Niwot Mountain is a gem of a Peak that rests at 11,471’ and gains approximately 1,370' in elevation from the Lefthand Reservoir Trailhead. While driving along HWY 72 from Ward, before you enter the Brainard Lake Recreation Area, you can see the Peak in full view along the West side of the highway.
From Lefthand Reservoir to the summit, the views of surrounding Peaks like Longs Peak, Mount Audubon and Mount Meeker are incredible.
Niwot Mountain makes a great training hike in the winter and a wonderful family hike in the summer. If you’re simply itching to get some great views and to get above treeline with a moderate amount of effort, I highly recommend this Peak.
In hiking this Peak in the winter, I only encountered a few people on the road but did not see anyone, anywhere near the reservoir or on the Peak itself. The only issue I had was with the winds. I encountered 50-60 mile per hour sustained winds. When leaving the shelter of the trees, it was very difficult to keep my balance. Be careful.
From Boulder, take Boulder Canyon (CO 119) to Nederland. At the roundabout in Nederland, take the Estes Park Turn (CO 72). Drive thru Ward and continue until you see the Brainard Lake Recreation Area sign. Take a left turn at the sign. Stop at the Red Rock Trailhead pullout located right before the guard shack, pay station. The trailhead is on the left and is marked “Lefthand Reservoir”. Do not confuse the trailhead area with Red Rock Lake. If you pass the guard shack and reach the lake, you’ve gone too far.
No Red Tape. The trailhead is located before you pass the fee station. Ample parking is available at the trailhead. In the winter, parking could be an issue, as there are many XC ski and snowshoe trails in the area.
When To Climb
Year round. The Northern slopes can safely be climbed during the winter.
Backcountry camping in the Indian Peaks Wilderness is by permit only. Camping along this trail is allowed December 1 to April 30. From April 30 to November 30, this area is for day-use only. Contact the Boulder Ranger District (303-541-2500) for information.
General Arapaho National Forest Information
Nederland weahter: Weather
The interactive TundraCam can be helpful in assessing curent storm conditions in the area as well: Tundra Cam