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Emmaline Lake Colorado

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Submitted By: Erika963 on 22 Apr 2010
Latitude: 40.540743
Longitude: -105.662298

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Take Highway 287 north from Fort Collins to Laporte. Continue on Highway 287 to Highway 14. Travel west on 14 for 24 miles to the Pinegree Park Road. Turn left and travel 15.5 miles to the Tom Bennett Campground. The trailhead is just west of the campground.




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The Emmaline Lake Trail begins near the Tom Bennett Campground at an elevation of 8,930 feet. It climbs over 2,000 feet to Cirque and Emmaline Lakes in about 5.9 miles. The first 3.5 miles of the trail follow Forest Road 174 to Cirque Meadow. You can drive the first half mile but there are few places to park or turn around. The road is closed to vehicular traffic at the boundary of the CSU Pingree Park Campus. No hunting is allowed on CSU property. The first part of the trail travels through the area burned by the 1994 Hourglass fire. It travels at mid slope along the ridge above the valley where the CSU campus lies. The trail gradually climbs 860 feet to Cirque Meadow with an average slope of 4.7%. It crosses a large pond where Fall Creek has been dammed before it flows down into the valley. Log bridges are provided to aid your crossing.
Once past the pond crossing, the trail climbs through a dense forest of spruce and lodgepole pine. The beginning of the Mummy Pass trail is located about 2.5 miles from the beginning of the Emmaline Lake Trail and travels to the south. At Cirque Meadow the trail crosses a bridge and bends to the right before heading toward Cirque and Emmaline lakes. This portion of the trail climbs 1200 feet to the lakes, averaging about 15% slope. The Emmaline Lake Travel Zone begins at the boundary of the Comanche Peak Wilderness. Camping is allowed in designated sites only. There are signs pointing the way to the camp sites. Livestock are not permitted in the Emmaline Lake Travel Zone at anytime. This is an environmentally sensitive area and the trail would be extremely difficult for horses to negotiate.
From Cirque Meadow, most of the trail travels through a dense spruce forest. The trail can be quite rocky and has a lot of exposed roots in the trail. It travels through a number of wet, boggy areas where numerous log bridges are provided. Within a mile and a half of the lakes the trail climbs through a rocky area. The trail is steep here and can be difficult to follow as numerous alternative paths have been made. It generally follows the creek drainage up to the lakes. Look for rock cairns to guide you. From Cirque Lake it is only a few hundred yards up over the rocks to Emmaline Lake. The area around the lakes is limited to day use only.



Trail Ridge Road Switchback, Colorado
Distance: 8.98 mi
Activities: Cross-Country Skiing
 

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