but crossing the narrow outlet to its southeast shore leads to grassy slopes and arguably the vicinity's best views.
From this vantage you may also see the dramatic spillover from Skyscraper Reservoir (11,220') in the upper northwest corner of the valley. Continue on the main trail .15 miles to social trails around Woodland Lake's open west shore.
- 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 : King Lake - Devils Thumb Bypass split
- N39 57.265 W105 37.000 — 1.1 miles : Lost Lake Trail split
- N39 57.251 W105 37.193 — 1.3 miles : King Lake - Woodland Lake Trail split
- N39 57.773 W105 37.961 — 2.35 miles : Devils Thumb - Woodland Lake Trail split
- N39 57.732 W105 38.387 — 2.8 miles : Cross bridge over Woodland Creek
- N39 57.602 W105 38.644 — 3.2 miles : Trail levels in forest; head toward creek
- N39 57.474 W105 38.861 — 3.5 miles : Trail levels in scenic plateau
- N39 57.441 W105 39.075 — 3.8 miles : Trail levels beside meadow
- N39 57.372 W105 39.258 — 4.0 miles : Lengthy meadow ends; re-enter forest
- N39 57.335 W105 39.407 — 4.2 miles : Nearing Woodland Lake
- N39 57.289 W105 39.734 — 4.5 miles : Trail runs adjacent to Woodland Lake
- N39 57.270 W105 39.768 — 4.55 miles : Woodland Lake
- Anticipate heavy runoff and lingering snow through late summer. Use the trail's proximity to Woodland Creek for navigational guidance.
- Woodland Lake primarily supports cutthroat trout, but some grayling have also been stocked.
Camping and Backpacking Information
- Permits are required for all overnight campers June 1 - September 15.
- 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 at Woodland Lake and 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 4 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 4 Lakes Backcountry Zone, the Cascade Backcountry Zone above Cascade Falls, and on the Diamond Lake Trail #975.
Directions to Trailhead
Woodland Lake is accessed from the Hessie Trailhead in the Indian Peaks Wilderness near Nederland, Colorado.
From downtown Nederland, go north on Highway 72 for .5 miles to County Road 130 and make a right. You will 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 at one of the limited roadside spaces and walk the 4WD road to the Hessie Trailhead.
Boulder Ranger District
2140 Yarmouth Avenue
Boulder, CO 80301