Directions: From US 24 at Twin Lakes, turn to the west onto State Route 82 towards Independence Pass. After 3/4 of a mile, turn off onto Road 25 a good but bumpy dirt road. Follow the Road towards the lake and after 6/10ths of a mile your arrive at the Continental Divide TH. Continue along the road for another half mile to the Interlaken Trailhead. The last half mile has some rough spots requiring decent ground clearance.
The Interlaken Trail has it all...no really, it does. Aspen groves, mountain views, lakeshore, historic structures...etc... The Interlaken Trail runs along the southern shore of Lower Twin Lake and shares space with the Colorado Trail (Segment 11) and the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail. The trail is therefore popular, though probably not overcrowded. The hike out to the historic Interlaken hotel site is beautiful and relatively easy.
The hike starts from the Interlaken Trailhead along the southeastern shore of Lower Twin Lake. The last bit of road can get a bit rough so if you are driving a low clearance vehicle, park at the Continental Divide Trailhead and walk a few extra minutes to the Trailhead. The trail immediately enters a young aspen grove and soon opens to lake and mountain views. From her the trail rambles along the lakeshore in an out of pine forest and numerous aspen groves. Just before you reach the historic Interlaken Resort, you enter a large old growth aspen forest...this hike is incredible in the fall.
The historic Interlaken hotel and resort is a great place to explore. The first structure is the Dixon Cabin, which you are free to enter and explore. The other buildings are not open to the public but there are signs explaining the history and the grounds are interesting to walk through. Interlaken is a National Historic Landmark, history can be found here.
Beyond Interlaken, the trail continues... I recommend following the trail just beyond the grounds of Interlakem the views to the west open up and reveal tantalizing mountains in every direction, including Mt. Hope (13,940 ft); Rinker Peak (13,730 ft); and to the north the trio of Parry Peak (12,674 ft); Mt. Cosgriff (13,566 ft); and Mt. Elbert (14,439 ft) the tallest mountain in Colorado.
This hike is popular, but not overly so. The hike is pretty easy, but you are looking at about 5 miles of hiking so it's still a good workout. This is the perfect early fall hike. You'll walk through aspens and have terrific views of vast aspen groves on the slopes of the surrounding mountains.
HIKES BY REGION
NATIONAL PARK HIKES
- BENT'S OLD FORT NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
- BLACK CANYON OF THE GUNNISON NATIONAL PARK
- COLORADO NATIONAL MONUMENT
- CURECANTI NATIONAL RECREATION AREA
- DINOSAUR NATIONAL MONUMENT
- FLORISSANT FOSSIL BEDS NATIONAL MONUMENT
- MESA VERDE NATIONAL PARK
- ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK
- GREAT SAND DUNES NATIONAL PARK
- HOVENWEEP NATIONAL MONUMENT
- SAND CREEK MASSACRE NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
- YUCCA HOUSE NATIONAL MONUMENT
- HIKES BY CATEGORY
- $UPPORT GHC
- INTERACTIVE MAP
Colorado Trail Segment 11
Continental Divide National Scenic Trail
San Isabel National Forest
Date Hiked: September 8, 2021
Distance: 5.6 mi (RT)
Elevation Gain: 165 ft
Elevation Min/Max: 9,100 to 9,260 ft
Managing Agency: U.S. Forest Service