It is a beautiful beginning of fall day and I am going on one of my favorite hikes. Today, I will be hiking on my own so I have picked a hike I know well. I start my day early and pack a lunch to enjoy once I reach my destination. Today, is about getting out into our beautiful mountains and just finding enjoyment in what today brings…to Chasm Lake I must go!
The hike to Chasm Lake is on the way to the top of Longs Peak. The hike starts at the rangers station around 9,405 ft and crest at 11,823 ft about sea level. There is a parking area at the Rangers Station but it fills up quite quickly especially during the summer months and weekends.
The hike to Chasm Lake is about 8 miles round trip and takes between 5 to 6 hours to complete. The hike begins in the forest and raps up the mountain. Eventually, the trail goes above treeline. Once above treeline the panoramic views of the Rocky Mountains are breath taking.
I love hiking to Chasm Lake. It is a challenging hike and difficult but not too difficult. When on the trail one will often see families with children on the trail. When our girls were in late elementary school we would take them on this hike.
I usually start my hikes early in the morning to avoid the afternoon rainstorms that typically move into our mountains. When I am up on this hike it makes me feel like I am on top of the world. I love how expansive the views really are. The trail above treeline is open to the elements so it is very important to check the weather report before embarking on this hike. The Ranger at the Ranger Station will also be able to provide information on the weather for the day.
For me Chasm Lake is the goal, once I reach the lake I always sit down to enjoy a picnic lunch on the rocks beside the lake. When it is hot out in the in the summer months people will often take a quick swim to cool off after the long hike…the lake is ice cold!!! For the most part the cold water is quite shocking and people who chose to jump in also chose to get out very quickly. It is fun to watch people jump into the lake, hear the shock in their voice as they surface, and quickly scamper out of the water.
Sitting at the edge of Chasm Lake, directly above is the immense rock face of Longs Peak. The way the hard rock face is soften by the snowfield, the blue of lake, and the bright blue sky with the clouds moving over the top of the mountain is quite awe inspiring and peaceful. Often, I will lay my head back on my pack and just take it all in.
I personally have not hiked to the top of Longs Peak…yet…I will say that the Keyhole scares me a little or the idea of it…so for now it is the beauty of Chasm Lake for me.
I do recommend this hike, it is an amazing part of Colorado and the Colorado Rocky Mountains.
Helpful Hints: This hike is not for everyone, the trail is challenging at times, and the elevation is high. Elevation sickness is real so pace yourself. There is not water for drinking on this hike so bring water and food. I personally think starting early is important to avoid storms…lightening above tree line is dangerous. Dogs are not allowed on this hike so leave your furry friends at home.
More than anything else just get out into the mountains around us and enjoy them. There are so many wonderful amazing hikes to take, we are truly blessed.