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Button Rock Dam via Sleepy Lion Trail

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Roosevelt National Forest

Button Rock Dam via Sleepy Lion Trail is a 5.4 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Lyons, 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 October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 5.4 miles Elevation Gain: 921 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

kid friendly

fishing

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

running

forest

lake

partially paved

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

Users have reported that there is only one dog per person allowed on this route. A great rocky trail with a few steep sections. Well shaded in the morning. Dramatic views of Long's Peak, Mt. Meeker, and Twin Sisters beyond the reservoir.

hiking
3 days ago

hiking
4 days ago

7/4/2020: Saw a rattlesnake about .5 miles from the parking lot at about 11am. Be careful out there! Beautiful quiet hike. Got really hot quickly and the road doesn’t have a ton of shade, so bring lots of sunscreen and water. Will definitely do this hike again in cooler months! Edit: I saw some reviews mention dogs swimming, but we saw lots of no swimming allowed signs since it is drinking water. I am unsure if this is all water on this route or just the top. We didn’t let our pup swim just in case!

Nice trail. I went to the south coves once at the top of the dam and it was very enjoyable. There were many nice quiet places to sit and relax at the edge of the water.

hiking
6 days ago

Got here at 8am and the parking lot had about 2 spots left! Recommend getting here earlier than later as the next parking lot you’d be walking an extra mile or so with uphill getting back. The views are great all 5 miles of the hike whether it’s the river, Mountain View, Reservoir, the dam, or abundance of trees there’s a lot of places to stop and take in nature. When starting the loop I recommend clockwise. You’ll finish the trail down a road with no incline then. The earlier you get here the more shade you’ll have and great for anyone with a dog. Also a few stops along the way for the pups to play in the water which is very rewarding for them!

hiking
8 days ago

Half of the hike is on a gravel road that follows a river...I personally have a preference for more "off-road" hiking. The off-road/dirt path part of the hike was very scenic however. There wasn't an obvious "you made it" point to stop and eat lunch, but all-in-all it was a very enjoyable hike with plenty of views along the way.

hiking
8 days ago

Got here at 9am on a weekday and there was plenty of parking left. Took me an hour and a half total, paved road for half of the hike. Nice trail!

hiking
rocky
10 days ago

This was a great trail on a lovely day. The loop is fun and moderately challenging going up the button rock dam trail. However, when you meet up with the fire road it’s quite East heading down to the spillway and then an easy, flat trek back to the parking lot. An in-and-out on just the fire road would be simple and attainable for any joker able to make the round trip. While not as beautiful and varied as the button rock trail, the walk alongside the river is also quite nice on a mild weather day but isn’t nearly as shaded.

hiking
11 days ago

Got the last parking spot at 8:00am! Great for dogs, pretty easy hike with a flat road for part of the way up and down. Opted to go the scenic route via Sleepy Lion Trail. Nice ups and downs and flats which is nice variety instead of constant incline. Lots of dogs and strictly enforced leash rules!

hiking
11 days ago

A dog friendly hike through and through!!! I highly recommend the extra time and go through sleepy lion trail. It is harder than the other way, but worth every second. The view of the dam is amazing and the spill way is worth it!!

12 days ago

My track is to Coffintop Mountain via Sleepy Lion. GPS is a BIG help. There are some carefully placed carins at just the right spots to keep you on track. 2300ft elevation gain and 8.7 miles out and back from the parking lot. Bring water and sunscreen. Views are incredible. The peak seemed obvious.

hiking
12 days ago

We started about 7:00 AM on a Saturday, hiked at a casual pace, and got back to the car in a little more than 2 hours. There were about 10 cars in the parking lot when we started, and we met four or five groups of hikers along the trail, but things were starting to get crowded when we left. Definitely worth arriving early. We hiked clockwise, and clocked the trail at exactly 5 miles - a little shorter than the posted length. We hiked along the bottom of the dam, and skipped what looked like an out-and-back to the top, so we suspect that made the difference in length. The first (and last) half-mile or so of the loop is a flat, well-maintained road along a river: easy hiking, and completely shaded by the canyon walls early, but it would be in full sun and not pleasant around midday. The middle section is a relatively strenuous and rocky trail up and back down, mostly shaded. The trail is well-marked at forks, if you're watching for it; be careful and make sure you're headed the right direction. Occasional nice views over the dam/reservoir and surrounding valleys, but mostly just local scenery. Our dog had a great time in the water.

