Howdy Hikers- let's gain some elevation to cooler temps, cascading streams, waterfalls, and perhaps wildflower city on the route to Rogers Pass and Heart Lakes. This is a Colorado Classic Hike, woodsy hike for 3 miles, then almost one mile following the South Boulder Creek drainage from Rogers Pass Lake. There could be snowfields, and sporty stream crossings, suggest you have done 3-4 hikes at least 7-8 miles with 2000' elevation gain prior to this hike. Bring hiking poles, gaiters, 2 quarts water, food, sunscreen, first aid kit, rain gear and extra pair of socks.
We can hit Oskar Blues in Longmont on our return trip-please read the trail description below and we do leave 5 minutes after the meeting time.
Round-Trip Length:8.4 Miles (includes both lakes)Start-End Elevation:9,211' - 11,310' (11,347' max elevation)Elevation Change:+2,099' net elevation gain (+2,273' total roundtrip elevation gain)Skill Level:Moderate
- and Heart Lake occupy adjacent alpine tiers in the southwest corner of the James Peak Wilderness. The trail follows South Boulder Creek to its headwaters at Rogers Pass Lake, and continues through open tundra to Heart Lake:
Follow signs right (north) of Moffat Tunnel to the South Boulder Creek Trail; stay on this trail and be mindful of adjacent private property. It rises past the tunnel through intervals of aspen, spruce, and meadow to the Arapaho Lakes - Forest Lakes Trail split (1.25 miles : 9,555'), and steepens up rugged terrain to the Crater Lakes Trail split (1.85 miles : 9,930'). Keep left.
The trail crosses South Boulder Creek (2.15 miles : 10,090') and turns sharply uphill for a strenuous climb in a cluttered forest. Remain vigilant on this steep, shifting section.
A few steps past a second major bridge (2.45 miles : 10,260') you'll pass an unmarked split for the unmaintained route leading directly to Heart Lake (see below for travel and GPS details).
The South Boulder Creek Trail presses up-valley to a third bridge at the base of a waterfall (3.25 miles : 10,774'), and continues in a thinning forest with your first useful sense of location. It crosses the creek (right) on a makeshift log bridge (3.45 miles : 10,995') where you may notice a well cut path turning downstream on the far bank- ignore this and keep straight.
The trail moderates on a northwest bend to the east shore of Rogers Pass Lake (3.8 miles : 11,118'), where social trails branch off to backcountry campsites and great views of Haystack Mountain (11,780'), Rogers Pass (11,860') and James Peak (13,294').
A low ridge on the south shore yields a good look at the main trail which continues north up a steep ridge to Heart Lake.
The trail climbs over Rogers Pass Lake's NE shore to a crest in open tundra with views of both lakes (4.15 miles : 11,347'). It drops gently on a faint, shrouded path to Heart Lake (4.2 miles : 11,310'). The Heart Lake basin is fairly clear and easy to explore. Climb the slopes above for vantages that reveal Heart Lake's size and eponymous shape.
- James Peak (13,294') is the 5th tallest mountain in the James Peak and Indian Peaks Wilderness Areas.
- This is a heavily used trail system. Arrive early to avoid crowds and secure parking.
- Be mindful of changing weather conditions and get below treeline before storms organize.
- Snow may linger into late summer and obscure the trail. Look for tree markers in the form of red dots; these will assist in following the correct route.
- On August 24th 2002, the federal government signed legislation designating 14,000 acres west of Rollinsville the James Peak Wilderness Area, which includes Rogers Pass Lake and Heart Lake.
Dogs: Not on this hike
We will do regrouping stops at all trail intersections.
Please be prompt so others are not kept waiting. Five minute wait for no-shows.
Please, don't show up for a hike unless your YES RSVP has been accepted for you and any guest(s) that you intend to bring with you.
Please cancel if you decide not to attend so spaces will be available for others.
Hiking is risky. Every year people are hurt and killed because they go beyond their abilities, get lost, or bring the wrong gear. I normally lead hikes that I've done before. I don't do technical climbs but some of my hikes have strenuous climbs that may require using some handholds and require good physical strength and agility. I am not a professional guide. You are responsible for yourself. By signing up for this hike you acknowledge that you are solely responsible for your own safety and will do the necessary research to understand the conditions of this hike and the gear and conditioning required. Stick together! Keep hikers in your line of sight at all times, and stop at any trail junction, stream crossing, trail turns, and dramatic locations.
And lastly, anyone choosing to hike with our group should carry personal medical insurance and a CORSAR (Colorado Outdoor Recreation Search and Rescue) card in case of an emergency.