Trail Snapshot: Diamond Lake Trail
- Hike Distance: 5.4 miles Round Trip
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Duration: Approx 3 hrs
- Trail Type: Out & Back
- Starting Elevation: 10150′
- Elevation Gain: Approx +850′
- Seasons: Year Round
- Dogs: Allowed On Leash
- Hike Trail Map: Click for a Map of Diamond Lake Trail near Nederland
- Denver Drive Time: 1 hr 30 min
- Driving Directions to 4th of July Trailhead: Click for Google Map
- Town Nearest Hike: Nederland, Colorado
- Beauty: lake, waterfalls, wildflowers, streams, wildlife: moose, deer, squirrel, chipmunk
- Activities: Hiking, snowshoeing, skiing, camping, fishing
Directions to Diamond Lake Trail & Trailhead
The Hike to Diamond Lake
The hike to Diamond Lake begins at the 4th of July Trailhead by taking the Arapaho Pass Trail #904. The Arapaho Pass trail ascends quickly into Indian Peaks Wilderness area. New views open up about every quarter mile featuring distant waterfalls, trailside cascades, creeks, wildflowers, and expansive mountain views. Hikers will encounter the first trail junction at 1.2 miles in. The correct trail, the Diamond Lake Trail (easy to remember) is to the left/west. The first 1/2 mile on the Diamond Lake Trail heads west along a drainage then descends to Middle Boulder Creek. At approximately 1.7 miles into the hike, the trail follows a bridge over Middle Boulder Creek. This a great place to stop and take in Diamond Lake Falls (pictured below).
After the waterfall, the trail crosses two more creeks then begins a steep ascent through a series of switchbacks. This final trail segment is approximately 1 mile, making the entire one-way hike to Diamond Lake approximately 2.7 miles. This segment from the waterfall to the lake is often covered with snow into early Summer, so orienteering and snow-travel skills are recommended for those who decide to negotiate the snow-covered trail.
Campfires are prohibited at Diamond Lake, but camping is allowed by permit and in the designated sites. For more details on backcountry travel and permits in the Indian Peaks Wilderness area, see the Indian Peaks Wilderness Alliance. The Diamond Lake Trail continues past Diamond Lake into the high country where it meets up with the Devils Thumb trail. Hikers in Indian Peaks should always prepare by packing the 10 Essentials, and have a plan in case they encounter rapidly changing weather conditions. In the summer, this means thunderstorms and lightning that rapidly form, and un-forecasted snowstorms from Fall to early Summer.
Tips & Resources for Hiking the Diamond Lake Trail
- TIP: Go there early (especially during the weekends) to avoid an overcrowded parking area.
- TIP: Bring bug spray for mosquitoes.
- Trail Map: Diamond Lake Trail
- Packing List: Always pack the 10 Essentials. Download our Hiking Guide to get the list and dayhiking packing checklist.
- Colorado Road Conditions: Colorado Road Conditions
- After the Hike: Happy Trails Cafe
Map & Driving Directions
Click for Driving Directions