Crystal Lake Trail is a 8.4 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Breckenridge, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, fishing, and ohv/off road driving and is best used from May until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 8.4 miles Elevation Gain: 2,568 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dog friendly

fishing

hiking

ohv / off road driving

running

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

snow

This is a beautiful route including both the Lower and Upper Crystal Lakes in the White River National Forest. If you have a 4WD vehicle, you can drive to the Lower Crystal Lake, at which point the trail becomes a hiking trail. From there you'll have to hike to the Upper Crystal Lake. If you do not have a 4WD vehicle, you can park at the trailhead marked on this page, and hike all the way up!

recorded Crystal Lake Trail

skiing
snow
5 months ago

ohv/off road driving
rocky
8 months ago

Unless you air-down or roll with 40+” tires, you’re going to feel every inch of this trail. Not a bad climb up, handful of steep grades and very little obstacles. Gorgeous lake up top. Watch for hikers and bikers. 2019 4Runner trd or 3 in lift Toyo CT @ 40 psi 4 LO all trail, need to use locker

hiking
rocky
9 months ago

Scree everywhere for most of the way up. Moronic Californians in Jeeps for most of the trail too. Other than that, took about 90 min up and 60 min goin down. Not super easy but not all that difficult. Lake at the end is dope. Peace.

hiking
9 months ago

The trail to the first lake is a rocky, steep Jeep trail. We have hiked it before and it was a difficult trail. This time we jeeped to the first lake and then hiked to the second lake. The hike to the second lake is 2 miles with 900’ elevation gain. It took us about an hour and a half with frequent stops. The tundra is changing colors at the upper lake and is very pretty. The views from both lakes are pretty. There are a some wildflowers left, but mostly we noticed fall colors starting to appear. This area will probably be very pretty in a couple of weeks when fall really sets in.

hiking
9 months ago

Started around 6, made it to a half mile from the upper lake at around 8am when a group of mountain goats moved from being just curious about us to no longer tolerating us in their space. We tried to keep our distance, but the male was very clear we were not going to be going any further. Otherwise beautiful hike, the lower lake is a little underwhelming but the peaks around it are beautiful. Still tons of wildflowers, and a whole heck of a lot of people starting this one as we came down. I’ll be back to finish another time...

hiking
rocky
scramble
9 months ago

First mile and a half was a very steep 4 x 4 road, it sucked going down. Ridgeline and summit were very rocky a loose talus. This was a tough one. The views were amazing especially at the summit

hiking
9 months ago

Nice but the road is a rocky climb to the trail. Lower lake is nice but upper lakes better. Steady climb all the way up. Not technically difficult but a work out with all the loose rocks and climbing..

hiking
rocky
9 months ago

First off, this trail is made for 4x4’s and is a royal pain to hike. There are tons of tire ruts, and loose, upturned rocks that will trip your or roll your ankle if you’re do not pay attention. The first portion of the hike from the parking area is very steep. That being said, this hike is awesome and has some of the best wildflowers and mountain views I’ve seen yet. Upon leaving the forest, you enter the alpine meadow with a gorgeous view of Mount Helen. Shortly thereafter you find the area just carpeted in wildflowers- I could not believe what I was seeing. The views on the hike to lower lake are gorgeous with Mount Helen, Father Dyer, Crystal peak, and Peak 10. The lower lake was set to the beautiful backdrop of Father Dyer peak. The trail improves and is regular hiking trail beyond lower lake. I did not go to upper lake as my goal was Crystal Peak. The trail is similar until you break off to the right and ascend a talus field toward the saddle between Crystal Peak and Peak 10. This is not very well marked out. I tried to follow the more heavily trodden plants and more worn talus. At the saddle, it is then class 2 to a false peak with Crystal Peak just beyond that. There is a small wall built for wind shelter where I had lunch. It is super windy up there. The views are incredible from Crystal Peak. I was able to identify at least eight 14ers, including Mt of the Holy Cross off to the west. You can also see Pacific Tarn just below Pacific Peak to the south, which is the highest elevation lake in the country. All together this is an awesome hike, especially if you take it to Crystal Peak. I have 4 stars though because the 4x4 road that makes the trail to lower lake is just terrible to walk on. Going down is just as painful due to slipping/sliding on loose dirt and rocks.

