Sprague Lake Nature Loop, Sprague Lake Trailhead and Picnic Area, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Sprague Lake Nature Loop - 0.8 miles

Sprague Lake Trailhead and Picnic Area

Sprague Lake

Sprague Lake

Round-Trip Length: 0.8 miles (Handicap Accessible)
Start-End Elevation: 8,720' - 8,720' (8,730' max elevation)
Elevation Change: +10' total roundtrip elevation gain
Skill Level: Easy
Dogs Allowed: No
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: No
Related Trails:

Sprague Lake Nature Loop - 0.8 Miles Round-Trip

Sprague Lake is located just south of Bear Lake Road on the east side of Rocky Mountain National Park. Visitors will enjoy an easy loop around this scenic upper-montane lake with panoramas of the Continental Divide that include Hallett Peak (12,713'), Otis Peak (12,486') and Taylor Peak (13,153').

A short bridge leaves the parking lot, crosses an inlet stream and connects with the nature loop.

Anglers will enjoy well-stocked waters and an accessible - albeit often crowded - 13 acre shoreline. The Sprague Lake Picnic Area, located within the parking lot, maintains modern rest facilities, fire pits and tables that can accommodate larger groups.

Those seeking longer day hikes from this location can explore a second trailhead (adjacent to the nature loop within the parking lot) that accesses Storm Pass, Glacier Junction and Bear Lake.

Before becoming a national park in 1915, the Sprague Lake area was home to a mountain resort run by Abner and Alberta Sprague. Other than the eponymous lake few, signs of their ambitious recreational project remain today, as the area has been effectively rehabilitated.

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Worth Noting

  • This is a family friendly, 4-season trail.

  • This is a fine running and altitude-acclimation trail.

Camping and Backpacking Information

Backcountry Campsites are listed below.

Distance: .5 miles from trailhead
Elevation: 8,820' elevation
Number of sites: 1 (space for 12 people max)
Privy available: Yes
Food Storage: none available
Water Source: Sprague Lake inlet
Site Description: Parking for the camp is located 7.0 miles from Park Headquarters at the Sprague Lake Picnic Area. The trail follows the nature trail around the lake for a ways, then winds through aspen and lodgepole pine to the campsite about .5 miles from the parking lot and at the far end of the lake. Gear must be packed in. Pitch tent(s) as close to the indicated site as is safely possible out of potential hazard from standing dead trees.

Both the privy and storage box have combination locks on them. The combination will be given to the permittee when the permit is picked up. Use of the camp is by reservation only. There is a 3-night camping limit at the site. To make reservations write to: Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park, Colorado 80517 or telephone 970-586-1242.

Contact Information

Rocky Mountain National Park
Visitor Information:

Backcountry Office:

Campground Reservations:

Emergency Dispatch:

Trip Reports

There are no trip reports on this trail.


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