Nestled just southwest of Boulder County is a quaint one-of-everything town called Nederland (nickname: Ned). The demographics of little ole Ned, contain roughly 1,500 residents, compared to Boulder County, which is populated by over 300,000 people. The middle and high school are joint, enrolling about 300 students total from 6th grade to 12th grade. Mom and Pop stores and restaurants add to the charm and authenticity of the village.

Now that we've got our bearings for this itty bitty town situated on a monstrous mountain, let's explore the trail that leads to sweet, sweet serenity. Located at the very top, is Diamond Lake Trail.

5.7 miles out and back where the phone service is nonexistent, this trail is a blessing to hikers, offering beautiful waterfalls scattered throughout and rewarding views of the breathtaking lake and distant mountains. The peaceful panorama cannot be seen from the other trails leading up the mountain like the Hessie Trail.


What To Bring:

1. Water

MUST BRING. Higher elevations can make you VERY dehydrated.

2. Backpack

To hold your snacks. Hydration packs are also a great hands-free and convenient option.

3. Snacks

Nutritious, wholesome, protein-filled. You'll be burning some major calories. REFUEL.

4. Hiking shoes

I went up in Nike sneakers, don't do this! Wear something that is water-resistant.

5. Layers

It is cold and windy at the top! Some parts of the year it is even snow-capped. You can always take layers off as you get hot during your hike.

6. Sunglasses

Sunny days and bright white snow... almost as bad as looking at the Eclipse without the protective glasses.

7. Sunscreen

You are much closer to the sun at the top of a mountain. Wear sunscreen on your face.

8. Chapstick

Ah! Chapped lips!

9. Cold weather accessories

Hats, scarves, gloves. You're welcome.

10. Camera

Whether you bring a professional camera or use your cell phone, you will want to capture the views! There is no service once you get past the town of Nederland and start going up the mountain. Your phone battery will drain. Plan on bringing a portable charger if this is something you think you'll need.

11. Trekking Poles

This is optional. I didn't use one, but I saw many other hikers have this helpful tool. It would have been nice to have them on my way down the mountain.


Getting There: The drive up the mountain requires some force. Prepare for an extremely bumpy and windy ride. A vehicle that is raised is recommended to prevent bottoming out. Very rocky, with many divots and holes. Check your tires beforehand and bring your spare just in case! You will know when you get there, the road will end. You will pass parking on the way up, that is for the Hessie trail... you still have a little ways to go.

The trail is fairly simple to follow, some people camp out at the top. I'm not sure I would in the snow. Dogs are allowed, don't forget water for them, too. I wouldn't recommend bringing small children. If you do hike this trail, it's best to come back down the mountain before dusk and bring a friend for safety (& because hiking is more enjoyable in groups).

When you are done conquering Diamond Lake, make sure you stop for a bite in Ned! James Peak Brewery and Smokehouse has delicious food!

The Best Views Come After The Climb