It's the end of September, and three days of mostly sunny, 85-degree weather in northern Colorado can easily give way to the season's first blizzard, so Jacob and I decided today could be our last chance to catch fall color above tree line before the snow flies.
The Emmaline Lake Trail, which leaves from Colorado State University's Pingree Park campus high in the foothills, is a fantastic fall hike because the first several miles of the trail pass through an old wildfire burn area now completely covered in densely packed aspen trees. And right now, all those aspens are bright gold and firehouse red.
The 5.5 mile Emmaline Lake Trail follows Fall Creek, a tributary of the South Fork of the Poudre River, and starts just off Pingree Park Road at about 8,600 feet. The trail passes into the Comanche Peak Wilderness in Roosevelt National Forest after about three miles, and ends at the lake at tree line just above 11,000 feet. The Rocky Mountain National Park boundary is at the top of the ridge above the large glacial cirque containing Emmaline Lake. Comanche Peak straddles the park boundary.