Abyss Trail to Abyss Lake

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Mount Evans Wilderness

Abyss Trail to Abyss Lake is a 16 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Bailey, Colorado that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 16.0 miles Elevation Gain: 3,333 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dog friendly

backpacking

camping

cross country skiing

hiking

snowshoeing

forest

lake

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

snow

washed out

The Abyss Lake Trail is a popular hiking trail that ends at Abyss Lake. The lake is nestled in a high glacial cirque between Mt. Bierstadt and Mt. Evans. The elevation gain, together with the round trip distance of almost 17 miles makes this a strenuous day hike. The trailhead is just past or right before the campground as is the TH for Abyss lake. The trail follows an old logging road about 4 miles to an intersection with the Rosalie trail. from there the trail climbs more steeply into the upper part of the valley. From an unnamed lake at timberline, the trail continues through the willows, then westerly across the tundra to the lake.

backpacking
6 days ago

Wet and marshy, but definitely doable all the way up to Abyss Lake without snowshoes. The trail is a bit challenging to find after the first lake, but smooth sailing after the brush. Snowshoes/crampons needed for climbing up to Sawtooth and Mt Bierstadt. @cute girls we met on the trail-we’re on Instagram @adam_r77

backpacking
9 days ago

Definitely forgot it was only May- totally dry. We were fine in hiking boots all the way up to the top. Marshy and kinda crappy after the first lake though. Saw another post about Guanella being closed, but we made it to the trailhead just fine and had no issues. Great views after the junction! @ the cute boys we met on trail- u got kik???

hiking
9 days ago

Only hiked to the trail split but it still had nice views and was worth it even without seeing the lakes. Overall dry. Parking lot was full by 9AM. Guanella Pass is still closed because Clear Creek County is banning anyone who doesn't live in Clear Creek County from driving on county roads. Apparently you will endanger their residents by driving Guanella Pass.

hiking
off trail
snow
13 days ago

Did on 5/17 - post-holing galore for the last three miles. We made it to the first lake, but ran out of daylight before we could make it to the 2nd. Exhausting but beautiful hike!!

hiking
muddy
snow
28 days ago

Great hike! Still a lot of snow above 11,000 in the shaded areas. Abyss trail would require snow shoes, needs a couple more weeks to melt out

icy
1 month ago

we hiked up 1.5 miles today. great hike, beautiful and peaceful. some ice and snow still starting 3/4 mile

hiking
snow
1 month ago

hiking
2 months ago

Trail was packed down, less so as you ascended, came nowhere near doing the entire trail. It was easily navigable with micro-spikes and also easy to post-hole just off the trail. Both the dog and I had a great time with only two other hikers seen on a Friday March morning.

hiking
5 months ago

Perfect winter wonderland day! Trail was packed-perfect for spikes! Love this trail.

snowshoeing
snow
5 months ago

Did about 2 miles in and back snowshoeing on the trail today, 12/20. Good amount of snow with a few rocks still showing through on the trail. There were some cars in the lot, but we had the trail to ourselves and never saw anyone.

snowshoeing
snow
6 months ago

Excellent hike! Only did about 6 miles but the trail was really nice!

hiking
muddy
rocky
snow
7 months ago

I started this trail last week but only went halfway because o had my dog with me and he is not a long distance hiker. I went back today to complete the whole trail. Definitely a fun one. a little strenuous after about 3 1/2 miles but I think the overall distance is why this route is considered Hard on All-Trails. Some patchy snow in areas, but no traction needed as of 10/14/19. Snow thawed as the day went on causing some areas to be muddy.

hiking
7 months ago

Love this trial. Great fall hike. I did this 9/27-28 camping about 2 miles in. Then up to Abyss lake and back down and out on the 28th (15 miles). Not terribly strenuous as the climb is gradual. I passed this trail again on 10/5 and the sign at the first junction with Rosalie trial was missing. Please note this or bring a GPS. It's just before a stream cross, there is a sign post with a trial off to the left; be sure to stay right. You will know you are on the correct trail as you will pass the second junction with Rosalie, a trail going off to the right, shortly afterwards, which does have a sign. Helms lake makes a beautiful turnaround point too if you don't want to do a 17 mile dayhike.

hiking
7 months ago

giving it 4 stars as I did not finish yet. I went only halfway because the dog is not use to long hikes. I will be back without the dog to finish soon. new review to come afterwards

hiking
7 months ago

17 miles to Abyss Lake and back. The Aspen trees are just past peak, and there are still some beautiful sections. The best foliage is prior to Helms Lake, within the first 3 miles from the trailhead. The beginning of the trail through mile 3-4 is very mellow (also the highest concentration of people). It gets more strenuous beyond that point (a bit steeper, some switchbacks, altitude), but not too hard. The mileage is what makes this ‘hard’. We left the trailhead at 8am and we’re at Abyss Lake by noon. Back at the trailhead by 3:30pm. Brisk pace with some rest and photo stops.

hiking
7 months ago

Amazing fall colors!! Honestly a very easy and pleasant trail, but we only went a bit past the third crossing. A wonderful, not overly strenuous hike with great payoff. Arrive early!!! Would do this again in a heartbeat in any season.

