From the town of Walden take Colorado 14 a short distance to County Road 12W. Colorado’s largest wilderness area is the Weminuche, 500,000 acres, an area so vast you can only nibble at the edges without an overnight pack and plenty of time on your hands. On the north end of the trail just above the creek inlet for Emerald Lake, the … The trail climbs gradually as you follow Vallecito Creek north. A short side trip from the lake to Gunsight Pass is worth it. This lake, one drainage south of popular Mount Harvard, is a different story. The creek features numerous waterfalls in its lower reaches. Vallecito Creek is a perennial stream that originates at high altitude within the drainage at Vallecito Lake. The trail forks at mile 19.3 and you continue on the Rock Creek Trail to the north. The trailhead is on Dallas Creek Road (County Road 7) near the town of Ridgway. This gorgeous mountain lake is reached by a moderate hike of just 2.5 miles, though with 1,600 feet of elevation gain it’ll leave you sweaty. The serenity of a clear blue mountain lake” Vallecito Creek Trail is a 12.7 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Bayfield, Colorado that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. Turn left on Rock Creek Road across from the Blue River Campground. It can be confusing and poorly marked so take a map or an app. After .6 miles you enter the Weminuche wilderness. Turquoise Lake near Leadville can be crowded in summer, but this easy 2.2-mile hike will lead you to a gorgeous lake where you’ll feel above it all. All contents Copyright © 2020 The Denver Post or other copyright holders. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/colorado/pinos-river-trail-to-emerald-lake The Gore Range is about as wild as Colorado gets. — John Denver, Rocky Mountain High. After 4 miles on the trail, it reached its most popular feature, Emerald Lake. This is one of the prettiest lakes in the mighty Gore Range (the mountains that dominate the view from the front side of Vail and Copper Mountain ski areas.) The Colorado house with the best holiday lights in 2020 is ... Six free, socially distanced, in-person Christmas wonderlands to check out in Denver this month. Like day 1, along the lake, there were numerous trees down across the trail and made it a little slow going. When you visit Emerald Lake Lodge, you follow in the footsteps of legendary guide Tom Wilson - who discovered this magical location more than 100 years ago. See pictures and our review of Emerald Lake Trail. The turnoff to Emerald Lake is at mile 6.3 (Trail #528). Head right to continue this loop. Plan to spend at least two nights enjoying this pristine area, with a day trip to Moon Lake at the top of the valley. You’ll need both to reach Emerald Lake, Colorado’s third-largest natural lake, a 10-mile trek from the Pine River Trailhead near Vallecito Reservoir. The Vallecito Creek Trail begins in the Vallecito campground. Blue Lakes in the Mount Sneffels is an exception, a 6-mile hike (roundtrip) with 1,500 feet of climbing to a stunning mountain basin in the shadow of namesake Mount Sneffels. Freelance journalist R. Scott Rappold has been writing about skiing and other ways people enjoy the great state of Colorado for more than 15 years. John Denver knew it: One of the most magical ways to enjoy summer high in the Rocky Mountains is at one of our amazing alpine lakes. Better yet, heft an overnight pack and spend some extra time in this gorgeous area. And it’s pretty easy to reach this world too, just around a mile to the lake fed by Saint Mary’s Glacier, probably the most Instagrammed glacier in the world. You follow rapidly flowing Vallecito creek tumbling down a narrow glacial valley; the creek is among the loveliest in the West. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed for any commercial purpose. Vallecito Creek Trail: Vallecito Creek at the ford, where the bridge washed out years ago, and water is almost thigh deep. Pine River / Flint Creek Loop is a great multi-day hike following rivers and creeks. To get there, travel 15 miles northeast of Durango, where the trailhead and parking lot will be located on the east side of the reservoir. ... One of the gems of the wilderness is Emerald Lake, the third-largest natural lake in Colorado, with crystal-clear waters that take on a green hue in the right light. Reach the trailhead on Colorado 76 to the (almost) ghost town of Ohio City and take Gold Creek Road. 8/13/19; Emerald Lake to Moon Lake: Avalanche debris field with medium difficulty to navigate; Additional trail conditions websites: PagosaTrails.org. A short drive from the historic mining town of Silverton, the Ice Lakes Trail is a classic … No lake in Colorado may offer such amazing scenery for such an easy hike. The last 1.5 miles require a high-clearance vehicle (or an even longer hike). The trailhead is at the Gold Creek Campground. One of the gems of the wilderness is Emerald Lake, the third-largest natural lake in Colorado, with crystal-clear waters that take on a green hue in the right light. There is a slide debris pile near Rock