Waterdog Lakes Trail is a 3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Salida, CO and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, fishing, and snowshoeing and is accessible from June until September.
Some sites list this trail as easy, but it is very rocky and steep in some places, plus being above 10,000 ft to treeline, I give it a moderate to demanding status. Definitely not a stroll through Garden of the Gods. We encountered a lot of mosquitos, so be prepared, and wear good trail shoes. Parts are so very lush and green, bring a camera. The trail follows a river part of the way and is very pretty, then winds back through the forest up steep and rocky inclines following a powerline trail. There are a couple river crossings, and you may encounter snow. We did even in July. The lower lake was nice, and the upper is pretty too. We took about 3 hours including a stop to enjoy the view and eat some lunch.
This is a great trail. Well marked, well traveled, steep in places but great views at the top!
Steep most of the way up. Upper lake is much prettier and easier to fish than the lower lake. Worth the extra bit of distance. Lovely spot.
wonderful lake at the end. woodpeckers and wildflowers. parking is on other side of highway and trailhead slightly hidden.
Moderately steep with ample water/creeks
Not for everyone, based on starting elevation and vertical gain
Mix of hikers, fisherman
Pretty at the top, did see one "water dog" too
Fun, esp. as scenic workout and 2 - 2.5 hour round trip
Up, up and up! Dogs were beyond excited to get to the lake! Only ran into a few groups of people.
Steep! But so much fun. Took our kids, 2, 8, 15 and they had a blast. Was a slow journey and a tough one - lots of breaks since we come from the flat lands of Kansas! Great work out :)
Hiked this trail a few days ago with my husband and children 8 & 10. The trail is very rocky and pretty steep most the way up. We hiked up past the first lake to the second which is even more beautiful then the first. Very nice hike but be prepared for a very rocky climb and descent.
My kids & I hike it at least once a year, we love it!
There is limited mobile phone and no data service up Monarch pass (none with Verizon, spotty with AT&T), so make sure you have your directions dialed in to the trailhead. It can be tricky to find if there are no other cars parked. I tried to add some photos. This is an excellent day hike for a hot, sunny day. Trekking poles or a walking sticks help. People usually leave some sticks at the trailhead. I didn't see any waterdogs, but maybe next time!
Awesome hike to an incredible destination! Steep climb, but worthwhile. Slow and steady upward. Wear good boots, and bring water. Do this one again in a heartbeat!
I had so much fun here, I saw so much wildlife up close. the lake just makes you wish you could live here. come prepared this is a fairly steep climb. bring plenty of water and perhaps a snack
Up, up[ and away. A steady climb for a while, with the last mile being the steepest. First lake is nice, with additional lakes around it. Worth the hike to go to the one northwest of the mail lake.
This is a great, not terribly popular trail. Stunned that it is called "Easy," however. It's short, but as others have said, steep and extremely rocky. Last time I was here I encountered a family of four. One of the children was really not happy, basically having a meltdown. I'm sure it had to do in part with the fact that he was wearing sandals and stubbing his toes' and tripping every 10 feet.
As others have said, bring bug spray. Finding the trail is not easy. From Salida on HWY 50 shortly after you pass the town of Monarch, which consists of a lodge and not much else, the road becomes 2 lane going up, one lane going down. You will pass a runaway truck sign, facing the other way. The gravel parking lot is .4 miles from this sign, on the left hand side of the road. The trail head and register book are acroos from the the parking lot, well hidden from view of the road if you are going too fast.
It is a very steep hike, but, as others have said, totally worth it. Beautiful upper lake.
Great hike. But steep. Just keep pushing on and the lakes are great. Upper lake has great fishing.