8 months ago

Lovely fall hike. Can see a hillside full of yellow and orange and walk through a aspen grove all within a few miles of trailhead. Populated trail, but not busy. I went from trailhead to the third river crossing and back in about three hours or so.

hiking
8 months ago

Did Abyss lake as a day hike, clocked 17mi total. Took just under 4 hours to get to the top and a little less to get down. Miles 2-5 were amazing to see the aspen trees right now! After that it’s mostly above tree line. Trail was a little hard to follow from Helms lake to Abyss Lake, and Abyss was extremely windy at the top so we only spend 10 minutes there. Overall this was a good trail and the aspens were beautiful!

hiking
8 months ago

My Wife and I did a good portion of this trail yesterday. We started hiking around 7:45 am and were back at the trailhead around 2:00pm. We did not get above tree line but got pretty close. We were mostly there to peep the leaves but I would recommend this trail for anyone looking for a diverse hiking experience. My least favorite part was the multiple water crossings... they had logs set up to help you pass but those are always tough for me. Haha

hiking
8 months ago

Amazing foliage hike. Aspens at peak but some that are higher up have some green. Went all the way to Abyss Lake. Extremely windy there today and not worth the extra mileage for leaves. There were some great views about a mile past Helms. Suggest turning around there if you’re looking for leaves. Also the trail is a little tricky to follow past Helms on the way to Abyss near the stream.

hiking
8 months ago

A great fall hike. The views start at about 2.2 miles.

hiking
8 months ago

Awesome trail!! I didn’t get to go all the way to Abyss Lake but I got about 4.5 miles in and turned around due to being with an older dog. Fall colors were incredible, but they don’t start until about mile 3 or 3.5. Within a week and a half to 2 weeks I’d say they’ll be gone. Highly recommend in the fall! Trail is super quiet and nicely maintained.

hiking
8 months ago

Wow! This trail is fantastic. It’s everything I’m looking for when going backpacking. I started hiking at 10:40am and reached Helm’s Lake around 2:45pm. I set up camp and then proceeded up to Abyss Lake. From Helm’s to Abyss took me about 1.5hrs, one way. I spent one night at Helm’s. The stars were unreal. Also got to peep a moose in the early morning hours. Aspens are starting to change and the temps were perfect for camping (65ish day and 30ish night). Highly recommend as an overnight backpacking trip. Many campsites and plentiful water along trail to Helm’s

hiking
8 months ago

Great hike, would've given 5 stars if the trail was closer to the creek on the first few miles. I clocked 8.5 mi to Abyss Lk. Saw one Bull moose, but too far for pics. Definetly a long day hike, but rewarding. Very Scenic.

hiking
8 months ago

Great hike!! Stunning views and great trail conditions. I did this hike this past Sunday and conditions were great. Would love to come back in 2-3 weeks when the Aspen trees change color (some were already changing color higher up). It was a lot for a day hike (starting at 7am and wrapping up a little after 1pm) and would probably camp up at Helms lake next time - but overall 10/10. The trail can get a little difficult to follow after Helms lake with the stream, but other than that a great hike.

hiking
8 months ago

We clocked 6.2 miles from the trailhead at the parking lot (no need to go to the campground to start the hike) to Helms Lake. We set up camp at Helms. That hike to Helms is good if you are looking for a backpacking trip that isn’t too strenuous. The first 3.5 to 4 miles that follows the logging trail is relatively flat. The next day we did the 5 mile round trip to Abyss lake from Helms lake. The trail from Helms to Abyss did follow the creek a little bit and you had to navigate through some brush, but it really wasn’t that hard to follow at least when we went. That creek and brush section is less than half a mile and then after that the trail is well defined. Overall both lakes are stunning! We saw ducks at Helms lake. When was the last time you saw ducks at a lake at 11,800 feet?? Quack! We also scoped some cute ass Pika and Marmot. I started a war with a squirrel near my tent. Boy, was that a mistake! He brought all his friends back and they chattered at me for an hour. Tempted to rate this trail 4/5 due to the mean squirrels. LOL.

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