Saltwater, Sea Air and Sassy Prose

About Cassidy Springfield

Cassidy Springfield writes travel reviews, New Adult Romance and Coming of Age novels. Dog-lover, adventurer, dreamer, and stargazer. Life is too short to waste on anything that doesn't ignite a fire in your soul.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Fall in Love with Out of the Way Slices of Perfection #Colorado #Travel

Jefferson Lake, Colorado--all photos on this post taken by Briahna Easton
There are perks of being a Colorado local for twenty-two years and marrying a native--one of the best being is knowledge of tucked away slices of majesty.

There are no crowds of tourists, no advertising on the highway, yet this remote high altitude lake in the Pike National Forest is picture perfect paradise. Less than two hours from Denver, Colorado, this little-known area awaits for fishing, hiking, camping, picnicking or simply meditating on its shores.

Getting there requires some local knowledge, though, because it isn't marked on Highway 285 and the town of Jefferson, Colorado consists of less than a dozen buildings---a fudge shop, a Moose Caboose, a museum, and a bar/grill being the most notable. In fact, once you cross Kenosha Pass, slow down because the town of Jefferson is right there and you'll need to make a hard right at the Moose Caboose. I'm not kidding.
Looking down onto Jefferson from Kenosha Pass
You'll see signs for another lake, Tarryoll, with arrows pointing in the opposite direction, but there is no such sign for Jefferson Lake. You just need to "know" now you do. The road is horrible, lined with potholes that could do some serious damage if you're not driving slow, and you may start to feel like you're lost. You're not. Several miles along this road you'll see a small brown sign indicating that you are near a National Park. Turn right at the sign onto an even worse dirt road. These roads may scare a less adventurous soul, but I ask that you be patient and just drive slow. All around you you will see willows lining a river dotted with waterfalls surrounded by mountain peaks dotted with snow. Soon you'll come to the National Park entrance that is marked with a very old red hut. The ranger may or may not be there--it's hit or miss. If he's there, you'll pay $6 for a day use pass. If not, it's free. From this point on, the road is paved and maintained.

This area is known for its wildlife---moose, bear, deer, fox. It's lush with vegetation and the drive is serene. Campgrounds and picnic areas line the river, all with a feeling of seculusion due to the thick forest. At the top of the road is Jefferson Lake--prepare to be awed.

little waterfall along the trail--steeper than it looks
No motorized boats are allowed on this high-altitude lake. You'll see fishermen on the shoreline and a few kayaks or canoes, but that is it. I've hiked here many times over the years and have never seen more than a dozen people at most, all scattered over the vast area. The hike is not for the faint of heart, though. You are near the summit and the lake itself is at 11,000 feet. There are times on the trail when you will be hiking through snow--even in the summer. The trail is not well-maintained and, at times, you will need to navigate fallen rocks and trees. There are also a few waterfalls you'll need to jump over and a shallow river to cross.

Snow on the trail--June 20, 2016
This is an easy day trip for Denver and the foothills, but go early to avoid the late afternoon thunderstorms that are so common at high altitude. After hiking or fishing or simply enjoying some peace, stop by the Moose Caboose or the local cafe in Jefferson for a late lunch or dinner, meet a few locals, and head back home. Traffic can be a killer on a Sunday when headed back to the city, so why rush it? Grab a bite to eat and take it easy. The environment invites a slower state-of-mind so give in to it.

Travel safe! Wishing you all green lights and friendly faces on your journey.

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1 comment:

  1. So will you put me up when I come visit in September??? :) Beautiful.