Explore the most popular lake trails in San Isabel National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

11 hours ago

Always extremely crowded with tourists at turquoise lake, do not recommend. Wouldn’t mind it if they weren’t so territorial and rude.

How is the road to the trailhead?

hiking
1 day ago

This hike had it all in my opinion. We crossed a number of small streams (water for the pooch), a small waterfall, mountain lakes and an abandoned railway tunne high in the mountains. We loved finding remnants of the rails. The views were gorgeous! We are doing it again - this time taking the opposite route on the loop.

GREAT hike. Trail marked well. What makes hiking worth it: getting to top, all to feel so small in this HUGE world.

hiking
3 days ago

A group of five vacationing from Iowa enjoyed this hike! Parked on the County Road suggested in earlier comments. Took our crew about an hour and 10 to get to the first lake, and it was worth the incline up to view it! Overall, all enjoyed this hike. Bring water and prepare to do some heavy breathing as you work your way up.

hiking
4 days ago

Completed this hike on 6/14/18. This is an easy hike but has a lot of mud to navigate through. The payoff in the end is well worth it and it does not take a very long time to get to the lake. Once we got to the lake we saw a herd of elk to the south a little ways. Great Hike!

Did this trail on 6/13/18 tool my wife and I around 1 hr and 50 minutes to get to the top and another hour to get back down. I would say the difficulty is accurate. This has been one of our favorite hikes, the scenery is beautiful with a good payoff. We met a few groups of people along the way and a little bit of snow towards the top but nothing extreme. I recommend having some lunch and coffee overlooking the lakes.

backpacking
6 days ago

My 2 sons and I just got back yesterday 6/16 from an overnight at the lake. We got a really late start but still made it to the lake before 6 pm. The 3 miles from the falls were really hard work with packs but well worth it. The area is absolutely beautiful and so serene. We picked a spot right by the water and thought we were completely alone until the next morning when we took a hike beyond the lake. The water was so clean it looked crystal clear even before being filtered. Breathtaking.

7 days ago

One of my fav trails. Short drive from town to see alpine views.

The road leading up to the trail is terrible so be prepared to add about a mile both ways (2 miles total). The trail is very well managed and easy to follow. In terms of difficulty it leans more towards easy. There are a lot of bugs so bring repellent of some sort if you don’t want to be annoyed by them the whole time. Butterflies are very easy to spot by the lake. Extremely low traffic on the trail as I only saw one other person the whole time. Overall it’s a good forest trail but because of the irritating bugs and lack of a distinct feature or view I would go to other trails during the summer.

Beautiful hike. Need hiking boots to pass somewhat comfortably. There are lots of little streams that must be passed to get to the lake. The view is amazing and definitely worth it!

I really enjoyed this hike. It wasn’t very strenuous, but the view of the lake and the trees were beautiful. I also really enjoyed checking out the Interlaken and the old turn of the century house that you could walk through.

It was a perfect hike to see some cool things and get some exercise in before returning to your camp for the night.

Super easy to find. Short walk to the lake- tail goes all the way around if you want more adventure. 10/10 would do again.

This was a beautiful trail. It was a little bit challenging coming from Florida. I mapped 6.2 miles in 2 hours 40 minutes. The view of the lakes was incredible. I would definitely do this again and bring lunch and eat it overlooking the lake.

hiking
12 days ago

Def recommend shoes you dont mind getting wet and some kind of trekking sticks. Took just about 1hr 40min to make the hike to the lake. Beautiful lake with some snow mounds still present around the south/SE ends, a lot of the ground around the lake very swampy/mushy/muddy due to melting snow runoff into lake. Trees provided reasonable shade and wind cover most of the trail but the wifey got her shoulders/neck sunburned pretty well. scouted lake for about 45 min then returned to trailhead. whole trip took just under 4 hrs.

hiking
13 days ago

Beautiful lake great for children

hiking
13 days ago

It's June 10. It was a great hike with ups and downs. Mud patches here and there but ways around and through it. Beautiful lake!

backpacking
13 days ago

Epic. Both.

Couple muddy stretches near the lakes, otherwise looks like an early summer. Quite a few wildflowers out already. Tons of mosquitoes around the upper lake. When the wind is still, their collective buzzing is surprisingly loud as they blanket your tent.

Road to the 4x4 lot is in really nasty shape. Coming back down it begs for four-low and crawl mode.

