Explore Alpine Lakes - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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beautiful, moderate hike, very crowded on the weekends. recommend arriving at trailhead before 730am. diamond lake has plenty of space for the masses but is busy by 930am. recommended!

hiking
3 days ago

Great hike! Definitely not too difficult... fairly trafficked on the weekend as of you approach the Lake. Lots of fun waterfalls and little features along the way.... If you’re doing this on a weekend definitely make it to the trail head by 7-7:15AM or you’ll be in a jam to find parking! We made it at 8 and parked about a half mile down!

Great views and a well maintained trail. We drive our Outback up to the trailhead parking lot no problem. Few spots where good driving was needed due to drainage ditches. Wouldn't want to take anything with lower clearance than an outback though. Started hiking at 0830 and saw only a handful of hikers. By the time we were done, the lot was full and the trail was quite a bit more populated. Totally worth the hike though!

hiking
3 days ago

Very cool hike! We did the day hike to Lower, Middle, Upper Blue Lakes and to the Sneffels pass. I recommend camping at the trailhead for an early start. The lower lake is beautiful (it's better than the other two) but pretty full of campers. The best view is from near the middle lake looking down on the lower lake. The path can be hard to find going from lower to middle. The trail from upper lake to the pass was narrow and steep and did get boring, so you could definitely skip this and you wouldn't be missing out. The hike is quite steep in beginning sections, so it gets real old on the way back down (we saw two people who appeared to have twisted ankles from sliding or falling in these sections... both of whom were hiking in tevas, so do with that what you will).

I give this hike 3 stars in the summer and 5 stars in the winter. It's a great location, just over an hour from Denver and you get to go through Georgetown and past Idaho Springs which both have fun food/drinking options for post-hike. For summer, the hike is easy/moderate and isn't terribly exciting - ranging from 4 or 6 mi round trip depending on if you're able to take the AWD road or not. People mention wildflowers, but compared to most other hikes in CO, there were next to none. This is a lovely quick hike if you just want to get outside and move for a bit, but isn't particularly photogenic if that's what you're looking for. However, in winter it's spectacular for snowshoeing. We came on a Saturday in April and didn't see another soul til we got to the car. It's more strenuous on snowshoes, so that makes it a little more entertaining. The trees are beautiful in winter and you can't beat walking on a frozen lake.

hiking
3 days ago

Reviews are a bit confusing - there is the scenic gravel road, but also unmaintained forest service trails above the dam. we hiked around for about 2.5 miles on these and were rewarded with beautiful views, wildflowers, marmots, pikas, chipmunks, and even mountain goats! beautiful alpine streams and scenic overlooks. altitude was rough for a Floridian's first day in CO but definitely a good choice for an early hike! not too steep but still gorgeous, and not crazy crowded at 8 am. be sure to keep driving past where the GPS tells you to go to the upper trailhead on the right side of the dam.

This hike packs a lot in 4 miles, forest, meadow, great views throughout and three beautiful alpine lakes. Of course this also make it very popular. While there is not a lot of elevation gain it is over a fairly short distance so the trail is steep and rocky in a few spots. The last push to the top lake is short and up. Keep in mind you will be above tree line most of the hike so be prepared for whatever weather. This is a great hike for those who want a lot of beauty without a lot of mileage.

Wildflowers, snow pack, Alpine lakes! Awesome hike! It is a very busy trail that at times is hard to pass other hikers so come with patience. The road to the upper lot is very rough. AWD for sure with good clearance, but there was a Mercury Milan in the upper lot so maybe a regular car could make it carefully. Bring bug spray and sunscreen!

The view is amazing! Someone was also kayaking in the Silver Dollar Lake.

Beautiful half day trail. The end is worth the effort.

Beautiful hike, but super busy (of course, for a Saturday). We went beyond the lake to the upper lake, which doesn't show an official trail on the map. Lots of scrambling and hard to breathe above treeline. The second lake is pretty, but the first one is better. Another group saw some mountain goats beyond the second lake, but they had run off so we didn't attempt to go further. One note on the trail - wear sturdy boots because there is a lot of traversing over rocks and lots of tree roots. And on a hot day, bring lots of water.

Beautiful hike, great views and perfect weather!

Got there at 8am (Saturday), parked at bottom lot after questioning driving up the dirt road (on my way out there was a crew filling in the holes with dirt to make it more accessible). Only ran into a handful of hikers on my way up (I also try to hike at a faster pace). Could have made it up faster, but the views were too beautiful and I kept stopping to take pictures. On my way down is when I really started to run into hikers with their dogs. Also saw families with young kids and a trail runner. Round-trip took me 3 hours, but I didn't stop and have lunch at the top - only took in the views for a bit, took pictures and then headed back down. The higher you get the trail narrows in a few areas, but wasn't bad - still clearly marked.

If you park at the bottom lot it is a bit more challenging, but I enjoyed the challenge (for me it wasn't too bad). By the time I left both the top lot and bottom lot was full. I was the 2nd person in the bottom lot when I arrived. Within 15min it started to fill up. Agree with previous comments - stop in Georgetown to use a bathroom before you get to the trail - there are no bathrooms or trash cans. Also saw the issue with left dog poop. It was chilly when I started, but by the time I made it to the actual trail head I was fine and the day continued to warm up!

