Lyle/Mormon Lakes Trail is a 2.9 mile lightly trafficked point-to-point trail located near Meredith, CO. The trail is rated as moderate and primarily used for hiking.
Directions from Carbondale: From Carbondale travel east on Hwy. 82 to Basalt. Turn left into downtown Basalt and follow the Fryingpan River Roadl 33 miles until the pavement ends, bear left and go 9 more miles until you come to a sign pointing to Hagerman Pass. Turn left onto road #105 for 100 feet. Park at the bulletin board.
Hiked this trail on 4th of July weekend, and we only saw one other family the whole way. The best views are from the ridge from Lyle Lake up to Mormon Lake. The hike out past Lyle Lake to Mormon Lake is downhill from the ridge. Be prepared to hike back up the ridge after getting to Mormon Lake. Comments below provide more detail about the hike.
The last 10 miles of the drive on Fryingpan road is dirt. It is a good dirt road until the last 2 miles, where it gets a little more rocky and wet. It wasn't that steep of a road, and we made it up in a 2wd midsize suv.
Camped at Ivanhoe lake and hiked to Lyle lake. Then hiked to above the lake.
Here was our schedule for the hike:
Drive 12:30pm to 2:30pm
Hike up 2:30 to 4
Hike down 4 to 5
Drive down 5 to 6:40
Our house in Basalt is right by the Whole Foods, so plan on a 2 hour drive from there.
Sept 23, 2014- high in basalt was low 70s, when we arrived at the site the temp was 52, when we left it was 57. Dress in layers and bring ear muffs if you get cold easily. It was coldest up by the lake. Dogs are allowed on leashes.
The way up is definitely harder. It's almost all uphill and the elevation begins at 10,800 so if you aren't used to it, you will definitely feel it. Take it slow like we definitely did and you will be fine.
We didn't have our hiking boots with us on this trip and we were mostly fine. The benefits of hiking boots would have been: (1) you cross the stream and it's pretty muddy so a waterproof shoe would have been nice. (2) on the climb down from the second lake, it would have been nice to have hiking boots to prevent the toe crunch. Other than that it's a hike that's totally doable in tennis shoes.
The second lake is supposedly only 1/4 mile from the first but it's extremely steep and we didn't find the trail that was supposed to be there. That hike to the second lake took a while. The first lake is prettier so you can skip the second one if you aren't feeling up to it.
Bring lots of food, water, TP and a disposal bag to pack it out, first aid kit, and a full tank of gas. You will not find any cell service or anyone to help you up there so make sure you are prepared. There's lots of brush that will graze your legs so pants might be better.
We made it up in a bmw sedan but the last 10 miles were a really rough drive - the roughest we've ever been on and we've been on some scary drives. If you have an SUV, bring it. Go very slow and take your time. The last 10 miles will take you an hour in a sedan on the way up, 45 on the way down. Make sure your tires are filled properly, your spare tire is ready to go, and that someone in your car knows how to change a flat. You will barely see anyone on this road.
The drive takes longer than the hike (4 hours of driving for a 2.5 hour hike). The drive is absolutely stunning though. The leaves were changing colors - and most of the drive is along a creek. Beautiful.
On the hike, the only wildlife we saw were small birds, chipmunks, and weasels.
The directions on the hiking sites say at the end of the 10 miles to drive another 100 ft and park by the bulletin board. That 100 ft of road is almost impossible to get up, especially in a sedan, so park by the gate and walk up.
Amazing hike. Open meadows. Trail follows a great stream the whole time and ends at a beautiful lake. Everything you could ever want in a hike!