Rainbow Lakes Trail

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Rainbow Lakes Trailhead

Located east of the Rainbow Lakes Campground, this newly constructed trailhead provides access to the Rainbow Lakes and Arapaho Glacier Trails inside the Indian Peaks Wilderness.

Vehicle access to this trailhead is seasonal.

Permit Info: This trailhead accesses the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area:

  • Camping permits required for all overnight trips between June 1 and September 15. Overnight permits cost $5 per group, per trip from June 1 through September 15.
  • Organized groups are required to have a permit for both camping and day-hiking year round. Day-hiking permits are free.
Usage: Heavy
Restrictions: Indian Peak Wilderness restrictions apply:

  • Motorized and mechanized vehicles are prohibited.
  • Pets must be on a hand-held leash at all times.
  • Campfires prohibited.
  • Campsites must be at least 100 feet away from water and trail.
  • Group size is limited to 12 (people and livestock combined).

Fishing and hunting: permitted in accordance with regulations established by the Colorado Parks & Wildlife.

Closest Towns: Nederland, Colorado
Water: Lakes and streams; treat water for drinking.
Restroom: Vault toilets at trailhead
Operated By: U.S. Forest Service


From Nederland, head west on Colorado Highway 72 for approximately seven miles. Look for the University of Colorado Mountain Research Station sign and turn west onto National Forest System Road 298. This route is gated during the winter. This road is a five-mile, native-surfaced road. A high clearance vehicle is recommended.


  • Trail Measurement: 1.2 Miles
  • Compass Latitude: 400044N
  • Compass Longitude: 1053444W
  • Numeric Latitude: 40.0122089
  • Numeric Longitude: -105.5788894
  • Elevation in Meters: 3048
  • Elevation in Feet: 10000

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