Dry Lakes via Dry Creek Trail

HARD 14 reviews
#53 of 117 trails in

Dry Lakes via Dry Creek Trail is a 7.6 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Westcliffe, Colorado that features a lake 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 but must be kept on leash.

7.6 miles
2,877 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash




nature trips






wild flowers



Dry Lakes is one of the steeper hikes on the East side and four miles one way from the trail head at Rainbow Trail. Fishing primarily at the lower lake. To get to the upper lake go right and look for the faint trail. That adds another mile but easy. Total including top is 10 miles round trip. If you like to climb stairs, this one is for you. The beginning is one long stair climb with no switch backs. It levels off in the middle and then you climb a short bit again. The creek is on the left most of the way with a couple of crossings using rocks and logs. Great hike. Flowers and mushrooms. Fly fishing was good.

10 days ago

Very few people encountered. Scenery isn't spectacular until you reach the upper basin...then WOW! It is a strenuous trail for heavy packs: very steep first 1/3, second 1/3 trail more moderate, last 1/3 very rocky and steep to the lakes. Nice campsites below the upper basin in the trees.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

very demanding,coming down very had on knees,always stepping on or over rocks very few level spots beautiful at top will not do again too many better trails

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

This is NOT a moderate 4 mile hike! The hike from the Rainbow Trail parking lot to the Dry Lakes Trailhead is 2 miles. The trailhead for Dry Lakes Trail branches off from the Rainbow trail and although the Forest Service sign says 3.5 miles to the lakes, it is closer to 6 miles. The entire hike will be close to 8 miles, which doesn't seem like a big deal for experienced hikers, at least we don't think so, but we didn't pack enough water or food for a 16 mile round-trip hike. The trail is uphill the entire way and full of rather large lose rocks that make it difficult to move at a decent speed. So, to sum it up, start early and pack enough food and water!!

Monday, June 27, 2016

A pleasant trail. The beginning definitely is a climb, but it does even out to a slightly more gentle uphill after a while.

We were a little paranoid about finding the right trail. You start from the Horn Creek Trail Head and make the climb up to access the Rainbow Trail. When you T at the Rainbow Trail, turn right towards Horn Creek. After a short walk, you reach the a split for the Horn Creek Spur or "Trail 1343"-- which is the Dry Lakes Trail.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Very demanding trail, it was strenuous and rocky, climbing, climbing and more climbing. The foliage and views were really awesome, the stream along side was beautiful for most of the hike. The lake at the trail end is around 12000 feet, so enjoy my pictures from the hike. The posted sign indicates 3.5 miles in, it's actually 5.0 miles in, total in and out 10 miles. I started at Horn Creek trailhead, so it was a total of 12 miles in an out to Dry Creek/Lake.
So get there, and enjoy Colorado and the Sangre De Cristo mountains!!!
I've completed several hikes in this area, everyone of them "amazing"!

Monday, June 01, 2015

beautiful hike with great views of the valley. we tried late may but there were still large patches of snow at 10,000 feet obscuring the trail. we had to turn around before we could make it up to the lakes but there were aspen trees lining the path. it would be a pretty early fall hike too.

Monday, March 31, 2014

This trail takes you up a valley to a couple lakes above timberline. It is long and demanding, but colorful in the fall. There are patches of aspens along the stream that are good photo opps.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Nice hike. Love the Sangres!

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