Published with permission from the guide book: Mellow Mountain Trails Hiking Guide to Colorado’s Upper Arkansas River Valley
by Nathan Ward.
Lakeside to Interlaken
Interlaken is a former resort that once rivaled the Broadmoor for being the most luxurious property in Colorado. It was established in 1879 as a popular summer resort for tourists who rode the train to Twin Lakes then took a stage to the resort. Guests enjoyed horseback rides, fishing, hunting, powerboat rides and gourmet meals. Tourists also visited Interlaken in winter to ice skate, ski and enjoy sleigh rides. After the turn of the century, when the original Twin Lakes Dam was constructed, the resort became less popular and eventually closed in the 1950s when the lakes were enlarged and cut off road access.
Today the trail to Interlaken is perfect for families looking for an interesting historical outing. The trail is fairly flat, skirts the lakeshore and winds through aspen forests with beautiful views of the amazing peaks around Twin Lakes. In Interlaken there are interpretive signs that tell the history of the resort and the remaining structures. The buildings are now being restored by concerned citizens and they look great. It’s the perfect place for a picnic and a splash in the cold lake.
For a longer hike, simply continue walking on the trail past Interlaken. Turn around when you’ve had enough and follow the same trail back. You could circle the whole lake and this hike is just over 15 miles.
Trailhead Access & Facilities
From the stoplight in Buena Vista, continue on US 24 north toward Leadville for 18.5 miles. Turn left (west) on CO 82 toward Aspen and Twin Lakes. Drive about 0.5 mile and turn left on CR 25. Follow dirt CR 25 about 1 mile to the Colorado Trail Trailhead. Park at the trailhead. The trail starts here.
There are no facilities at the trailhead or along the trail – food and toilets available in Twin Lakes.
Location: Twin Lakes, North of BV
Distance: 4.4 Miles – Out & Back
Best Months: June through October
Trail Type: Singletrack
Dog Friendly: Yes
Elevation in Feet: Low Point 9,212; High Point 9,263; Climbs/Descends 63
Land Status: San Isabel National Forest, Lake County Historic District
b Trails Illustrated #110
Note: Mountain bikers also use this trail.
0.0 Trailhead to the Colorado Trail/Continental Divide Trail, which is also the trail to InterLaken. Elevation 9,212 ft. (N39°04.45, W106°18.64)
0.2 Trail to the left, do not take it. Stay on the trail with Twin Lakes to your right.
1.2 Continental Divide Trail turns sharply to the left, do not take this trail, but stay straight ahead on the Colorado Trail leading to InterLaken.
1.8 Notice the primitive cross to the right. Perhaps it is for some furry friend who loved to hike here.
1.9 Footbridge over the creek.
2.1 Interlaken. Read the interpretive signs, which talk about the Dexter House and the history of the resort. You can go inside the Dexter House if it’s not locked. Please respect the fine restoration work that the friends of Interlaken have done here. The front porch is a good place to rest and eat lunch.
2.2 Look for the six-sided outhouse, which had leather seats and separate partitions. Now that is luxury. As you learn the history of Interlaken, you can almost hear the music and the people laughing and dancing from the past. Elevation 9,233 ft. (N39°04.62, W106°20.88)
Turn around here and return the same way.
4.4 Back at the trailhead.
The Colorado backcountry is popular – bikers, hikers, motorcycle riders, hunters and equestrians use the trail system in the Arkansas Valley, and everyone wants a private piece of heaven. Even if you don’t agree with everyone’s motives or methods of travel, please treat them in a courteous manner.
If you require search and rescue services, it can be costly. Buy a Colorado Outdoor Recreation Search and Rescue (CORSAR) card to protect yourself. Funds from the CORSAR program go into the Colorado Search and Rescue (SAR) Fund. If a CORSAR card holder becomes lost or injured in the backcountry, the Colorado SAR Fund pays eligible search and rescue expenses.
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