|Elevation Gain||1,998 ft|
|My Time||4 hr 41 min|
|Difficulty||Moderate to Hard|
Rogers Pass Lake
Rogers Pass lake is a great hike through the James Peak Wilderness that features a river, waterfall, and an alpine lake above 11,000 feet.
The trailhead for Rogers Pass Lake starts at the East Portal entrance to the James Peak Wilderness. This is a very popular destination and several trails originate from the trailhead. The first mile and a half of the hike is relatively flat and very well maintained. The trail will meander around the tunnel complex and some old buildings and will travel next to South Boulder Creek.
South Boulder Creek Trail
At the mile and a half point the South Boulder Creek trail will connect with the Forrest Lakes trail. Stay on South Boulder to get to the Rogers Pass Lake. As you continue on the trail you will enter a heavier wooded area and the trail will stay in the woods for a majority of the rest of the hike.
While in the woods the trail is still very well maintained. Fallen trees have been cleared and there isn’t any technically challenging hiking.
About the time that you enter the woods is when the trail begins to get a bit steeper. While the trail doesn’t have any big increases in elevation, this second section of South Boulder Creek has a very consistent grade of between 10-20% for the next three miles.
While 10% doesn’t seem like much when you get to the third mile at that type of elevation gain the legs and lungs start to burn a bit so make sure to pace yourself.
South Boulder Creek also has junctions with two other trails on the hike. The trails to Crater Lakes and Clayton Lake will be the junctions but to get to Rogers Pass Lake you will want to stay on the South Boulder Creek trail.
The Upper Trail
As I mentioned before the trail doesn’t have any extreme elevation gains but it is consistent. As you get higher up in elevation the trail has a couple of stream crossings. This trail is very well built and there are bridges constructed over the water crossings but a pair of waterproof boots might not be the worst idea depending on conditions.
One of the best features of a the hike is the waterfall that comes about a mile before you come to the lake. The waterfall has a bridge over it and easy to cross but it is one those cascading falls that bounces from rock to rock and is really beautiful.
After the waterfall comes the steepest section of the trail. There is a short patch of trail that reaches to 20% in grade. But then you will come to a clearing with some amazing views and Rogers Pass Lake.
Rogers Pass Lake
The clearing opens up right at the bank of the lake. There is a path that continues along the lakeside and splits to go up and over the pass.
If you take the trail up towards the pass you can get some really nice views of the lake looking back.
The lake was my favorite part of the hike. Not only because the lake is crystal clear and beautiful but the surrounding mountains and views are pretty amazing. Since most of this hike is under the umbrella of trees, the lake is the best view of the grandeur of the surrounding wilderness.
Overall a cool hike with nice water features and a stunning lake at the end!
I have put a couple of videos together of my time on the hike for your viewing enjoyment. The first video here is a narrative version of the hike.
The second video is what I like to call my hikers edit. It is a time-lapsed version of the hike so you can see the whole trail. If you enjoy the videos make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel. The subscription is free and you will get updates whenever I post a new video!
Distance and Elevation
If you don’t have the AllTrails app you might want to check it out, I really love mine. It records your progress and is a great way to search for hikes that are nearby and gives you difficulty measurements. According to AllTrails today’s hike was around 9.73 miles and had a total elevation gain of about 1,998 feet including undulations. That put the high point at around 11,156 feet. I was also moving for a total of 4 hours and 41 minutes.
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This is a long hike with a very consistent elevation gain. It wore me out pretty good. Unlike the hikes with big spikes in elevation that you can prepare for, these hikes with a consistent grade kind of sneak up on you and all of a sudden you are really tired and don’t know why!
The trail is well developed and easy to follow but it does get very rocky. I had several issues with my ankles wanting to snap on a misstep. There is a little bit of water but nothing that is challenging to cross and most of the crossings have bridges. I would suggest a good pair of hiking boots with good ankle support and good tread to deal with the rocky surfaces.
The trail to the Rogers Pass Lake starts at the East Portal access point to the James Peak Wilderness. The trail is down a long dirt road that is in pretty good shape and most cars will be able to handle it as long as you take your time. There are a couple of pit toilets available at the trailhead. I would say there is room for about 40 cars at the parking area but it fills up quick as several trails start from this portal.
Wrapping up Rogers Pass Lake
The hike to Rogers Pass Lake was an enjoyable hike through the woods and next to a stream. The elevation was gradual but consistent and I found myself pretty wore out by the end. The views of the hike were very nice at the beginning and end of the hike but the middle is just forest. I really liked the shaded forest walk but its not for everyone.
Overall I really enjoyed my time on the trail but especially at the lake and the waterfall. The incline got to me a bit but it was still a very enjoyable hike.
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