Monday, November 29, 2010

Spague Lake Nature Loop

Distance: 0.9 mile loop
Elevation: 8,694 ft
Elevation Gain: None

Delightful Sprague Lake with Hallet Peak in the background

The trail around Sprague Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park near Estes Park is short, flat, and very scenic. I took my parents there on their recent Colorado vacation. We ate lunch on one of many picnic tables near the trailhead and then strolled the short route around the lake. The trail is well groomed, totally flat, and suitable for everyone. The views change constantly providing a great deal of variety in a short distance.

The bridge from the picnic area to the lake

Trout were abundant in the outlet stream

Sprague Lake has in interesting history as well. It is actually man made and was constructed by Abner Sprague who owned a lodge nearby long before the area became a National Park. You would never be able to tell this by the "naturalness" of the setting.

The loop going left (the route we took)

The loop going right

The lake is well stocked with fish and you can actually see them in the outlet stream and even larger specimens along the lake shore.

Looking southwest in early October on my first visit. Note the fisherman standing well out in the water

The sudden and welcome view of the Continental Divide. No wonder Abner built the lake here.

The first time I visited this lake, I only walked part way around, trying to judge if it would be suitable for the parental units. I did not notice at that time the stunning views of the Continental Divide including Hallett (12,713 ft), Taylor (13,153 ft), and Otis (12,486 ft) peaks that greet the visitor half way around. I wish ole Abner had sold his land to me so I could have that view for my living room window.

Small viewing platform

Across from the view platform the lake shore is bordered by reeds.

If you visit Rocky Mountain National Park, don't exclude Sprague Lake from your list, particularly if you are staying at the nearby Glacier Gorge Campground. There is a short 0.8 mile trail between the campground and the lake.

A final view of the lake and the reflections of the trees in the still waters

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