Sprague Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park
- Hiked from: Sprague Lake Trailhead – Immediate access to lake
- Distance hiked: .5 Miles loop around the lake
- Total elevation gain: 0 ft
- Maintained trail: Yes
- Overall Difficulty: 1
- Overall Views: 7
Sprague Lake offers Something for Everyone
- Easy access. Less than .1 miles from the parking lot and you will be at the lake. There’s a well, flat, highly maintained trail that loops around the lake that is also wheelchair accessible.
- Picnics. Several picnics and fire pits (check for current fire bans) at the parking lot.
- Photography. Being an avid photographer this gets its own section. see below
- Wildlife viewing. You have a chance to see Moose, Elk, waterfowl, chipmunks, and various bird species.
- Fishing. I’m not an avid lake fisherman, but every time I’ve been here I always see lots of people fishing. The lake was dammed for a fishing pond in the early 1900’s.
- Amazing Mountain Views. The east side of the Sprague Lake Nature trail offers some incredible views of the continental divide. The prominent peaks in view are Otis Peak, Hallett Peak and Flattop Mountain.
- Nearby Camping. Check the website for current conditions
History of Sprague Lake
Sprague Lake is named after Abner Sprague. A pioneer of the late 1800’s in Estes Park. Mr Sprague once had a lodge for tourists in the early 1900’s, which was named Spragues Lodge. Damming the lake for trout fishing. The lodge went through a few different owners throughout the 1900s before it was finally acquired by the park and destroyed. The Sprague Lodge used to be where the current parking lot for Sprague Lake is located.
Sprague Lake for Photography
Easy access and lots of beautiful scenery and wildlife makes for great photography. This makes it an ideal spot for engagement photos, family photos, landscape and wildlife.
The east side of Sprague Lake trail is my personal favorite spot for landscape photography. Commanding views of Otis, Hallett Peak, and Flattop mountain make for a picturesque background in all seasons.
There is also a small boardwalk that people can walk on to get a memorable photo with these mountains as a back drop.
Sprague Lake is one of the most photographed lakes in Rocky Mountain National Park for sunrise and sunset. Look for boulders and sticks in the lake to for your foreground or anything else creative.
There will likely be several other photographers there but the lake is big enough that everyone will have room to frame their shots.
Sprague Lake is a sought out destination for wildlife photographers. Common wildlife seen there are Moose, Elk, Squirrels, Rabbits, and many different species of birds. The main talk from visitors around the lake though is ‘have you seen the moose?’.
The best times to see moose at Sprague lake is before sunrise and in the evening. It’s not guaranteed that they will be there though. It took me 7 trips to Sprague lake before I finally saw the Bull moose and calf that have recently been going to the lake.
When walking around Sprague Lake early in the morning, keep an eye out of your surroundings. You never know what may be a few feet away from you on the trail. That’s happened to be several time with Elk.
Some of the birds that I always seem to see at Sprague Lake are Crossbills, Hummingbirds, various sparrows, Red-winged Blackbirds, and several species of waterfowl. I’ve also seen Wild Turkeys many times by the picnic area.
Sprague Lake is a Great Place to Visit All Seasons
Looking for a great winter stroll in Rocky Mountain National Park but don’t feel like hiking for miles in the wind and cold? This is a great option. In winter the trail can be snow-packed and icy, so proper traction such as micro-spikes may be needed. It still makes for an epic spot to watch the sunset or sunrise.
Have you visited Sprague Lake? Have any cool stories or photos to share? We would love to hear from you below in the comments!