The lake was beautiful. We went in July 2018 not really knowing what we were getting into. Google maps will tell you it is a 20 min drive from Steamboat… It does not take into account driving slow due to the road condition. The drive time is actually about 45 min to an hour. I did see small cars attempt to go up but I highly recommend 4x4 to get there.
If you're willing to make the trek it is definitely worth it! The drive actually has some great views on the way up. Lots of trails for biking, hiking or ATVs. When we went it was relatively quiet and very busy. We also went the weekend of the balloon festival so I expected it to be much busier.
Overall would so again if my main goal was to hike or do activities in that area. This is not a campground to stay at if you plan on doing activities in Steamboat, unless you don't mind the drive up.