Of the several destinations within the Indian Peaks Wilderness, Diamond Lake is one of the most popular. This may be partly because it’s easier to reach and partly because it is so beautiful! Following the Diamond Lake Trail will take you to this lovely alpine oasis. Read more about this hike below!

Hiking the Diamond Lake Trail

As of right now, the usual trailhead (4th of July Trailhead) for Diamond Lake Trail is closed, but an alternate starting point is the Hessie Trailhead, which is also the starting point for Devil’s Thumb Trail, which is another great hike in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. In fact, you’ll hike along some of the Devil’s Thumb Trail if you choose to take this route.

Diamond Lake Trail takes you to a sparkling alpine lake surrounded by beautiful forest. Round trip, it’s just over 5 miles long.

Start at the 4th of July Trailhead (if it is open—be sure to check beforehand) and follow the Arapaho Pass Trail until you reach Diamond Lake Trail—about a mile in. As you hike along the Arapaho Pass Trail, you’ll see distant waterfalls, creeks, wildflowers, and expansive mountain views.

Once you reach Diamond Lake Trail, you’ll continue to pass by trickling waterfalls and serene wilderness. After about another mile and a half, you’ll reach Diamond Lake. Take some time to catch your breath as you enjoy your surroundings.

Diamond Lake is stocked with rainbow, brook and cutthroat trout, so bring your fishing pole along if you’d like to spend some time fishing. Camping is also allowed at designated areas, provided you get a permit and camp at the designated sites.

From the lake, you can continue on to Devil’s Thumb Trail if you so choose. Or, you can turn and head back the way you came. If you’re an experienced adventurer, you can also make the trek to Upper Diamond Lake—but read up about this hike before you go, as the journey will be cross-country and no specific trail leads to it.  

There are several other great hikes in the area, so planning a backpacking trip or repeat visit is a great idea!

Preparing to Hike the Diamond Lake Trail

If you plan to camp or hike with an organized group, you’ll need to apply for a permit beforehand. This is a popular hike, so the trailhead is often busy, especially on the weekends, which is something else you’ll want to take into consideration.

If you’re not familiar with altitude sickness, it’s a good idea to read up on it and prepare accordingly, as it starts at over 10,000 feet elevation and gains almost another 1,000 throughout the course of the hike.

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