Loch Lomond

Idaho Springs, Colorado (ClearCreek County)

Last Updated: 11/03/2020
4.5 / 5 ( 32 reviews )
Information
Nearby Trails
Status: Seasonal Closure
Typically Open: 07/15 - 10/15
Length: 2.36 miles
Highest Elevation: 11315 feet
Duration: About 45 minutes
Shape of Trail: Out & Back
Best Direction to Travel: N/A
Nearest Town: Idaho Springs
Nearest Town w/ Services: Idaho Springs
Official Road Name: 701.1
Management Agency: Arapahoe National Forest
District: Clear Creek Ranger District
Showing 0 trails within 2 miles

Highlights

Highlight: Loch Lomond
Situated in the Arapaho National Forest - Clear Creek District, this trail offers high alpine lakes, fishing, wild flowers, and great dispersed camping all within one hour from Denver, Colorado. This trail can be crowded on the weekends, but you can expect to have it all to yourself during the week.

Weather

7 day forecast for Loch Lomond

Route Information

Technical Rating:
(MODERATE )

Read more about our rating system

Waypoints

1. Loch Lomond Trailhead ( mi)
Turn north on Stuart Road where it will join Forest Service Road 701.1

Directions to Trailhead

Trailhead Coordinates: 39.813293, -105.656105

Starting Point: From Denver:

I-70 westbound, take exit #238 Fall River Road. Drive approx. 8 miles to Alice road, turn left, stay on Alice road, turn right on Steuart road, NFSR 701.

Camping

Dispersed

Trail Reviews (45)

Author: Official Crew
Status: Seasonal Closure
Offroaded on:
Gates have been closed, we will keep you aware in the spring when trails start opening up!

Author: Official Crew
Status: Temporary Closure
Offroaded on:
Due to extreme fire danger, the National Forest Service has temporarily closed all National Forest land in Clear Creek, Jefferson, Gilpin, Boulder, and Larimer counties. https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/arp/news-events/?cid=FSEPRD831612

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Quick, easy, definitely some serious deeeeeep rutting on one portion, but was fine in a stock tundra picking a good line.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Great little trail. Had a few areas that could be challenging for lower clearance vehicles. At the top there is a great hike to the waterfalls at the back of the lake or to other lakes. There is also a little loop to have some fun with roll, got to about 25% at the top of the turn. Had a lot of fun and combined with Chins Lake to end the day.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Perfect for a 50/50 Jeeping/Hiking day. One could even throw some kayaking into the mix. Seemed to be popular with a 20 something crowd at the lake. One of the best short hikes we’ve come across this close to Denver.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
The trail itself is a bumpy piece of doo-doo but the prize at the end is breathtaking. James Peak and Loch Lomond are truly beautiful. My son and I go as often as we can.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
This is a great trail for newbies, such as myself, looking to learn both technical skills in addition to their vehicle limits. At only ~2.5 miles, it isn't long, but offers enough small obstacles to start building proper 4x4 skill sets. The reward at the end makes the trek worth it. Loch Lomond is a beautiful area, the lake and waterfall are truly gorgeous. The somewhat advanced trail also means less people at the lake, which is a nice change of pace as it's close to popular hiking trails and Idaho Springs. There were numerous hikers, so definitely watch out for folks walking.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Trail is open all the way to the top. It was pretty busy even for a Friday but the lake is beautiful. I would consider this trail easy, it is rocky but pretty easy going all the way to the top. Most capable stock vehicles should have no problem with this trail.

Author:
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
This was my first off-roading trail, and it was a blast. I had a stock 2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD off road model. It was a bit hairy at times for a newbie, but a lot of fun! Unfortunately the top gate was still locked, about 1.25 miles from the lake, as their was still a snow drift right before the lake.