15 days ago

The map says the trail goes around the lake but you have to walk next to the highway and through town to complete the circle.

hiking
17 days ago

Nice hike exactly 18.1 miles outside of town. TH isn't marked and there is a paved pullout on the opposite side of the street with enough space for two cars. Early spring conditions included mud (that required wading throug) and some snow patches that you could go around. Lake is beautiful. See pics and more detail here: https://etbtravelphotography.com/2018/06/06/roadtrip-to-the-rockies-hiking-in-buena-vista/

hiking
18 days ago

I will be doing this again until I can reach the summit but this trail is really the Three Elks Trail. Make sure you follow the signs for just that, there really are no other signs., until you hit the Colorado Trail segment 12. Take a left to go to the lakes. The road to where the trailhead starts is really bad and I personally would not drive it no matter what vehicle I had but folks do. So because of that you have to park on the road below which adds another 1.5 to the lakes. So count on 3 miles each way. Steep and calf killing but not as bad as others make it sound. I got to the lakes in about an hour even with the added miles. The lakes are beautiful and I preferred the smaller one to the bigger because it had beautiful reflections. There is no snow left at all. Hiking sticks come in handy for the way down with all the rocks. Enjoy!

off road driving
18 days ago

Beautiful views! Extremely rocky though but worth it.

Definitely marshy and snowy in parts, I found myself losing the trail a couple of times on the way down. But beautiful hike as a whole - I’ll be returning with my camera soon!

I’m a little apprehensive about off-road driving, but the road to the trailhead was fine with a 4Runner. From there it took me about 45 minutes to hike to the lakes. I didn’t realize I should have turned left at the Colorado Trail sign so I overshot a bit. This was a pretty hike and would be great for dogs with the stream close. Don’t forget your bug spray!

hiking
19 days ago

My wife and I, daughter and son-in-law and two grand kids 9 and 14 arrived at the gravel road off hwy 50 at about 2:30 pm. There is private property on the right as you enter so be sure to pull into the road past that and park along the side. There were two other cars there when we arrived. Another gravel road off to the right goes up to the trail head for Boss Lake Res. This is kind of a rough unmaintained road which most people go by foot - 1 mile up to trail head, we did too. We only hiked to Boss Lake. Our elevation gain from where we parked our car was close to 1,100 ft. The trail has some segments of steep climb. Weather was cloudy and in the 50"s quite windy at times. Nice hike, out and back was about 4hrs. June 3, 2018

backpacking
19 days ago

let's start off with.... I didn't die :)

this trail is not for the faint of heart. backpacked up with my 6yr old. started off late and only made 4 miles in first night which worked out great for second night as we were first to the lake to pick our spot. as others have mentioned, good spots up front, but if you want privacy you can walk an extra 5 minutes to the back. lake was windy but plenty of fish and relatively quite. there it's a 4x4 tail at the back side of the lake. think for next visit with rest of family we will drive up.

trail starts at with a good incline and ends with a good incline. pack light if your staying the night.

hiking
20 days ago

First off, I’d just like to state that there is a sticker in the St. Elmo General Store that says “I survived the Grizzly Lake Trail!”, so if that doesn’t tell you something about this hike, I’m not sure what will.

I am young and mildly out of shape, but the first mile of this trail was absolutely hellish. I took about 2 hours (with 2 older women) to reach the lake, including plenty of rest breaks in the shade. Keep in mind, about a year ago I had an ACL replacement, and my knee was swollen up a half mile into this hike. The view at the end was definitely beautiful, but I wouldn’t attempt this trail again till I was much more physically fit.

The majority of the trail is a loose boulder field in the open, so wear plenty of sunscreen and bring lots of water, because it was very hot around midday. However, it was very interesting because there are lots of open mining pits (careful!) and old cabins to explore.

My main take away was this: this trail requires a physically fit person who is prepared to walk the majority uphill and who can carry lots of food/water. Do not attempt this if you think you might be unprepared, there is no cell reception and it is very lightly traveled.

Nice hike and good one for flatland ders still adjusting to altitude. early spring requires you to trudge through a pretty swampy and muddy section, but it is short...maybe 30 feet or so.

backpacking
20 days ago

This was a great hike to start out backpacking season! There were a couple of stream crossings that were difficult and caused us to get pretty wet. Once we got to the lake we found a great camping spot- beautiful place to camp!

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