Nice wildflowers, good weather.

hiking
17 days ago

Relatively easy hike and the view of the dam is pretty cool.

hiking
17 days ago

Great Father's Day hike with my son. Moderate trail with awesome views. If your going, go early. Trail gets busy as round 9:00am.

hiking
18 days ago

Great hike and trail. I especially enjoyed Sleepy Lion. Next time I’ll do Sleepy Lion as an out and back because the road back to the parking lot from the dam is just that, a road. It’s a pretty walk along the creek but just a flat casual walk.

hiking
18 days ago

Great hike, a little crowded . We arrived at 9 and the parking lot was full. Top parking lot was starting to fill up as well. Perfect weather , pet friendly and plenty of shade.

Beautiful hike! I arrived at 10am on a Thursday and there were only a handful of spots left in the parking lot. I took Sleepy Lion on the way up and the road back down, which I recommend. I also think it would be great to take the little side trail that brings you to the crest of the dam and then you could take the Hummingbird switchback back down, rather than do that as an out and back section.

hiking
rocky
23 days ago

Beautiful trail. Had most of Sleepy Lion to myself on Monday morning setting out at 9am. Only met a few people on the whole route. Beautiful wildflowers right now and lots of lizards. Steep in both directions. Rocky going up sleepy lion, gravel going back down to the dam. A manageable moderate trail for those who are inexperienced or rusty.

hiking
24 days ago

Arrived around 8:45am and had to park a 10-minute walk up the road. When I returned to my car around 11am, there was a line to park there, as well as in the parking lot. I missed the left turn to Sleep Lion Trail and did the hike in reverse, but I would recommend the other way (start with Sleepy Lion). Easy hike and manageable for all skill levels. Not too memorable, although the dam was cool and my dog enjoyed romping around in the water. Very sunny and the bathroom was closed.

hiking
24 days ago

Really nice hike w/ lots of pretty views of the Rockies and the dam. Got there at 8:30 on a Sunday and the lot was full and had to park about .25 miles down the road. Took the trail to the left and ended the hike walking down the road. Definitely a moderate hike. If you take the left path the first mile or two is definitely a climb. Nice mists from the dam on the way down.

hiking
24 days ago

Wonderful trail. Did the sleepy lion trail up and the road down. The damn looks beautiful and the trail is really well kept. Great easy hike! I would recommend going early. The parking lot fills up quick!

Great and beautiful hike. Went on Sunday morning. Got there at 0700, parking lot was about half full. DEFINITELY take sleepy lion trail first (if you are there for a good hike!) it’s pretty uphill, pretty rocky. But you get a gorgeous view of the res. And come out at the bottom of the dam.

hiking
25 days ago

Went here today with my husband and teenage son. It was great! Arrived around 830 am, easy parking. Will definitely go again!

nice and easy. heavy traffic. packed parking lot. small view of Long's peak, but great atmosphere around the reservoir

hiking
rocky
scramble
26 days ago

6/13/20 – Such a beautiful hike! I hiked clockwise at the loop and it was a well-shaded trail up the 2 mile incline. Beautiful views of Longs Peak and Mt. Meeker in the distance. The descent was a little slick due to the loose gravel terrain. Would definitely recommend the trek up to the Ralph Price Reservoir at Button Rock Dam. No issues with parking at 8:30AM on a Saturday morning, but when I finished my hike at 10:20AM, there was a line waiting to park, so get there early if you head out on a weekend.

hiking
28 days ago

County Rd 80 comes up on you quickly when you're driving 36 west to Estes Park. Large parking lot was full but only waited 5 min for a spot. The trail brings you to these vast mountain parks with beautiful wildflowers and plenty of sunshine. Watching the power of the water leaving the bottom of the dam was pretty cool.

fishing
1 month ago

I got there around 10:45 on a Sunday and had no issues parking. I recommend taking the Sleepy Lion Trail first to get the hard part out of the way. Definitely worth the views too and well shaded. Great trail for beginners who want a good workout! Was able to take it leisurely on the decline. Great views and calming sounds coming from the waters! You can easily make it extra kid friendly just taking the gravel road path to the dam. There’s even a book exchange post on the way!

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

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