Backpacking Dora Lake
Eagles Nest Wilderness, Colorado
This past summer, I had a buddy who was extremely eager to backpack Dora Lake in the Gore Range of the Eagles Nest Wilderness in Colorado. Dora Lake is situated on top of a rare (for Colorado…) high alpine plateau and nestled under the knife-edge ridges of the Gore Range, Mount Powell, and Eagles Nest. To say that it’s off the beaten path would be an understatement as there is no trail up the plateau. We hiked approximately 5.2 miles and 2,800 feet of gain to Cataract Lake before bushwacking our way straight up another very steep 1,500 vertical feet along a feint climbers trail didn’t seem to actually exist most of the time. Avoiding a glacier, we then overshot the lake and ended up at the base of Eagles Nest, tacking on an additional few miles and another extra couple hundred feet.
Fortunately, knowing what we were getting into, we had prepared ourselves for the absolute worst so we got to camp at Dora Lake more energized than expected. But then going down the next day was much, much worse than we were prepared for… I nearly collapsed into my car.