Explore lake trail - 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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off road driving
9 hours ago

Stock Wrangler JLU up and down with ease in 4wd High at the end of summer. Fun trail with great rewards; more to explore in Jeep and on foot. Nonmotorized use allowed year round according to gate’s sign in the AllTrails photos, Sean D, but it also says no parking at the gate.

This was a great hike! There are three lakes at the top, the third is a bit further up & is frozen over. The trail is completely snow covered and icy in some patches but passable the whole way. Spikes would be nice if you like to use them, but not necessary. It was a little windy at the third lake and we were occasionally stepping into knee deep snow. Great hike with the doggies. We saw a few other groups of people along the way. Absolutely gorgeous!

Since last weeks Snow, we brought crampons and poles which made both the accent and decent so much more enjoyable There were people who had to turn around because they didn’t have enough traction.

Question - can you still hike to the lake with the gates officially closed?

off road driving
3 days ago

closed for the season as of Oct 18, 2018. disappointed. I took my stock Raptor up, zero issues... not even close to breaking a sweat. With a stock half ton truck, you will likely bottom out in a few spots, especially the first rut. Subarus won't make it without damage, end of story. looked promising but the gate was closed about 3/4 mile up. tight turn around.

hiking
3 days ago

Nutsack Stinky

on Crater Lake Trail

hiking
8 days ago

At points it feels like endless scrambling through small, loose rocks. We joked that it was like hiking on the moon! Still a fun trail with pretty views at the end (although the views would be better if there was water in the lake!).

Beautiful views! Went in early October and it was freezing. There was snow and ice on the trail which made it a little more difficult. In the end if you aren’t a master hiker, taking rest stops along the way to take in the sceneries will get you through it.

hiking
13 days ago

Did this hike on October 8, 2018. First snow of the winter. It was magical, nobody after the first two miles. saw moose! The mountains and meadows we're gorgeous with a couple inches of snow.

We were looking for a lake hike not far from our house and this looked like a good candidate. The Guanella pass road was still open so we took it, and then drove the Naylor Lake Road up to the upper parking lot, shaving about a mile off of the total distance of the trail. I'd highly recommend AWD or 4WD. We did it in our Jeep in 2WD but that road can get slick really quick. As we were driving through the Guanella pass road we realized that there was a light coating of snow at the top, and assumed that there would be a little snow up where we were headed, glad we packed warm. The hike was fairly easy, with a skim coat of ice on some of the areas where water came off the mountain and pooled in the low spots. We were glad that we had our trekking poles if only for a couple extra points of contact. About 2/3rds of the trail is above treeline and is exposed to the elements. The wind started to kick up fiercely as we made it to Silver Dollar lake and continued to Murray Reservoir. The views were obstructed somewhat from the low ceiling, but it was still worth the hike.

I'll have to come back sometime in the spring to check and see if there are any nice looking trout in those lakes!

hiking
16 days ago

Hiked the whole road, though most people opted to off-road in vehicles. Pretty and scenic; the waterfall at the lake was beautiful. It started snowing while I was there and the fall colors looked beautiful with it.

This is one of my favorite trail to date. Ample amounts of parking at trailhead, and beautiful scenery throughout. Very long hike close to 18 miles long, but we'll worth it. Didn't make it up to the top of the summit, due to rainstorms moving in. Would recommend.

Beautiful foliage! Definitely recommend the trail to crater Lake. I hiked with two dogs by myself and do not recommend hiking this narrow trail with two dogs. It was rainy, muddy, and slippery. At crater lake it was sleeting and cold. The lake was not dry as the post from last week said although it was cloudy and views of the mountains were not good..

off road driving
18 days ago

Not sure why this is rated moderate. It's pretty easy for any 4x4. Did pretty much all of it in 2 wheel. Only need a little bit of clearance for the rocks. Great views, and only saw one other person on a Wednesday afternoon. 4/5

Beautiful trail, the Aspens were bright gold. Some of the trail was heavily trafficked but it was never a problem. I am not a very seasoned hiker but I would not rate this trail as Hard. The first two miles are nice wide paths with a slight incline. The last mile to the Crater Lakes is steep, but not difficult.

hiking
21 days ago

Maroon Bells is absolutely breathtaking with the aspen tree fall foliage. This was definitely a moderate hike, it was steep most the way up and very rocky. I recommend good hiking shoes with grip due too many loose and slippery rocks. I had to stop and take a quick breather about 3-4 times on the way up, however, I’m from sea level and have only been in Colorado for 2 months. Took just over an hour out and maybe 30 minutes back. Overall a good hike minus the heavy traffic on a narrow trail along with multiple people blasting music on their cell speakers along the way. If it’s solitude you’re looking for you won’t find it here. Just gorgeous scenery.

