|Hike Name:||Rainbow Lakes|
|Directions:||The Rainbow Lakes Trailhead is located 5 miles west of Highway 72 on Rainbow Lakes Road (a.k.a. County Road 116 - National Forest System Road 298). Rainbow Lakes Road is located 7.35 miles north of Nederland, CO.
Turn west from Highway 72 on Rainbow Lakes Road and keep straight past the University of Colorado Mountain Research Station access road and Caribou 4WD turnoff, through the Rainbow Lakes Campground to the small parking area at the road's terminus at the trailhead.
This route is gated during the winter. This road is a five-mile, native-surfaced road. A high clearance vehicle is recommended.
|Total Hike Distance:||2.90 miles|
|Hike Type:||In and Out, Backtrack Hike|
|Hike Starts/Ends:||Rainbow Lakes Road|
|Trails Used:||Rainbow Lakes Trail|
|Backcountry Water Sources:||Streams, Lakes|
|Management:||U.S. Forest Service|
|Contact Information:||Boulder Ranger District
USDA Forest Service
2140 Yarmouth Ave.
Boulder, CO 80301
|Best Season:||Summer, Fall|
|Road Conditions:||Primary Paved Roads, Secondary Paved Roads, Maintained Gravel or Dirt Roads|
|Hike Summary:||This parking area provides access to the Rainbow Lakes and Arapaho Glacier Trails inside the Indian Peaks Wilderness, but you will follow Trail 918 to Rainbow Lakes. The trailhead is located east of the Rainbow Lakes Campground which you walk past in the first mile of the hike.
Starting at an elevation of ~10,000 feet, the trail ascends moderately from the trailhead through a forest of evergreens. The first three lakes are passed with ~300 feet of elevation gain and are all easily accessible from the trail. The last two lakes are higher in elevation and require more work to access - especially with snow on the ground.
This is a great hike in the summer months suitable for families and anyone looking to spend a few hours in the wilderness - with great views from the second and third of the Rainbow Lakes.