Add to Bucket List Add to Bucket List Item Completed Item Completed Delete List Delete List E-Mail E-Mail Facebook Facebook Facebook Facebook Gallery Click to view a gallery of photos Google Plus Google Plus Google Plus Google Plus Save Save this content to your profile Instagram Instagram Linked In Linked In Separator Separator Pinterest Pinterest Pinterest Pinterest Search Search Share Share OutThere Colorado OutThere Colorado Toggle Nav Toggle Nav Cart Cart Grid Layout Grid Layout Image Loading Image Loading List Layout List Layout Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter YouTube YouTube Save Save this content to your profile
Kroenke Lake Trail, Colorado
Kroenke Lake Trail, Colorado

Kroenke Lake Trail

Things to do

HikingRunning

This trail, officially known as the North Cottonwood Trail, runs a moderate 4.3 miles to a pretty alpine lake in the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness, offering a less-crowded alternative to nearby Horn Fork Basin, home of popular fourteeners Mounts Harvard and Columbia. The trail follows a creek for two (mostly gentle) miles, then bears left where the Bear Lake/Horn Fork Basin Trail begins to climb out of the valley. Kroenke Lake comes into view after just over two more miles. From here, ambitious hikers can continue another mile or so above the lake to Brown’s Pass, worth it for the views alone. Return the way you came.

Some excursions to the mountains are for conquering a peak, while others are for relaxation. On a trip to Kroenke Lake in 2015, a group of us camped at the lake and planned to ascend Brown’s Pass and then hike to the Denny Creek Trailhead, where we’d left a shuttle vehicle. Why, someone in our group asked, why don’t we just hike back down rather than humping packs over the pass? Nobody could think of a reason so we hiked out in less than two hours, picked up the shuttle car and went to some hot springs.

Pro Tips

  • Great camping can be found along the south shore of Kroenke Lake. Car camping is prohibited at the trailhead but available on the road leading into it.
  • If you have the ability to leave a shuttle car, a great one-day or overnight loop can be made by leaving a car at the Denny Creek Trailhead. From the top of Brown’s Pass, it’s another four miles to that trailhead. Tack on a night camping at Kroenke Lake, and you have a classic Colorado backpacking trip.
  • The trail enters the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness so travel is restricted to foot and horse traffic and dogs must be leashed.

Recommended season(s): Early summer to late fall.

R. Scott Rappold

Leave a Reply