August 17, 2018 Slideshows » Columns

Road Trip Hike: Harvard Lakes 

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I've spent much of this and last summer hiking to lakes in the mountains, and most of of them have been long hikes or at high elevations (or both). At only 6 miles round trip, on a fairly easy section of the legendary Colorado Trail, and only a few minutes from Buena Vista, this week's Harvard Lakes hike is perfect for anyone not up to a strenuous hike, or with only a couple of hours to kill, or someone who's trying to squeeze in one more hike while visiting the many 14er's in the area.

To get there: Take US 24 west from Colorado Springs to US 285 and turn left. Continue west on US 24/285, and after crossing the Arkansas River at Johnson Village, turn right at the traffic light to continue west on US 24. Continue into Buena Vista and at the second traffic light in town, turn left (west) onto Crossman Road/County Road 350. Take CR 350 until it ends at a "T" intersection, and turn right onto County Road 361, following it for a bit over a mile. At a bend in the road, look for County Road 365 on the left. There will be a large brown sign at the intersection, listing the Colorado Trail and Harvard Lakes. Turn left there and follow the dirt CR 365 for about 3.4 miles and watch for a parking area on the left and a smaller one on the right. Park there and walk about 50 feet down the road to the trail head for Colorado Trail 1776 north. CR 365 is passable by everything except low riding vehicles.

Happy Trails!
OF 10
Bob Falcone
After turning on to CR 361 from CR 350, look for this sign for CR 365. Turn here.
Bob Falcone
About 3.4 miles after turning on to CR 365, park on either side of the road here. The trail head is on the right, about 50' past this parking area.
Bob Falcone
The trailhead for the Colorado Trail #1776 going north. If you miss this trailhead and go too far, you'll end up on the southbound trail and going the wrong way.
Bob Falcone
Information kiosk and trail markers. The mileage for the lakes is pretty accurate. About 100' up the trail is a sign-in log for the trail.
Bob Falcone
The trail starts out fairly steeply. There are two switchbacks, the first here at about .35 miles, and the next at about .57 miles. After that the trail is relatively flat, with gently rolling hills.
Bob Falcone
A view along the trail. At about 2.5 miles there is a easy to hop creek crossing and at about 2.7 miles a log bridge over another creek
Bob Falcone
At 3 miles, the first lake is on the east side of the trail. There are trails to the lakeside and also trails going around the lake.
Bob Falcone
A few hundred further up, the second lake is on the west side of the trail. Turn around here to return to the trail head for an approximate 6 mile round trip hike.
Bob Falcone
Another view of the first lake.
Bob Falcone
The trail.
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Matthew Schniper22 images
Sean Cayton14 images
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Bob Falcone
After turning on to CR 361 from CR 350, look for this sign for CR 365. Turn here.

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