Great hike with beautiful views. If you have to park in the lower lot, plan on walking an extra mile or so RT. We arrived around 8:30 on a Sunday morning and the lot and path were pretty empty on the way up—not so much on the way down. Lots of friendly dogs, too!

backpacking
21 days ago

Not a difficult trail by any means: I generally do more difficult hikes, but this was surely closer to a “Moderate” for even novice hikers. Hike to lake took a little over an hour, hike back took under 45 mins.

Road to trailhead is not a 4wd road. It was easily drivable in a Prius. Very few spots where more than 4” of clearance is required. I’d recommend it to any vehicle but a Miata.

Adding Bill’s peak and a few other mini-summits to this hike makes it worthwhile and lake Evelyn makes a great easy-to-reach base camp. It is well shielded from the high winds on the neighboring peaks, but also has sunlight limitations for some chilly evenings.

I saw a total of two groups over 48 hours, neither of the other groups spent the night.

A final note: the lake does not have a view of the valley, so be sure to hike up to the nearby saddle for some great vistas.

It is stunning scenic trail with the foliage. The lake is empty now but the scene does not disappoint

August 2009. Amazing beautiful trail

Nice hike accurately described. Great views once above tree line (about 2/3 of the trail, each way).

off road driving
26 days ago

Loch Lomond is a classic that's easy to get to. The trail is very bumpy but is easy. Once at the top the views are fantastic. Not a lot of Aspens but the bushes turn yellow and it's still very nice to look at haha. If you'd like to see a video of the run I have one up at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5oGcy1MWOvY

Have fun out there!

hiking
26 days ago

Definitely recommend continuing the hike beyond Maroon Lake for additional sights. It is a rocky trail with some steeper inclines, and, I will admit, at one point I did get turned around on the trail. The trail is more heavily trafficked once the shuttles start dropping people off at 8:00AM. Even though Crater Lake was dry when I went, the autumn colors were fantastic!

Beautiful little trail, moderate until the little bit of scrambling at the end. The lakes are lovely. And it was not crowded at all, only saw one group of 4 backpackers and a couple the entire day.

camping
28 days ago

It is difficult getting up there and easy coming back. The Lake is dry currently.

Nice easy hike up to Crater Lake. The lake is dry but amazing colors of the Aspens all the way up.

hiking
28 days ago

This was my second time doing this hike and it was better than the first! Although the views leading up to the lakes are not amazing, once you get within a mile of the first lake, things really open up and make everything worth it. After the reservoir, the elevation gain really kicks in. The first mile of the trail is down hill so dont forget that you have a short hike back up to your car(up hill both ways!). The first Chicago lake has no defined trail but there are plenty of paths to get down there. The yellows, greens, and blues really make this lake stand out. The hike to the upper lake is all gain. There are a few spots of loose dirt which make it slow going but the climb is about 500ft in less than a mile to the top lake. Once you're up there, it all pays off. We had an amazing blue sky day with some gusts of wind rolling through to cool us off. Mount Evans sits behind the lake and offers amazing mountain views and a great place to relax. With the side routes to the lower lake and walking around, the total trip was roughly 11 miles but the trail itself is about 9 miles as it is listed here.

hiking
28 days ago

I did this hike a week ago with my friend and our two dogs, a Lab and a Sheppard. We got started shortly after the sun came upon the Bells, mostly to start the hike before the trail got too crowded (it was a Monday) it was so beautiful with most of the aspens in full color. Our dogs did fine on the terrain and yes, some parts were very rocky but wasn’t an issue for any of us. We got to Crater Lake which we knew was dry, but it was a nice spot to sit for a bit and have some snacks before heading back. We encountered ALOT more people coming up the trail, especially as we were almost at the end. Good move on our part to start early. Would have given 5 stars if the lake wasn’t dry

We parked at the sign and hiked up instead of off-roading. Beautiful views, and I would love to continue on to the upper lakes next time!

I would recommend not taking your car up directly to the trailhead. Road is pretty bad.

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