Round Trip Distance: 2.5 miles
Elevation: 9905 - 10,128 feet
Cellphone: 0-3 bars
Usage: Hiking - Dogs
Start: 08:30 End: 10:30 Elapsed: 2 hrs.
Facilities: Vault toilet
Trailhead: Glacier Springs
Fee: $5 (or park at Jumbo Reservoir)
View Lost Lake in a larger map
The Lost Lake trail is located near Mesa Lakes in the Grand Mesa National Forest. Lost Lake is a natural lake that is nestled in basalt boulders over the ridge from South Mesa Lake. The trail may have been built around the same time as the Civilian Conservation Corp built the Crag Crest trail which they finished in 1937. I haven't been able to find out for sure one way or the other.
The Glacier Springs trailhead sits between Glacier Springs Lake and Mesa Lake. If you would like to add about a mile each way to the hike you can park at Jumbo Reservoir and enjoy a nice stroll past Sunset and Beaver Lakes. That would also alleviate the need to pay the $5 entrance fee. They have done such a nice job improving the area with restrooms and paved parking that I don't mind at all chipping in. The fee is only collected from about May 1st to September 30th and when the snow starts piling up they close the gate and you have to walk in from Jumbo Reservoir anyway.
As you leave the trailhead you will come to a fork in the trail just a few yards past the Mesa Lake dam. The right fork is for the Deep Creek Cutoff trail. All other traffic follows the trail to the left.
The wide and easy trail climbs gently around the south side of Mesa Lake. With no one else around there was a bit of a story book feeling walking around the lake through the forest.
About a quarter mile from the trailhead the Lost Lake trail breaks off to the right from the Shoreline trail.
The trail becomes a little rougher and begins climbing just a little steeper over the next quarter mile, gaining slightly more than 100 feet in elevation, as it makes its way through the trees to South Mesa Lake.
Part of the trail marker was missing, or out for repairs, on the hill above South Mesa Lake. If you continue straight ahead towards the lake the trail comes to an end after a hundred yards or so. The trail to Lost Lake continues to the left from this point.
The trail to Lost Lake follows along the north shore of South Mesa Lake until it makes its way to the east end where it climbs up and over the ridge between South Mesa Lake and Lost Lake. The hiking is nice and easy for the quarter mile around the lake as the elevation doesn't change more than about 20 feet.
It is almost a half mile from South Mesa Lake to the top of the ridge above Lost Lake. The trail gains another 100 feet of elevation over that distance. The elevation gain is nothing compared to a lot of the hikes in other places around Grand Junction but exerting yourself above 10,000 feet seems to take a little more effort than it does in the valleys below.
The glacier colored water of Lost Lake appears after hiking over the ridge. The trail ends before you can get all the way to the west end of the lake. There were signs of a camp fire along the shore but I didn't see any signs of fish at all. Unlike South Mesa Lake, where you could see the fish swimming around, there didn't appear to be much in the way of fish or vegetation growing in Lost Lake.
Pika's are common in the higher elevations in Colorado. It's not too often that one of them sits still long enough for me to take a few pictures. Especially when I am this close. I usually hear them make their high pitched whistle as they scurry away before I get a chance to focus the camera. Pika's are a member of the rabbit family and are also called Rock Rabbits and sometimes Coneys.
The pulpy remains of a few trees was draped over the rocks in a few places around Lost Lake. It looked like it had been bombed with marshmallow cream.
The hike back couldn't have been more pleasant. I stopped and watched a squirrel for awhile that had climbed to the very top of a tree and was picking the pine cones and throwing them down to the ground. With all of its chattering it was making a pretty big production of the whole thing and it was a bit comical watching the shower of pine cones flying through the sky.
If you make this hike in the summer months you will probably want to bring a little mosquito spray. There had already been a freeze when I went on this outing so all the bugs were gone for the year. Lost Lake is a great place to hike. Especially when you want to escape from the summer heat. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.