Hiking Chasm Lake – Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

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Article Categories: Hiking

Chasm Lake is one of the most beautiful lake hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park. This intermediate level hike is highly trafficked, and is a common detour for those hiking Longs Peak. The well traveled trail rises steadily to the lake, but the views are worth the difficulty.

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Trail Map | Trails | Hiking In Winter | Camping | Directions | Pictures

Difficulty – Intermediate
Distance – 8.4 miles round trip (13.52 km)
Height – 11,823 feet (3,603.7 m)
Elevation gain – 2,500 feet (762 m)
Duration – 6 to 9 hours (book time)
Trailhead Location – Longs Peak Ranger Station – 9,405 feet (directions below)
Dogs – Not Allowed

 

Need To Know Information

  • This hike is located within Rocky Mountain National Park, however you do not need a pass to get in as this doesn’t take you through an entrance gate.
  • Dogs are not allowed in RMNP and therefore are not allowed to Chasm Lake.

Trail Map


 

Trails

 

East Longs Peak Trail to Chasm Lake Trail

The only path to Chasm Lake is from the East Longs Peak Trail. The trail diverges and turns into the Chasm Lake Trail. Hikers will begin at the Longs Peak Ranger station and begin ascending steadily through a beautiful spruce, fir, and longpole pine forest.

Around 2.5 miles into the hike, hikers will reach treeline where the views are incredibly stunning. Views of Mount Lady Washington, Mount Meeker and Longs Peak are incredible. Views eastward to the flatlands are also incredible gorgeous, especially during sunrise.

3.3 miles in, hikers will reach the junction of the Chasm Lake Trail and the East Longs Peak Trail (Chasm Junction). Bearing left, hikers will quickly be rewarded with stunning views of the surrounding peaks, Peacock Pool down below, and the waterfalls flowing out of Chasm Lake. This trail is well traveled, and easy to follow.

The last .2 miles to the lake are the most difficult as the trail quickly ascends to the lake with some more difficult and steep terrain. Hikers will reach the lake 4.2 miles into the hike.

 

Hiking in Winter

This is a fantastic winter hiking option. The trailhead is open in winter. Hikers should bring foot traction (microspikes) to keep solid footing during snow and icy conditions. During winter, snowshoes may be necessary as well even though this is well traveled and often well packed.

 

Camping Information

There is available camping in various places for those wanting to do some overnight hiking. 1.2 miles into the hike lies the Goblins Forest Backcountry Campground, which contains 6 tent sites. Information can be found here.

Hikers may also choose to stay in the Boulder Fields (but this is a very busy campsite located closer to the summit of Longs Peak). Information can be found here.

Many choose to stay at Longs Peak Campground to get started early in the morning. Information can be found here.

 

Directions & Parking

Directions to Longs Peak Trailhead:

To reach the Longs Peak trailhead, you need to start from the Estes Park and travel 10 miles on CO 7, towards the south. You will see a big National Park sign, take right from here towards the Longs Peak Campground. Climb up and towards the end turn left to reach the parking. You will need to procure a backcountry permit for overnight parking here.

There are no day hike parking fees here. There are bathrooms at the trailhead.

 

Additional Pictures

Chasm Lake

Chasm lake hike just before the last push to the lake.

Chasm lake hike just before the last push to the lake.

Chasm lake views of surrounding cliffs

Chasm lake views of surrounding cliffs

Chasm Lake from Longs Peak Summit

Chasm Lake from Longs Peak Summit

Chasm Lake Trail Views

Chasm Lake Trail Views

Views East Heading Towards Chasm Lake

Views East Heading Towards Chasm Lake

Views Heading to Chasm Lake

Views Heading to Chasm Lake

Max DesMarais
Max DesMarais

Max DesMarais is the founder of Hiking & Fishing. He has a passion for the outdoors and making outdoor education and adventure more accessible. Max is a published author for various outdoor and marketing websites. He is an experienced hiker, backpacker, fly fisherman, trail runner, and spends his free time in the outdoors. These adventures allow him to test gear, learn new skills, and experience new places so that he can educate others. You can read more about him here: hikingandfishing/about

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