Timber Lake – 10.4mi / 16.7km
This hike strikes a nice balance of length, required effort, and remoteness to give you an extremely scenic alpine lake without the crowds.
The trail leaves a picnic area and wanders through the forest before crossing the cascading Beaver Creek. From there, the trail wraps around Jackstraw Mountain and into the Timber Creek drainage. Along the way, you’ll get filtered views of the stunning, volcanic Never Summer Mountains. A seep in the mountains creates an unavoidable, perennial landslide that crosses the trail (check with the rangers at the Kawuneeche Visitor Center to see if it’s been cleared).
The trail eventually climbs up into a sublime meadow section. Hikers ascending Mt. Ida can be seen along the ridgeline up ahead. Flower-laden meadows line Timber Creek which you’ll follow up to the lake. From the marshy foot of the lake, you’ll have a pick of rocks to choose from to sit and admire the rocky cliffs of Mt. Ida as the lake sparkles below.
Trailhead: Turn into the signed Timber Lake Trailhead parking area 9.4mi/15.1km north of the Grand Lake Entrance off the Trail Ridge Road.
Elevation Gain: 2,250ft / 675m – Elevation Loss: 2,250ft / 675m