hiking
rocky
9 months ago

Love this hike! The wildflowers are beautiful right now. Super steep on the way up. Lots of uphill, but the views and lake are worth it.

hiking
rocky
scramble
9 months ago

Really beautiful hike in August. Wild flowers blooming everywhere and views that won’t disappoint! We went all the way to upper crystal lake. Little snow at the top but still able to access. Great hike overall

hiking
9 months ago

I started from the Spruce Creek Parking area and hiked up to Crystal Lake. I thought it was a good steady incline that really allows you to find a good pace. The trail (road for the first part) is very easy to follow. There were a couple of stream crossings that had rocks or logs to help stay dry. Overall I really enjoyed this hike and the views once you get beyond tree line are great! I decided to continue up to Crystal Peak because the weather still looked good. If you have the energy and the time you should think about Continuing up because you’re already half way there, and the 360 panorama view at the top makes your hike that much sweeter! Don’t know if this is worth mentioning, but the people I saw (only 8 people) were all so friendly!!

hiking
rocky
scramble
10 months ago

hiking
10 months ago

Steep boring road for the first mile, but then the views open up and it’s worth it. Also go through a field of wildflowers. Good workout.

hiking
rocky
10 months ago

started Tuesday morning at 7:30. had trail to ourselves for a couple of hours. assent to first lake was pretty steep. had to find some alternative paths to keep feet dry. beautiful views after leaving pines. paths to 2nd lake was much less steep, but there was some exposure and a snow field or two...as the day wore on, we saw a few hikers and runners and 2 4WD vehicles. finished by 12:30. would totally recomend

hiking
muddy
rocky
washed out
10 months ago

ohv/off road driving
10 months ago

The trail is pretty rugged, but we were able to make it to the lake in a stock Tacoma off-road in 4hi. The views at the top were fantastic. We encounter quite a few hikers on our way up/down.

hiking
10 months ago

Hiking boots not necessary to first lake. Just a road through forest at first, and not too exciting. It soon reaches treeline, however, which makes for a much prettier hike. While there are a couple of patches of running water in the road, it is possible to detour through the willows and over some logs to keep your feet dry in trail shoes. We got a late start (10am), thus the parking was filled for half a mile down the road (most people at Mohawk Lakes though). Upon reaching the first lake, storms rolled in, so we didn't make it any further thus I can't report on any snow above. For pics and more details: https://etbtravelphotography.com/2019/07/23/three-hikes-in-breckenridge/

hiking
snow
10 months ago

Grat views on the way up. Still tons of water and snow pack. Plan on getting your feet wet.

hiking
snow
10 months ago

Some snow at the end and a lot of you try to make it to the upper lake, which is completely covered in snow and pretty treacherous to get to. I do recommend climbing a bit past the lower lake just because the view of the lower lake from the side of the mountain is spectacular!

hiking
off trail
rocky
10 months ago

Hard start, steep and rocky. Push through to enjoy waterfalls and great views. This was a challenging trail but the sights/views reward you!

hiking
snow
10 months ago

Outstanding hike. Great views, nice area to hang out at the lower lake. Fair amount of snow. Couple tricky stream crossings.

ohv/off road driving
closed
10 months ago

As of 7/5, trail is closed to off road vehicles. According to rangers there's still snow near the lakes.

hiking
11 months ago

Loved this hike. Pretty good incline up right at the beginning. Waterfall on the way up. Beautiful! Didn’t make it to the lakes, too much snow.

hiking
11 months ago

6/29 there's still a fair amount of snow as you get up higher on the trail, the waterfalls are great and the trail is good and challenging. we didn't pass the granite field because of the snow covering it, we'll definitely be back again later this year.

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