Author:
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
The upper gate is still closed.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
Per the district ranger, the lower gate has been opened, but the upper gate remains closed.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Ran this yesterday after Chinns Lake. Open all the way through. Pretty easy ride, a bit bumpy, but airing down should help. Most of the water in the lake has been apparently drained off. Great day but freezing cold with the wind.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Drove up late on a Sunday afternoon in a stock 4Runner SR5. The trail is rocky but was easy peasy even in my stock 4Runner. It was a bumpy ride though and some of the rocks are big enough that you definitely want something with good ground clearance, not a CUV. I passed a few vehicles on my way in and there were a few more at the lakes when I got there, but not overwhelming crowded. The trail is relatively wide and it's easy to for vehicles to get by each other throughout. The lake you get to at the end of the trail is alright and there is a nice waterfall, but there are three more lakes further up that you can hike to. I would definitely recommend doing that. The trail is kind of overgrown and poorly marked, but it's not to difficult to find your way up (probably a couple hundred feet of elevation gain) and when you get there you are rewarded with much more pristine looking lakes.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Passed one Wrangler on the way up on a Wednesday. Otherwise had the trail all to myself. High clearance required in a few places and I would not consider 4WD a requirement. Still recommended though. Beautiful mountain views up top. Hiked across the Dam and up to the saddle opposite of the waterfall for some photos. Also hiked the closed portion of the 4WD trail south of the parking area. Looks like it would have been a really great trail with 360° views. Two tacoma bros hooting and hollering rolled up into the area while hiking, one drove down to the waters edge and along the bank for IG pics. I passed them going down the trail where they were camping. They had a raging fire during the FIRE BAN...

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Took a trip up Sat with the family, somewhat crowded for post Labor Day but no issues passing etc. Whomever is in charge of the lake brought a backhoe up there and was actively working on the dam Sat, I believe in the process of hauling it up the road they graded both the rut after waypoint #2 AND removed the one small rock obstacle referenced in some recent reviews. The drive is still bumpy but probably the easiest I've seen it in the last 3 years, could even be considered Subaru friendly right now if you dont mind a scrape or two. If you chose to hike I would caution against parking on the main road at the start, although everyone seems to do it there is no legal parking within St. Mary's and we saw violation notices on several vehicles. enjoy this road before the upper gate closes in 30 days.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Great views at the top. As many have said, trail is rocky but not difficult. It could likely be done in 2WD and high clearance. Stock 4Runner with no issues.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Busy trail. Fun (bumpy) little trail, nice views and excellent dispersed camping. We went up to the Loch, which was packed with visitors, so we ventured back down the trail and found a really nice camping spot for the night. Moose were around, the Milky Way was out, its a fun escape and close to Denver. Try to avoid the crowds by visiting during the week.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Absolutely breathtaking payoff. The ride up to the lake was slightly rocky. As long as you air down and take your time and lifted vehicle with 4 wheel drive will make it. Be aware of the hikers and stop so they can walk pass you.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Awesome trail. Did it in my mostly stock lexus gx460. Not washed out. The hardest part was still no problem.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Only one dug out spot, which may give those without flex/locker/traction control a fit (watched a mildly lifted Jeep YJ pull over to let traffic by because it was flexing out and spinning tires). Otherwise, it's a rocky road that has a few rocks large enough to give stock high clearance vehicles a scrap if you're not paying attention or choosing good lines. Still a popular area, particularly on the weekends, so expect to meet traffic along the way. Most of the road is wide enough to allow passing without big concerns. The runoff is flowing so high and fast still that it is overflowing onto the road in one spot, but it's not deep so no worries.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
open all the way. beautiful trail for sure! I had gone up this trail in a 4th gen 4runner a few years back and it was smooother. this year it was a little bumpier and yes "crux is quick into this driver" as Max has mentioned before, but after that it's easy. I first got there started driving up came across this crux and chicken out reversed back and parked hiked it up and once back down i decided to give it a go. had to engage the 4x4 in the xj and did just fine. any 4x4 should do it perfectly fine. a lot more traffic than the first time i visited this place

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Trail is in good condition. Crux of the trail is fairly quick into this drive. Crux is a section of rutted out area, pick a line left or right and you’re fine. Stock 4Runner, no issues.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Beautiful trail. Slightly more difficult this season because of a washed out rut around waypoint 3, but high clearance vehicles were making it through with a little finesse. Jeep with 35s bounced up it without a problem. Water crossings were shallow and slow. Bit of snow still near the top off the trail. Fair bit of traffic on a weekday.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Trail is clear and 2nd gate is open. Fairly calm Sunday morning but coming back down midday we encountered a fair bit of traffic. The road is in good shape but I would say its a bit worse than previous years. Should be passable by most any 4x4 with decent clearance.