Creek (but ok via foot). Past Emerald Lake there are creek crossings, and if it has been a wet year you will have a muddy trail as you climb up the Lake Creek drainage. Weminuche – Pine River/Flint Creek Loop. Just remember in federal wilderness areas only foot and horse travel are allowed and groups must be keep to no more than 15 people. We started at the Vallecito Creek trailhead, and headed north, following the trail alongside Vallecito Creek. Hike I did this hike twice in 2020. Vallecito Lake is located 18 miles northeast of Durango. Unless you’re pushing a baby in a stroller you’ll probably be thirsty for more, so continue around the lake to quieter Nymph Lake or make a loop to the Glacier Gorge Trailhead. Official website for Emerald Lake Lodge in Yoho, BC. He skis 100 days a winter and writes when he needs money for lift tickets or beer. But hey, if it was easy to reach, there would be a lot more people up there. From there a 36-mile loop crosses the Continental Divide, drops into the stunning Vallecito Creek valley, crosses Columbine Pass into Chicago Basin and runs back to the train. 1st trip was in mid-July, second in late-September. Located in the Weminuche Wilderness, Emerald Lake is an alpine lake located off the Pine River Trail near Vallecito. The alpine meadows are full of blooming wildflowers of all shapes and sizes on this 10 mile hike. Vallecito Creek is tributary to the Los Pinos River, which drains into the San Juan River in the Colorado River Basin. Unfortunately, the creek sits in a narrow gulch and its difficult to get a good look at the falls. The hike begins in a steep canyon with ponderosa pine forest, aspen and conifers. Past Emerald Lake there are creek crossings, and if it has been a wet year you will have a muddy trail as you climb up the Lake Creek drainage. Due to the extreme popularity of the area you may want to consider using the free park shuttle to … But roads rarely reach such places, so you’ll need to put in the effort to get there. In the first 2 miles you will rise more than 500 ft. above the creek with fantastic vistas, then the trail drops down right beside the creek. Emerald Lake Trail is ranked #5 out of 6 things to do in Rocky Mountain National Park. From Westcliffe, take Hermit Road west to where it ends at Sampson Ridge Road, nearly 6 miles, to County Road 172. Spring snowslides have wiped out the horse bridge at Vallecito's southern end. This was a designate horse camp and I shared the camp with a young couple. You will be This year we are doing Moon Lake also in the Weminuche Wilderness. The Rock Lake Semi-Loop, Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado July 19-22, 2015 ... with both the starting and ending trailheads near Vallecito Lake. I have been wanting to do the Elk Park to Needleton semi loop from the Durango Silverton railroad stops. Because it … Take Exit 238 just west of Idaho Springs and drive north on Fall River Road for 9 miles to the trailhead. For directions to various trails and trailheads, view the Vallecito Lake Trails Map. The reward is Upper Slate Lake, one of the prettiest and most remote wilderness gems in Colorado. For backpackers, the Vallecito Creek Trail offers countless opportunities to spend anywhere from three nights or longer in the backcountry. None is easy to reach, but if you’re going to put in the hiking effort, Lakes of the Clouds are some of the prettiest. Seeking grace in every step he takes Seeking to avoid a descent to the loathed lowlands, we look for hope in our topos, but there is none. 115 downed trees. From the Rainbow Lakes Trailhead it’s a modest 3.5 miles to that namesake lake, where many day hikers turn around. At the T-intersection, take a left on CR 501 which will bring you to the lake. Head west for 5 miles and take County Road 18 west for another 4 miles. The Sangre de Cristo Mountains southwest of Pueblo have many, many fine lakes, owing to their jagged terrain and tight canyons that allowed lakes to form high in nearly every drainage. All rights reserved. These are three picturesque lakes teeming with trout, reached by a tough, but doable-in-a-day, 9-mile round-trip hike, with 2,200 feet of climbing. Trail, San Juan National Forest - Pagosa Ranger District. And keep in mind that the more remote and harder to reach the lake is, the more likely you’ll find solitude. Did you see it? Keep going another steep 2 miles to Slide Lakes, perched nearly at timberline and surrounded by great campsites. PHOTOS: There was a once-in-a-lifetime celestial event in the sky above Colorado Monday night. Get Directions. The sound of engines fades away as you enter the Holy Cross Wilderness and you’ll reach this beautiful lake before your legs even have a chance to get tired. The first stretch isn’t bad, though it’s heavily used by horseback guides so you’ll have to get used to the omnipresent manure smell. You’ll need both to reach Emerald Lake, Colorado’s third-largest natural lake, a 10-mile trek from the Pine River Trailhead near Vallecito Reservoir. Between June 9 and July 28, over 70,000 acres were burned at a cost of $40.8 