Willow Lake Trail is a 8.6 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Crestone, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail.
Spectacular Beauty in the Heart of the Sangre De Cristo Mountains Deep in the heart of the Sangre De Cristo mountains in southern Colorado, Willow Lake provides a respite for the waters draining the Obstruction Peak glacial trough, as they rush north and west toward the central Colorado basin. If you tee off from the top of Obstruction Peak, Willow Lake is in the center of the dog-leg left, with 500 yard long meadow of Willow Creek Park as the green. The trailhead east of Crestone launches you on a 9-11 mile journey that will take you through forests of fir, arbors of aspen, and skirts of skree. Depending on the time of year you make this trek - I went in late September - the streams you encounter along the way will be trickles or torrents. In about 2.5 hours you can climb to the west end of Willow Lake. Add another half hour and tack on a mile to your shoe treads, you can reach the falls at the east end of the lake, which will allow you to see Challenger Pt, Kit Carson Mtn, and Obstruction Peak - just remember to account for the additional time and mileage for the return trip. From Colorado Springs, drive south on Hwy 115. Turn west on US Hwy 50 toward Canon City. Follow Hwy 50 through the Arkansas River valley to Poncha Springs. Turn south on US Hwy 285 for 25 miles. Bear left on CO Hwy 17. At the south end of the "town" of Moffat, head east on County Road T into the town of Crestone. At the stop sign in town you'll see a sign on the right directing you toward the Willow Creek trailhead. Turn right on Galena Ave. and follow it to the end. This road begins paved, however it soon turns to dirt. The road becomes a little rough; there's even a sign indicating the need for 4-wheel drive; however most vehicles could make it to the parking lot. If your vehicle cannot, simply pull to the side of the road and walk, it will not add much to your hike. From COS, this trip is 175 miles, lasting about 3.5 hours.
Saw more people than expected but a great trail! Take a fishing pole and hope you will get bite, smart fish. Didn't pack water, just a life straw as there are so many streams in the warm months! We did this as a backpacking trip, pack light as the switchbacks make it difficult. We stayed overnight in August and it went as smoothly as planned, except the hail! Great trip!!
beautiful trail and easy to get to the trail head, crestone is an interesting hippy commune. we went mid april and we were not able to get to the lake becasue of the snow. the trail on the way up was beautiful though. great views of the san luis valley as you ascend and you pass pretty meadows and see beauitful waterfalls. sad we werent able to make it to the lake
Excellent trail running. I encountered lots of snow at the top this early in the season. Plan on getting your feet wet if you are running as there are lots of creeks to cross and snow to scramble up. I got a late start so was alert for signs of the weather changing. About a quarter of a mile from Willow Lake spotted some grey clouds moving in from the east and high-tailed it back to the trailhead. I made it back just in time for hail to drop. Respect the high country!