This short, Coloradan amble is best done in the late fall or winter when no one’s around, as it’s a high-use area bordering Rocky Mountain National Park. The views are quite beautiful.
➤ Quick Facts
Info at a Glance
- Date of Visit: 24-25 October
- Notable Features: Lake Agnes, Mount Richthofen, Nokhu Crags, Braddock Peak
- Total Miles: ~3.4 miles
- Elevation Gain/Loss: +/-1107′
- Elevation Min, Avg, Max: 9790, 10229, 10,683′
- General Route: Forest Road 62, walk Lake Agnes road and then Lake Agnes trail; return
- GPS Track Download Download the KML file to use on your phone or Google Earth; sometimes I make the GPX full-track data available. Gaia is free, just register. (No spam from them at all.)
- Housekeeping: Feel free to contact me for better pictures. I optimize pictures for the web and then have a CDN display them to save data…typically clicking a picture makes it look nicer. 🙂
Interactive GPS Map (Click to See)
I lived somewhat close to Fort Collins and I had a couple of days off and was downright tired of being trapped inside, so I made it my mission to go camping. Although I have also ski-camped in this area, this time I decided that I would just snowshoe around Lake Agnes and do a quick overnight.
⤑Day 1: Ingress to Camp
I had an appointment in FoCo to get a new remote starter put in my Jeep, and they couldn’t get it done until later than I’d normally have liked. As such, I got a very late start on the road. There was a bunch of snow, and I could only get my Jeep up a portion of the right turn past Forest Road 62, which normally you’d drive to the Trailhead. A couple of people snowshoed out and left as I was getting ready, but I was otherwise the only person to be there. I left my jeep at 5:30PM, already in the late evening, and weighed down with Powerade. Although I knew that I’d boil some water, since the hike was very short, I wanted to avoid using my filter, and Powerade was the best way to do that.
- The hike in.
The walk up the road is very gentle and short, and before I knew it I was at the parking lot. Camping isn’t allowed around the lake, though at this time of year no one would be around to fine you. I still elected to be a good boy, and found a meadow off past the roads to camp in. I’d eaten at Chic-Fil-A in FoCo so I only ground snacks with me. Obviously the night would be below freezing (and the day), but I knew that I’d be toasty in my REI Magma 10 with all of my ski gear on.
- Night at camp in my little meadow beneath the Nokhu Crags.
I bundled up and got some pictures of the night sky for a while, then got inside my tent and watched a movie on my phone. I rarely watch movies at home, preferring to read, and reading on my small screen isn’t pleasurable (I still do it), so camping is when I typically will watch a movie. (As of the time of this writing, I no longer have Netflix, so I don’t know if you can still download them from that service.)
- Your sweet prince in his suite.
I woke up in the middle of the night and heard an animal outside my tent, so I yelled at it. It walked around some more and then left. Weird. In the morning, I found some sort of feline tracks, so it was probably a bobcat or juvenile mountain lion.
⤑Day 2: Lake Agnes and Out
Although I got up before 9, my tent was still in deep shadows, so I decided that I’d relax and wait for the sun to hit. Not like I more than 2 miles to do for the day. I gave up on this plan by 1000 when it was still shadowy, and got up to begin disassembling my tent. Although I had no plans to pack it up to the lake, I decided to get it all ready to throw in my bag for my return trip. As I was doing this, a Grey Jay accosted me (annoying birds), but since it was winter, I fed it a Froot-by-the-Foot roll, which it enjoyed, and then it promptly died of diabetes.
- The world’s worst animal, some mountains, and a H/C17.
Although there were signs that people had been doing some Nordic, I didn’t see anyone, and the trail didn’t have too many tracks on it. I arrived at Lake Agnes, and it looked incredibly beautiful—the ice on the lake was complete, and still see-through, reflecting the mountains in the background. The noonday sun was also warm enough that I could take off my jacket, and there wasn’t even the hint of a breeze. I spent an hour lounging in the sun and enjoying life, thanking God for such a beautiful creation, and looking at the Nokhu Crags and Mount Richthofen rising above me. What a blessing.
- The trail up to Lake Agnes, and Lake Agnes itself!
The drive home was long, and I decided that I’d better get going, so I left at 1PM and headed back down to my stowed items. The walk out only took me about 45 minutes, including situating everything, and I decided to go the long way home, heading over toward Walden and up by Laramie to check out the Foxpark skiing area. (Later I returned to ski there, but it isn’t worth the long trip.) In a strange turn of events, there was high fire danger by Cheyenne on the way home!
➤Conclusion and Rating
For only snowshoeing about 3 miles and having it all to myself, this was a great little getaway and some nice exercise. I also ski-pack this area in the winter, and it’s very nice then. In the summer, the proximity to Rocky Mountain National Park makes it a place to avoid, at least for me, given that I don’t care for crowds and all the restrictions that come with them. I found the lake and mountains to be truly stunning cloaked in snow and ice, and was blessed to have them all to myself.
- My scientific rating system. This was a real blast during the winter.
- Beauty. It’s only about 3 miles of walking, so if you get to see it by yourself, the beauty is stunning!
- Camping spots. For the most part, camping is prohibited near the lake, and many special restrictions apply.
- Crowds. Not in the winter.
- Difficulty. A total breeze.
- Fishing. Don’t know!
- History. Not much.
I’d love to help you do more with that time of yours, and I’m here to serve you! Let me know if this wasn’t useful, or if I can improve in any way.