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Emerald Lake is a 1.7 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Crested Butte, Colorado and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking and walking and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 1.7 mi Elevation gain 49 ft Route type Out & Back
Dogs on leash Hiking Paddle sports Walking Lake
Waypoints (0)
Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (25)
Photos (16)
Recordings (18)
Completed (66)
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Cait Fake
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarAugust 31, 2020
Hiking

Not really worth the views... drive to the lake was atrocious, there were multiple parts on the curvy, one way, gravel and rocky “roads” where there is no visibility to the other side. Really easy for a head on collision to happen, really dangerous. As for the lake, it’s a nice color but the surrounding mountains are not much to see other than gravel from snow run off. Also not much of a hike at all. Disappointed :(

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Caleb Gutierrez
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 24, 2020
HikingRocky

Beautiful views on the drive up and once you reach the lake, well worth the trip. There are only 2-3 spots on the drive where a higher clearance vehicle would be advantageous. We had a 2WD Rogue rental. It gets really rocky at right about 2 miles from the lake for example, but the majority of this drive is fine. An SUV would be better than a sedan simply because the ride would probably be a bit smoother and not feel like a wooden roller coaster. We had someone who was heading back into town from the lake pass by in a Prius so your mileage may vary. There are a couple sketchy spots over the last half mile due to the road being narrow. If you don’t want to deal with this or if it makes you anxious, there are a couple of parking options on the way up. One of which I think is less than a mile from the lake, but would probably fit one or two cars max so it may be taken.

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Craig Davis
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 11, 2020
HikingGreat!

Traveled on August 11, 2020. We drove about 1 hour from Crested Butte to reach the lake. We drove a Ford F-250 4x4 and the road was challenging but definitely passable. Be aware of passing traffic as the road is dirt/gravel/rocky and narrow. Views along the way were awesome. The lake is definitely emerald green and a great place to spend a couple of hours relaxing. Worth the drive.

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Amy Bennett
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarAugust 4, 2020
Hiking

It's an OK alpine lake. The setting is only so-so. At this time the flowers have mostly bloomed. The surrounding hills are mostly rocky with little foliage. There is a canoe that is available for anyone to use, so that's nice. The drive to the lake was amazing! We didn't think it was at all difficult in our 2013 Honda CRV. In fact, because of all the hoopla about the road, we we went past it thinking we hadn't gotten there yet because the road wasn't bad yet. Actually, we drove all the way down to Scofield where there is a warning sign about high clearance 4WD vehicles. Now that's where we had to stop. But the great thing about that was an amazing trail leading back to some fantastic waterfalls! Upon our return we turned on the road to Paradise Valley which also did get very bad. All in all it was a great drive!

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Erica Jane
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 11, 2020
Hiking

Lake is beautiful. The actual trail takes maybe 20 minutes RT.

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Emily M
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 6, 2020
Hiking

Beautiful lake and wildflowers right now! We parked about a half mile away from the trailhead and walked the rest of the way. The road gets bumpy, but it is certainly passable.

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Emma Cumming
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HikingMuddyOff trailRockySnow

Stunning drive up to this lake. However there is a certain pullout about .6 miles from the lake where it is quite difficult to drive any further. It is certainly doable, but be careful not to get stuck. There are steep drop offs past this point and narrow roads. We made it past the lake in a Toyota Tundra, but were eventually stopped by snow on the pass. Emerald lake is beautiful and is completely melted.

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Sara Corkill
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 8, 2019
Hiking

Could drive in any vehicle past Emerald Lake. October 5-6, 2019. Dirt road was bare and dry. Turned around just past the lake. The road is a narrow lane with steep cliffs, precarious if you were to meet another vehicle. Beautiful!

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Mary Kolb
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Hiking
First to Review

Had to hike last quarter mile due to snow on the road. There was a canoe with oars and we took a spin around the lake!

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Jessie Hazen
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HikingMuddyRockyScrambleSnow
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Troy Krumland
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Hiking
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Christa Welch
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Hiking
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Sue n Chad Colorado Springs
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Hiking
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Stefan Szabo
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Hiking
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Kristi Hughes
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Hiking
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Tracie Wise
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Hiking
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Logan P
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Hiking
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Sam Samantha Spence
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Hiking
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Robert Shumway
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Hiking
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Dave Marshall
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Hiking
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Greg Rexing
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Hiking
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Louis Szasz
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Off Road Driving
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Larry Burton
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Hiking
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Tamineh Gueramy
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Hiking
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