I finally did it. I finally found the trail I’ve been waiting for. I’ve been searching for a steep trail high in the rockies that also featured a lake. I stumbled upon a gem. I found this trail on the app, Alltrails, and it surely did not disappoint.
The trailhead sat about 45 minutes into the Rocky Mountains via Boulder, Colorado, into the town of Nederland. The drive was well over an hour, but it was worth every mile. I loved how isolated and deep into the forest the trailhead was. Whenever the road turns into dirt, you know there’s a good chance of peace and quiet. I only saw a few cars parked near the trail.
The journey begins cutting through dense forests and crossing over trickling streams. It was beautiful how lush and hydrated the vegation was. Every quarter mile or so you would find a stream sliding its way down the mountainside. About a half mile down the trail, the trees opened up to gorgeous peaks in the near distance, towering near 13,000 feet. At my feet was a peaceful, tricking stream about 8 feet across, babbling as I gaze at the giant beasts in front of me. This was a special moment for me. It was my first time experiencing a mountainside stream as the one below me; in addition to the colossal peaks in every direction I look. It seemed like the true Colorado hiking experience I was looking for – and I found it. Below you’ll see a taste of what was before my eyes.
As you can see, there was a snowy, rainy mix falling from the sky. As the hike proceeded and gained in elevation, that mix became snow. And the funny part was; I was wearing shorts. The temperature in Denver (where I live) was about 70 degrees on this particular day, so I expected low 50s, maybe high 40s in the mountains. Well… I was very wrong. About an hour past the calm mountainside stream was a larger, more gorgeous creek. The creek was accompanied by tiny waterfalls with louder, babbling noises that made for a very pleasant experience. And with the area to myself, I was at peace. The water was cold, crystal clear, and very pleasing to the senses. See below:
As I sat around the falls and did some exploring, I realized I had to press on. The trail began getting steeper and steeper and that meant that rainy mix was turning into big fat snowflakes. Luckily I was wearing a few jackets so I was staying fairly warm. And when I’m constantly moving and keeping my heartrate up, I stay pretty warm. I only get cold when I’m standing around being stagnant. So I kept moving. And to my surprise, I finally saw another human. He was wearing a ski outfit, covered in head to toe. That made me chuckle a bit since I was wearing shorts, haha. As the snow kept falling, the trail was harder and harder to find. There was a few inches on the ground, which at times obstructed my view of the trail. But I still managed.
Around 30 minutes later, I finally made it. And it was unbelievable. Honestly, it was one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen while hiking. Although the weather wasn’t ideal, the views were spectacular. The lake wasn’t too big, maybe only about a mile or two of shoreline. Surrounding this gem of a lake were huge colossal peaks. And the water was crystal clear. Everything about this area was unreal. Even with the blizzard-like conditions, I was a happy guy. I’ve never seen anywhere like this before. So isolated, so beautiful, and so perfect. I could see myself camping here in the future. This is one of those places that I’ll have to come back to. After freezing my face off, it was time to make the trek back. Although I wanted to live there, the smart choice was to get out of the cold and get my blood flowing.
This was more than just a lake. This was more than just a trail. This was the epitome of mother nature. This is where I’m supposed to be. This is a place where I can escape the real-world and see it in its purest form.
A place where man is not seen. A place where man is not heard.
A place like this can make you forget about all the hustle and bustle. All the stress, all the “stuff” happening, all the technology. This place can change you. Raw, powerful, moving, peaceful, tranquil. Just a few adjectives to explain this place. But the truth is… these words don’t do justice. Beautiful nature can’t be experienced with words.
Diamond Lake is a little taste of the bountiful beauty that Colorado has to offer. Pure nature in the heart of Colorado’s playground.