Author:
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Second gate still closed as of 7/20/19. Looked like it could be clear by this upcoming weekend. Still a fun drive to hike if you're into that.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Anyone know if the 2nd gate is open yet?

Author:
Status: Seasonal Closure
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Second Gate was NOT open. Overall easy trail, just really bumpy the whole way. There are two spots which I would assume give the trail a moderate rating. Both parts were the same, boulder in the middle forcing you to go around. Left gets you close to the edge and right you have to maneuver a 2ft deep hole which gives you a tipsy feeling side to side. Hiking past the gate the trail was dry and 99% melted. There is one section of snow covering the trail that is about 20yrd long or so. Other than that, the area is snow-free. Reports from social media have said possible opening on Wednesday (7/17).

Author:
Status: Seasonal Closure
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Great trail leading to a beautiful set of lakes. Rocky section a couple hundred meters after the first gate - nice to be lifted but a stock truck could make it. Not sure how this section of the trail will hold up as the snow continues to melt and it gets more traffic. Camping looks great up there but still 4+ feet of snow in some of the drifts.

Author:
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Road is open to upper gate, road in same condition as last year. Tons of snow past the 2nd gate im not sure it'll be ready for 7/15, campsites all looked very wet. Lake is 95% frozen but the edges are soft and large cracks are forming, likely 10 days before the majority of the ice is gone

Author: Official Crew
Status: Seasonal Closure
Offroaded on:
Rating:
The lower gates are open, but snow lingers up high. Best to wait this one out a few more weeks.

Author:
Status: Seasonal Closure
Offroaded on:
Rating:
I would no longer attempt to get up to the upper (closed) gate without tire chains and recovery gear. The rut about 1/4 mile from waypoint 2 has 4-6 inches of snow covering a VERY icy bottom layer.

Author:
Status: Seasonal Closure
Offroaded on:

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Probably one of my favorite trails to run. Just enough of a challenge for a stock 4x4 but nothing too crazy. Usually enough room to pass other vehicles, although at times you may need to reverse and let someone squeeze by. A great trail for someone looking to get into off-roading.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
This was the first time that made it all the way to the lake. A trip last year was stopped before the first major bend by weather and a Jeep that needed gas. The trail was great though I wish the water was higher. It's late in the season and it's quite low. There were vehicles and hikers on the trail and it made for a busy afternoon. I would say the ruts near the start of the trail should probably get noticed. A Nissan Xterra that may have been able to make it, turned back.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Fun trail, but there are definitely a few sections that one should take slow and have good wheel placement. Fall colors were great today. A bit windy though, so fishing was out. Some great places to camp below the lake area. And there was a lot of people today. Still a great place to go.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
This was a fun trail that led to a beautiful lake. It was a much more bumpy ride than I expected but my all stock 2006 silverado 1500 made it up. There were 2 very large ruts that presented problems but I got over and down them

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Both the upper and lower gates are now open. I'd agree with Jonathon's review in that the trail is a bit rougher than I've seen in years past. A friend's stock Nissan Frontier pickup made it all the way up the trail, but needed to be pretty careful with line placement in a few spots. My 2000 Land Cruiser with 33" Duratracs made it up with no issues. Overall, a very fun trail and the scenery at the top is absolutely gorgeous!

Author:
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Upper gate is still closed, looks like they will stick to the 7/15 opening despite the snow finally disappearing on the upper half of the trail over the last 10 days. 3 rating is fair based on current condition, the roads in rougher shape than I remember from 2017. My Tacoma required one second attempt at a rut thats about .3 mi past waypoint 2 and has been getting deeper the last few weeks. Arrived at Loch by 5am and was greeted by a bobcat making some interesting sounds, fishing has been great since ice off in early June...

