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Boulder, CO: Arapahoe Glacier Trail

From coniferous forests to intimate alpine lakes to views of the Continental Divide, this 12-miler offers classic Rocky Mountain scenery.

Rating

A strenuous trek into the heart of Indian Peaks Wilderness, the Arapahoe Glacier Trail is a 6-mile-long sustained climb through spruce and pine stands and mountaintop tundra that culminates with a 12,800-foot-high lookout next to the Continental Divide.
The first half of this heart-pounder is a shady, tree-covered journey with occasional views of Boulder County’s forested mountains. After climbing nearly 2,000 feet over 3 miles, 360-degree views reward the weary traveler. The deep blue waters of Island and Silver lakes lap up against Arapahoe Moraine’s green slopes. Goose Lake and its headwaters reach the base of the Continental Divide. Continue up rounded mountains on crushed granite singletrack. The trail switchbacks to a 12,000-foot saddle where hikers can enjoy 100-mile views of the Rockies. Follow the increasingly rocky trail for another 2 miles to Arapahoe Glacier Lookout, then retraces steps back to the trailhead.
-Mapped by MacKenzie Ryan and Chelise Simmons

To Trailhead

From downtown Boulder: Head northwest on Broadway Street/CO-93. Turn left onto Canyon Road. Continue for 14.6 miles. Turn right onto Hurricane Hill Drive. Make a slight left onto Ridge Road. Turn right onto Peak to Peak Highway/CO-72. Continue north and turn left at the sign for the University of Colorado's Mountain Research Center. Bear left at the fork in the dirt road and follow it past Rainbow Lakes Campground. Parking for Rainbow Lakes and Glacier Rim Trailheads is immediately after the campground on the right side of the road.

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