million dollars. From the Bear Creek Trailhead it’s a gentle 1 mile to the lake, towered over by the massive cliff of Hallett Peak. It is about 30 miles RT starting at Pine River Campground and past Emerald Lake. The Mount Zirkel Wilderness near Steamboat is a virtual no-mans-land for eight months of the year, owing to the heavy snow that falls and sticks around into late June. You’ll walk endlessly over and down forested ridges on the Gore Range Trail until the junction with the Slate Creek Trail, where the fun really starts. Emerald Lake Loop & Mallard Bay Trails Trail Access: Humpy Creek, Mallard Bay, or Glacier Spit Trailheads Allowable Uses: Hiking Distance: Emerald Lake Loop: 12.6 mi Mallard Bay Trail: 0.6 mi Mallard/Emerald Connector: 1.1 mi Elevation Gain: Emerald Lake Loop: 2800 ft; Emerald/Mallard Connector: 500 ft Whether you’re hiking up to fish, set up a campsite, climb a mountain or just drink in the views while you drink some microbrews, a mountain lake is a feast for the senses. Folding the maps with a sigh, we turn east and pound 3,600 vertical feet down the Johnson Creek Trail to Vallecito Creek. steeply to Moon Lake and a spectacular view of Mount Oso at mile 14. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter, The Adventurist, to get outdoors news sent straight to your inbox. The hike to Emerald Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park begins from the Bear Lake Trailhead, located at the end of Bear Lake Road, 9 miles from the turn-off at Highway 36. His sight has turned inside himself to try and understand The Pine River trail itself is a 49-mile out-and-back, lined by … Gorgeous scenery, strenuous hike, abundant water. Parking is limited on summer weekends so you may need to park in a satellite lot and take a shuttle (or take a midweek break to avoid the crowds). This 11-mile round-trip hike takes you to the some of the prettiest, remote and wild yet close-enough-to-be-doable-as-a-day-hike lakes (though many people prefer to make this an overnight backpack trip.) You will cross Taylor Creek, Vallecito creek, and Second Creek as you continue on through meadows and aspen groves. Wildlife, Create Recommended Route or Enjoy gentle meadows full of wildflowers before the trail gets absurdly steep for 2 miles. With its century-old fireplaces and an oak bar salvaged from an 1890's Yukon saloon, there is no shortage of history within these walls. A stunning day hike, or a great four-to-five day backpack trip. Last hit: “We the People”: At the MCA, artist Nari Ward’s material truths, Up next: Chuck D, Shepard Fairey to lead Colorado art show celebrating Public Enemy, 5 tiny homes in Colorado that are perfect for a summer getaway, 7 of Colorado’s best waterfalls that are off the beaten path, Choose your own Colorado hot spring adventure, from ghost towns to underground caves. Obsessive skiers and snowboarders looking to make turns all year come here in late summer after even Arapahoe Basin ski area has closed. The Tour of Carvings Project is a comeback story of the Vallecito community following the Missionary Ridge Fire of`2002. The boundary of the Weminuche Wilderness is 2.7 miles up the trail, the fishing is fantastic. A worthy side trip takes you to Browns Pass. Then the steep ascent to the lake will leave you breathless. This trailhead along Interstate 70 is less than an hour’s drive from Denver but might as well be in a different world. It’s a seven-mile hike to the camping area, where you can attempt to summit the fourteeners. If you do a search online, you are guaranteed to find many blogs talking about their experience utilizing the Narrow Gauge Durango to Silverton Railroad to enter Chicago Basin, being dropped off at Needleton and a day’s hike up Needle Creek. Emerald Lake. Turn left and continue to the trailhead. The parting gift of the glaciers that carved up the Rockies and helped create the stunning landscape, their waters are cool, their air crisp, their views stunning, often in a low point of a valley surrounded by high peaks reflecting in the blue water. It’s also one of the toughest to reach, 18 miles each way, with plenty of up-and-down to get your legs screaming at you, so most mere mortals do it as an overnight backpack. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, horses, and backpacking and is best used from June until October. The trailhead is north of the town of Silverthorne, 7 miles on Colorado 9. Celestial event not seen since 1226 happening this month with amazing conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, Video shows bobcat "sashaying" into an alley at edge of Colorado Springs. Chicago Basin is a spectacular area visited by hundreds of backpackers each year with several routes of entry. There’s also plenty of good backcountry camping around the lakeshore. Trails 2000 Head right to continue this loop. From the Vallecito Creek Trail, backpackers can link up with the Continental Divide Trail, head out on the Weminuche Trail or connect to the Pine River Trail and hit Emerald Lake on a loop. 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