A lake often overlooked
Overview: From map at the trailhead you will notice this lake has no trail. The official trail sends you up through the creek valley with very nice meadows, ending at a saddle below Truro Peak with panoramic views across the Collegiate range - but many people prefer a lake as destination.
Warnings: Though this is not a summit hike you still should be aware of weather hazards; afternoon thunderstorms are common and could present dangerous conditions from lightning, hail, rapidly dropping temperatures, or brief flash floods in what were earlier easy or even dry creek crossings. This is also wilderness where wild animals live, including bears. Hopefully you came anticipating the possibility of these things and not fearing them.
Hike: First obstacle is crossing Lincoln Creek, which should not be too difficult as there are usually a few fallen logs and except for early spring the creek should not be too deep nor running too fast to be dangerous.
Then it's up a fairly steep grade on a good trail with a few potential small creek crossings depending on season. In late July all were dry here. In 20 minutes or so you will reach the New York collection canal conveniently crossed by the road covering most of it. Another 10 minutes of moderate climbing will bring you to the next real crossing of Tabor Creek, which also should have a log or two for a bridge. Again in late July the flow was not great and easy to pass.
The next ~2 miles parallel the creek through 3-4 open meadows that should be full of wildflowers in summer. A few short sections offer tree cover for a shady break or two.
A bit over 2 miles you may be able to see the shelf where the lake likes up to the right. A lower waterfall might be visible or not running enough to tell it is there.
Just after 2.5 miles which was 2 hours for our group, the trail reaches a grassy area where it starts to fade and is harder to follow. This is where you will leave the main trail and start searching for the unofficial lake trail. Other hikers have left cairns, and there is a moderately worn path easy enough to follow once you locate it.
Do not be too concerned about getting lost before you find this path as the area is very open and easy to descend to the main trail.
Depending on season you may have to cross the creek coming from the lake a couple of times, or navigate some wet marshy spots on the trail. Just below the lake you should encounter the upper waterfall which normally runs late into summer or early fall. After that a final steep section of a quarter mile going to the right up and around the falls will deliver you to the lake.
From this high point you can glimpse several peaks on the continental divide, check out the lake, have lunch, or do whatever you do on reaching your goal at the top of the trail.
On the return if the weather is holding as well as your energy, it may be worth finishing the main trail up to the pass for a better view across the other side.
Water: Should be present along most of the route. If you have a filter or chemical treatment, you should not have to lug all of your water if you want to plan on refilling.
Camping: Car camping is available along the first section of Lincoln Creek road in about two dozen designated sites, then is restricted until the reservoir. Once on the Tabor Creek trail past the wilderness boundary, camping at large should follow the usual rules for minimizing your impact from building fires, etc.
Check out the Official Route.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.