Columns » Hiking Bob

Lost Lake road trip hike, and wildflower sightings


  • Bob Falcone
Sitting a little over 11,800 feet elevation, surrounded by jagged peaks reaching over 12,000, Lost Lake is a beautiful alpine lake near the summit of Cottonwood Pass near Buena Vista, CO.

Alpine lakes are known for high elevations, crystal clear waters, good treks and incredible views. Lost Lake, located high in the Collegiate Range about 100 miles west of Colorado Springs, is no exception.

The hike to the lake is pretty easy, once you find the trailhead, which can be a challenge. To get to the trailhead, start at the traffic light at West Main Street and U.S. Highway 24 in Buena Vista. West Main Street becomes Cottonwood Pass Road (Chaffee County Road 306) at the city limits. Continue for just under 18 miles from the traffic light and look for a paved pull off on the right side of the road, just before a sign indicating a winding turn ahead.

Cottonwood Pass partial closure: Speaking of Cottonwood Pass, the popular summer route from Buena Vista to Taylor Park, Crested Butte and Gunnison is only open up to the summit of the pass from Chaffee County, on the east side. Gunnison County is paving the west side of the pass prompting it's 24/7 closure through the summer of 2018, at the earliest.

Wildflower Season is in full swing

The best variety and quantity of wildflowers this weekend is along Rainbow Gulch, off of Rampart Range Road near Woodland Park. On a hike there a few days ago, I observed at least a dozen different types of wildflowers in bloom. Get out there and enjoy the season, and don't forget your camera!

Happy Trails!

Bob Falcone is a retired firefighter, photographer, hiker, college instructor, business owner and author of Hiking Bob's Tips, Tricks and Trails, available via his website. He has lived in Colorado Springs for 25 years. Follow him on Twitter (@hikingbob), Facebook (Hiking Bob), Instagram (@HikingBob_CO) or visit his website ( E-mail questions, comments, suggestions, etc to Bob:

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