DIRECTIONS: From I-70 take Exit 201 for Frisco. After crossing under I-70 heading into Frisco, make your first right into the Parking Area for the Recreational Path. To drive to the Peaks Trailhead, follow Main Street and turn right onto Madison Ave which becomes Teller Street. Turn Right onto 2nd Ave and right again onto S. Cabin Green.
Rainbow Lake is a very popular hiking destination on the outskirts of the town of Frisco. The hike itself is a relatively easy 1 mile hike from the Peaks Trailhead. However, if the Peaks Trailhead parking area is full (as often happens on the weekends), then you can add 1.5 miles to the hike by parking at the main Frisco Trailhead Parking area, just off of I-70. While this is not the ideal way to hike to Rainbow Lakes, it may be worthwhile, especially in the fall. The additional 1.5 miles is along the paved bike path and the entire path is lined with aspen trees.
If you do start at the Frisco Parking Area, follow the paved trail past the Mt. Royal Trailhead (also a worthwhile hike - click here for a description) to the Peaks Trailhead and walk to the far end of the parking lot to pick up the trail to Rainbow Lakes.
The trail is easy to follow as it gently climbs through aspen groves, crosses creeks and wetlands on a boardwalk, and soon leads to Rainbow Lake. Rainbow Lake itself is a small wooded lake with some mountain views of Peak 1 and Tenmile Peak towing above. Most likely the lake will be busy, but you can lose some of the crowds by following the lake shore to the far side.
The real beauty of this trail comes from the aspen forest that you hike through on-route. This hike should be incredible at the end of September and early October. If you are looking for an easy, kid and dog friendly hike through golden aspens to a lake without traveling all that far, then Rainbow Lake might just be for you.
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
White River National Forest
Date Hiked: September 1, 2019
Distance: 3.5 mi (RT) (2 mi (RT) from Rainbow Lake TH)
Elevation Gain: 400 ft
Elevation Min/Max: 9,048 to 9,242 ft
Trailhead Lat/Long: 39º 34' 29" N; 106º 06' 40" W
Managing Agency: U.S. Forest Service