MOUNT PRINCETON HOT SPRINGS RESORT
This lake is in the San Isabel National forest located off hwy #50 above Monarch Lodge. It is a very short but steep hike o.9 miles up with Banana mountain (12,339′) located to the Northwest. Large fat cutthroat (16-18 inches) exist in this lake and are best caught in the spring when the ice starts melting. It is a shallow lake and offers plenty of food especially at the inlets located on the North and West sides. Small black ant patterns along with midges are productive as well as red/white Mepps lures. The trail becomes obscure approximately half way up so by hiking close to the stream the lake should eventually be found. Waypoints and a GPS coordinate on a topo map can be found in a guidebook “Central Colorado Alpine Lakes“.
Grass Lake Trailhead:
About The Author
Tom Parkes spent 12 years fishing, hiking, and camping at these alpine lakes, enjoying the solitude and scenery surrounding them. For the most part, these lakes have trails leading to their locations on public land and are open to everyone will ing to expend the effort to hike to them. The most prominent lakes are located in the San Juan, San Isabel, Sangre de Cristo, and Swatch Mountain Ranges.
The best times to hike into these lakes are from late May thru November with lower elevations best done in early and late season. July, August, and September are the best months to reach the higher lakes. To successfully complete these treks, physical conditioning and preparation are very important. The following items are essential: adequate water (at least 1.5 liters per person per 5-6 hours}, compass and topo map, sunscreen, adequate food, protective clothing for cold and wet weather (backup socks/have gloves}, flash light, matches or lighter, whistle, mosquito repellant, aspirin, and a CD for reflective device. Included in this pack of course is the essential fishing gear including a four-piece 5-6 weight rod and reel, for windy conditions I have always had a spin-casting rod and reel with clear plastic bubble. My arsenal of flies is both dries and nymphs. Parachute Madam X is an excellent dry fly and most midge nymphs with wooly bugger patterns are normally productive.
It is important to know what to expect in terms of distance and elevation profiles. A GPS or Topo Map complete with routes up and into the lakes are crucial. Also, it is prudent to be familiar with what I call "points of caution" when hiking into these lakes. Elevation gain and altitude can greatly change the difficulty of the hike.
12 popular trailheads in the Nathrop area with hikes for all abilities and age levels. Surrounding areas have additional options for exploring our beautiful valley.