Rocky Mountain National Park’s Sprague Lake is a beautiful body of water found on the south side of Glacier Creek, not far from the Hollowell Park exit. With its flat and well-kept walkway along the water’s edge, this all-year attraction is a hit with families and anglers.
All park trails and meadows are pet-free zones. Picnic spaces, parking lots, campsites, and roadside areas are the only places where dogs on leashes are permitted.
Abner Sprague, who settled there in 1874, inspired the area’s name. Eventually, he developed a resort where tourists could go hunting, fishing, and dude ranching. He dammed up the lake’s far end to improve fishing, even before the national park was formed. In 1915, the Sprague Hotel was developed from the original lodge, but it has since been closed down and turned into a parking lot.
Swimming in the lake is prohibited to protect wildlife and fish, but there are many other ways to enjoy Sprague Lake’s beautiful region. When you’re in the mood for a dose of fresh air or time with the family, head to this part of Rocky Mountain National Park for various other activities.
Camping – There is just one handicapped-accessible campsite by the lake that accommodates up to 12 people. Water is available from natural resources, but campers should boil or treat it before consuming it. Some of the facilities in the camping area include picnic tables, a fire ring, a grill, and storage. Besides this site, there are plenty of other spots to camp within the national park.
Fishing – The lake is one of the most popular places to fish in the park because of the abundance of brook trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, suckers, and sculpin. Fish populations in Rocky Mountain’s high-altitude lakes are dwindling because of the chilly water and lack of breeding habitat.
There are kid-friendly and wheelchair-accessible fishing spots around the water’s edge. In the autumn, you may see trout in great numbers at one of the lake’s inlet streams, which is approachable by a footbridge not far from the trailhead.
Hiking – Sprague Lake is an excellent starting point for exploring the remainder of Rocky Mountain National Park on foot. If you have a few hours to explore the region, you should hike the popular Sprague Lake Trail.
This wheelchair-friendly stroll is just approximately half a mile long and goes all the way around the reservoir. It’s a pleasant trek for the whole family, and some excellent snowshoeing tracks are there in the winter.
Picnicking – Besides its beautiful scenery and clean facilities, Sprague Lake is a popular destination because of its spacious picnic area along Glacier Creek, which has more than 25 picnic tables and 15 fire grates. Wildlife, such as ground squirrels and even elk, may appear in the parking lot or nearby to keep you entertained while dining.
Take your time walking around the lake after lunch and soak in the breathtaking views.
Photography – Sprague Lake is a must-visit for every photographer in Colorado. The northeast border of the reservoir is the most fantastic place to snap the majestic mountain peaks on the western horizon. During daybreak or the hour following, you’ll get the greatest reflection of the mountains in the still water.
From Estes Park, drive Highway 36 West to the Rocky Mountains National Park’s Beaver Meadows Entry Station, where you may then continue to Sprague Lake. Bear Lake Road is the left turn immediately after the toll booth. Drive for approximately 6.0 miles before turning left onto Sprague Lake Road. The Sprague Lake parking lot is the last stop on the trip.
Address: Sprague Lake Rd, Estes Park, CO 80517
Phone: 970 586-1206 (information office)
Fees: National Park pass or daily entry fee to RMNP