Author: Official Crew
Status: Seasonal Closure
Offroaded on:
Rating:
The upper gates are now closed until late spring and the lower portions are soon to be impassable.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
We went up today to try out my new Cherokee Trailhawk. I haven't done a 4-wheel-drive road in about 30 years. The only bit of problem I had was at the little whoop-de-dip about 50 yards past the lower gate. I tried to go to the right, the less rocky but more dug out and loose, and I was spinning my right front wheel. I backed up and went over the rocks to the left. It turns out I had forgotten to lock my rear axle (the Cherokee is front wheel primary, rear secondary until you lock up). No problems the rest of the way. Any rocks more than 8" were easily avoided. Coming down was a cakewalk.Low range low gear and I just crawled down the rocks. Just a few opportunities for someone to back up to pass. We did see a sedan up in the dispersed camping area and wondered how it got up there. On the way out, we also met a basic in-town SUV with no low range at the whoop-de-dip trying to figure out how he was going to get past it. This little obstacle stopped me cold in a Rogue about 7 years ago. That CVT just wouldn't give enough torque to get past it.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
We made it a mile in before weather and a CJ in need of gas made us stop. We ended up dead-towing the CJ with another vehicle and got him down to where it was safe for him to find out he'd just flooded it after the trail fill-up. A reminder to always fill up before you go out and carry extra gas if you can.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
All gates are open and you can make it all the way up. It just opened and there were several vehicles up there and some people fishing. Road conditions have not changed from previous years.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Seasonal Closure
Offroaded on:
Upper gates will open around July 15th, 2017.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Seasonal Closure
Offroaded on:
The trail is currently closed due to seasonal closure as it normally is until June 15th, I went up on snowshoes and although it normally opens June 15th, I would suspect that with the 30' plus tall drifts at the top it will be closed towards the end of June unless we have a very warm spring.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
What I enjoy so much about this trail is that on any Sunday, later in the day, you pretty much have the place to yourself. I was faced with entertaining out of town guests and wanted to be able to take them to a place that seemed remote, but yet close to Denver. So on a rainy Sunday afternoon I decided a nice tour of the mountains outside of Denver would include Loch Lomond as its focal point. With sandwiches, rain jackets, and a sense of adventure we hit the trail. Upon gaining our vantage above timberline we realized there was just us visiting the lake. Upon The youngest in the group, age 9, saw the 90' cascading waterfall at the far end of the lake and wanted to brave the rain and explore the perimeter of the lake. So in the pouring rain we walked to the far edge. The joy of seeing a 9 year old explore mountain territory for the very first time is irreplaceable. After a half hour of hiking we turned back due to soaking wet clothes and cold hands. Next trip back the adventurous 9 year old wants to tackle the higher lakes.

Questions & Answers (5)

Q: Anyone happen to know if they opened upper gate yet? Forest Service site says should be opened by 15th of July but not sure that always happens as planned.
–Steven Salinas (07/16/2020)
–Todd (07/16/2020)
Q: Hi Todd - did you by any chance hike the second part up to the lake June 2019? was wondering if there's any ice left. thanks
–J Ranello (06/13/2019)
Q: Anyone know if this trail is open yet?
–Evan Thompson (05/20/2018)
–Todd (05/21/2018)
Q: I have a 2012 Ford Explorer 4x4 (don't laugh!). Is that suitable for something like this? Just looking for an adventure when we come out in mid-July. Thanks!
–Erick Thompson (05/16/2018)
–Todd (05/16/2018)
Q: Hello was wondering if since the hotter weather in the upper gate is now open thanks
–David (06/21/2017)
–Todd (06/22/2017)

Writer Information

Todd

Founder

Todd is an avid wheeler who loves to explore new trails whenever and wherever he can. They say necessity is the mother of all invention and that holds true for Todd. His want and desire to find passable trails and new nooks and crannies of the Great American West to explore were his reasons behind starting Trailsoffroad.com. On any given weekend you can find Todd on some obscure 4x4 trail or using his legs to hike to an alpine lake.
For individual use only, not to be shared.