Snowshoe Boulder’s Coot Lake
If you go
To the trailhead: On the Diagonal Highway from Boulder to Longmont, turn left on 63rd Street. Drive about 1 mile to the Coot Lake Trailhead on your left. Public facilities are located at the trailhead.
Distance: One mile
Dogs: Yes, on a leash
Elevation gain: At 5,173 feet, elevation gain is negligible.
Information: City of Boulder Open Space & Mountain Parks Department, 303-441-3440
Back in the early 1980s people used to swim in the nude at tiny Coot Lake just north of Boulder Reservoir. The City of Boulder eventually closed the lake to swimming mainly because of liability issues.
Now the area is inhabited by snowshoers, cross-country skiers, hikers and runners and the great swath of wetlands playing host to the usual variety of waterfowl, including coots for which the lake is named.
A veritable wildlife haven borders the lake which varies in depth of up to about 20 feet. No boating, even non-motorized, is allowed. However, fishing is permitted and a state fishing license is required for anglers 16-years old and older.
The hike itself is pretty straightforward, circling the lake for just less than a mile and a half with an offshoot to the south and west toward Boulder Reservoir.
An outing to Coot Lake offers a nice morning or early-evening walk or snowshoe adventure. Because the trailhead parking is limited, additional parking is available directly across 63rd Street at Tom Watson Park.
A prairie dog interpretive trail is located a third of a mile south of Coot Lake, and is designed to inform visitors of the richness and diversity of prairie dog habitats.
The still grey-blue glow of the water reflects the surrounding trees and shrubs like a sheet of glass. The sublime surroundings, offering wide views of the Front Range, allow visitors a peaceful retreat away from the hustle and bustle of city life nearby.
Bette Erickson is the author of numerous hiking books. Contact her at email@example.com .