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Hiking & Walking: Colorado > Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests > Sulphur Ranger District

Quick Facts

Parika Lake Trail

Beginning Elevation: 10,440 Feet (3254.4 Meters) at junction with Baker Gulch Trail
Difficulty: Difficult
Elevation Gain: 1,560 Feet (486.3 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 12,000 Feet (3740.6 Meters) at saddle between Fairview Mtn and Parika Park
Length, One-way: 2.4 Miles (4.0 Kilometers) from jct. with Baker Gulch Trail to saddle above Parika Lake
Other Maps: Arapaho Roosevelt National Forest Map
TI Topo Maps: #115, Rand, Stillwater Pass; Never Summer Wilderness
Trail Number: 29
Usage: Moderate
USGS Maps: Mt Richthofen

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

The Parika Lake Trail can be accessed from several different locations:
Access #1: Follow Baker Gulch Trail for 5 miles until the junction for the Parika Lake Trail on the left.
Access #2: Hike the Baker Pass Trail from Baker Pass to the Parika Lake Trail.
Access #3: Hike the Bowen Gulch Trail to Fairview Pass.

The Parika Trail travels through some of the wildest and most primitive country in the Sulphur District. Camping spots are available and fishing is good in the lake. NO FIRES ALLOWED at Parika Lake. From the top of the trail, hikers can climb both Fairview Mountain to the south and Parika Peak to the north. West of the Divide, a trail leads to the south and around Fairview Mountain to a junction where the Parika Trail continues to the west, and the Bowen Pass can be reached to the south.

Directions from Granby: Follow Highway 40 west to Highway 34. Go north on Hwy 34 to Rocky Mountain National Park's West Entrance. From the park entrance, follow Trail Ridge Road for 6.4 miles to the Bowen/Baker Trailhead parking area. For the most direct access, hike the Baker Pass Trail 4 miles, to the junction with the Parika Lake Trail

Seasonal Information:
Normally Accessible: Summer through Fall (NOTE: Accessibility depends on snow depth and weather.) .

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

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Time of Day: Mid-day
Length of Time: 5 hours from Baker Gulch Trailhead in RMNP
Difficulty: Moderate
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: This is a spectacular trail to an unspoiled mountain lake at the foot of twelve thousand foot peaks in the Never Summer Wilderness. The trail begins at the Baker/Bowen trailhead in the Kawuneechee Valley on the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park. The trail crosses the valley and the Colorado River en route to the Never Summer Wilderness and national park boundary, soon after entering an old growth pine forest. At the boundary, you follow nearby the main creek in the Baker Gulch through a lush forest, where the trail often rises above the creek affording awesome views of a small canyon. Look for moose near the creek and in the small meadows along the trail; we spotted four in close proximity to the trail! As the trail climbs, it crosses large talus fields at the foot of baker mountain and several hundred feet below an old mining road, which you eventually join and leave soon after. We spotted a young mountain lion near one of the talus fields approximately two miles from the trialhead, which was an awesome, and nervous encounter. The lion was quickly bounding away from us, and we only had a few seconds to view it before it dissappeared into the woods. Turn back frequently for awesome views of the continential divide and Longs Peak to the east. Eventually, you will join the mining road mentioned earlier, which follows a calm stream. In a couple hundred yards, however, you will need to cross the creek on a flat timber bridge to continue on the Baker/Parika lake trail. The trial yet again crosses talus fields and eventually comes into a magnificent young growth forest with commanding views of the mountains and possible wildlife. The trail will eventually interstect, and stay left for Parika Lake, right for Baker Pass. The trial to Parika Lake soon begins an arduous climb through another forest near the main gulch creek to another magnificent park just below the lake. You will see a sign for another Baker Pass spur. Stay straight and climb the final hill to Parika Lake. Enjoy the hot sun, the beautiful views and the many marmots that will keep watchful eye from their lofty rock formations. Return back down the same trail, and again keep your eyes peeled for moose, deer and maybe even a mountain lion sighting!
Conditions: The trail crosses many small tributaries that flow quite heavily in the spring and well into July or even August. These tributaries, while usually easy to cross (watch your slippery step) can be slick and make the trail quite muddy. While on the talus slopes, watch your step as well because there is a lot of loose rock for tripping and slipping. There were no large trees to cross on our trip, however, the sun beamed with commanding heat and we were glad we lathered up with tanning lotion before the hike. Keep watchful eye on the mountains in front of you, because storms come quickly off the Never Summer peaks, especially in the afternoon and evening.
Water Availability: Water is readily available throughout this hike in the main Baker Gulch creek as well as in Parika Lake. Be sure to treat the water with tablets or a water purifier before drinking. Especially with the abundant presence of wildlife around.
Recommended Clothing: On a warm Sunday afternoon in July, the temperatures were in the high 70s and low 80s. The sun was extremely hot in the open areas, but thankfully there were some reprives in when the trial wandered through the various forests. We were comfortable in hiking boots/wool socks, hiking shorts and a poly hiking shirt (short sleeve). While stopping for lunch at Parika Lake, however, if the sun was behind the clouds, the temperature dropped quickly and we were glad we brought our lightweight rain coats. Sunglasses are a must!
Suggested Accessories: Hiking poles are very helpful to negotiate the prevalent loose rock on the talus slopes, as well as over the creek tributaries that can be quite slippery. I also spotted brook, brown or rainbow trout in Parika Lake. I don't believe there are any Greenback Cutthrout in the Never Summer waters.

Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Backpacking Parika Lake and connecting trails. No Fires at Parika Lake!
ICON Cold Water Fishing Parika Lake
ICON Hiking & Walking Parika Lake and connecting trails.
ICON Horseback Riding Parika Lake and connecting trails.
ICON Viewing Scenery Parika Lake and surrounding area.

Related Activities
Baker Gulch Trail - The Baker Gulch Trail is located north of Granby. It begins in Rocky Mountain National Park at the Bowen Baker Trailhead and leads up Baker Gulch to Baker Pass.

Baker Pass Trail - The Baker Pass Trail, #29, is located north of Granby in the Never Summer Wilderness. It is accessed by the Baker Gulch Trail beginning in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Bowen Gulch Trail - The Bowen Gulch Trail is located north of Granby. It begins at the Bowen Baker Trailhead in Rocky Mountain National Park and branches to either Blue Lake, Bowen Lake, or Bowen Pass.

More Information

Visitor Information:

Grand Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, 928 Grand Avenue , Grand Lake, CO, 80447, Phone: 800-531-1019


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