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Lawn Lake and Crystal Lake – Rocky Mountain National Park – Colorado Trip Advice [GUIDE]

 


Location: Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado (Map)
Cost: $25 park entrance – $500, depends on length of stay
Age Range: Ability to Hike over 6 Miles Required Trip Time: 6 hours to a few days

Activities

  • Hiking – The views are so spectacular, you’ll think you’re in a postcard. Actually, you just could be. The hike to Lawn Lake is the type that, if you are with your family and you find someone to take a photo or set the old auto timer, the pics could turn out to be the yearly Christmas card photo. It’s a pretty tough hike. 6.5 miles one way, 13 miles back and forth, high elevation, dry climate. Come with plenty of water or a filter pump.
  • Fishing – The State Fish of Colorado, the native greenback cutthroat trout, that inhabit the lakes are among the most beautiful fish you will ever see…if you can catch one. They are a wily species, in tune with the natural cycles around them. So, if you hope to catch one, you better be in tune with those cycles as well. Barbless hooks, catch and release, artificial flies and lures only.

  •  Backpacking – There are a few camp sites from which to choose. No fires are currently allowed (2013). The park just can’t afford to have a mistake cost millions in firefighting costs, so when the sun goes down, you’d better be ready to beat the cold. This is rugged, high elevation country, and it requires solid planning and gear.
  • Horse Back Riding/Llamas – You can ride your horses all the way up to Lawn Lake. After hiking in with a 50 pound pack, I also wished I could have taken advantage of that option, or the option to bring a llama. No pack goats are allowed.

Best Time of Year to Hike Lawn Lake

Lawn and Crystal Lakes are literally the point of water creation for a large portion of the United States. The snow falls heavy on this area, so it’s difficult to hike it before the spring runoff ends. Then, there is the weather factor. If somewhere is going to be cold, it will be this elevation, so mid-summer to fall are probably the best times to hike.

Best Time of Year to Backpack and Camp at Lawn Lake

Once again, Mother Nature rules, so when she is providing warmth is the time to go. That’s also the summer monsoon season in Colorado, so while the heat may be there, so also may the lightning. Be ready to go from full on summer to full on freezing in the blink of an eye. If you go in July and August, the stark weather changes will probably only cause discomfort to the unprepared. Other seasons might be more drastic.

Stay on the Trail!

“Hey, do you think we could make our way to that waterfall for a picture? It’s only a little bit off the trail.” Unfamous last words. Leaving the trail can be dangerous in any wilderness area, so be advised. Rocky Mountain National Park is not where you want to be lost (see weather patterns, other burliness above).

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