Tough ascent in the beginning but worth it. First hike only see from a view. Once out of the tree then nice view, stream crossing, snow crossing.

Silver dollar is nice but if you went this far then go to Murray. Some other guys made it to silver dollar and turned around (didn't think Murray lake would be better)

On the way to Murray, mostly uphill but here is where all the flowers are!! Making it up, it would have been great to be able to explore but we had rain concerns (caught in rain, hail on the way back).

Did this hike with wife and 2 and 5 year old with child carriers for both. 5 yr hiked once we got above tree line on way up. On my way down she was carried , as we were trying to get out of the rain.

This was a fantastic hike! We did this as a day hike and had lunch at the lake. Magnificent views. From the time you cross the stream and enter the Horn Fork basin until slightly before the turn off for the lake, the rate of climb is very manageable. The last bit before the turn off was steeper, but not all that long. I’m not sure that I would agree with the review below about most low clearance cars being able to make it to the trailhead, at least based on the condition of the road when we were there in July this year. We did make it using a garden variety small SUV, but I would have felt a lot better in something with more clearance and a stick, particularly coming down. That being said, there were a couple of low clearance passenger cars at the trailhead and one apparently disabled SUV being hauled off on a flatbed tow truck...

Super nice hike! Only went to the first lake and the waterfalls. Overall, well marked trail, few stretches over boulders that were a bit harder to negotiate, well shaded for lots of the way, quite a few hikers. Parking is a challenge (only 3 spots at trailhead) but road parking farther down. Scenery is beautiful. Good for intermediate hikers.

hiking
6 days ago

Easy climb up to a pretty lake with an island in the middle. Lots of fisherman. Saw multiple moose around the surrounding areas and roads. Can pick up American lakes from this trail too.

Great option to Mohawk Lakes, which we do every year. Was very similar, but everyone in our group actually liked this one better! Beautiful falls and lake at the top!

backpacking
7 days ago

Backpacked in to Helms lake 8/6 - 8/7. A bit marshy getting around helms lake but the trail was in good condition and relatively easy to follow otherwise. Lost a blue nalgene somewhere in the helms lake area.

backpacking
7 days ago

Awesome trail with dispersed camping spots easy to find. Light elevation gain for first 2.5 miles and then it increases significantly thereafter. Excellent camping right after the first creek crossing at 2 miles in. There are flattened logs to walk across so no getting wet during the creek crossings. We went further and camped just short of Helms Lake (5.25 miles in) in the tree-covered area. Wonderful views and a few dispersed campsites easy to find.

Beautiful hike.

Minus the 12 bags of dog poop on the way up. Was a good time.

This trail is a “must do” if you are in the Silverton area.! While it is rated difficult, you will not have any problem if you are a regular hiker in Colorado. The prize? The beautiful and stunning lake at the end of your journey! I have never seen a lake of such beauty anywhere in Colorado! This is a hike not to be missed!

OMG. This hike was TOUGH! The climb is steep until you get about a mile+ away from the lake. Plenty of tight ledges to cross. The switchbacks when you descend are loose so take care with your footing. That being said, it was the most beautiful lake I have ever seen. It’s a grueling climb but absolutely worth it. Bluest water ever! Take your time and allot a lot of time to complete this trail.

Great little hike with rewarding views!

Very nice day hike. **Would absolutely recommend driving up the dirt road to the actual trailhead if you can. Our hike up that road was exhausting. For context, even a Prius made it up that road.**
We are from Nashville, TN and are of average fitness (we were accompanied by my parents who are in their mid-60s). The hike from the bottom of the road to the second lake and back I measured at 7.5 miles. This was a very challenging hike for my parents and we took many breaks. We started at 10am and got back to our car at 3pm. The hike into the lakes is completely uphill but is very beautiful. First mile and a half is in the forest and then the rest is above treeline. There were lots of wildflowers and great views. Foot traffic on a weekday was very light. Trail was very well marked. We enjoyed this hike but was more strenuous than we anticipated.

Gorgeous views.

The views are beautiful, but I didn't enjoy this hike that much. As an older (but not that old) and generally uncoordinated hiker, I felt like this hike was a sprained ankle waiting to happen. Luckily it didn't happen, but I spend a lot of time watching my feet and watching my dog's paws as we hiked over rocks and roots. What was interesting about this trail was the variety! It was like four trails in one: it started with a walk on a road, then through shady forest trails, after the lake and waterfalls the trail was narrow, steep and challenging, and then a relatively level trail through tundra under the shadow of Quandary.

Amazing Hike! Day 2 in Breck and we all felt well enough to take on a hike. This one was worth it! Take your time and make it to the lake at the end of the trail. Venture just a bit further up some of the smaller hills around the lake and you will have made it 12k+ in elevation. Best thing is it sits under Quandry one of the well know 14ers. On the list of hikes of conquer. Great place to rest, soak in some sun and enjoy the beautiful views. Only took the teenagers 20 mins to get down! Didn't think it was crowded, parking was easy when we arrived at 11am. Worth the trip!

Today was a great hike. We went to the waterfall just before the second lake and took a lovely catnap on the rocks for 10 minutes. The cabin and streams in the way up were a great surprise.

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