Gibson Lake Trail

MODERATE 91 reviews
#38 of 214 trails in

Gibson Lake Trail is a 7.4 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Jefferson, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 7.4 miles Elevation Gain: 2,060 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

Directions from Bailey: From Bailey drive west on Highway 285 for 14.3 miles. Turn right (north) on to Park County Road 60. This road is also designated as Forest Service Road 120, and commonly called the Hall Valley Road. Travel on 120 6.5 miles to the trailhead. At mile 5 immediately before Hall Valley Campground bear left at the fork in the road. The last 1.4 miles above Hall Valley Campground are very rough, and may be classified a four-wheel drive road.

hiking
rocky
1 day ago

Great trail. Winds up being about 5.2 miles round trip to the lake from the upper lot. Definitely need a high ground clearance vehicle to get to the top lot - it was ok, but sketchy at times in my stock 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Would not attempt at all in a sedan. Overall great experience!

hiking
muddy
rocky
7 days ago

This is a beautiful trail. It not only takes you to a beautiful lake but offers a wide range of scenic views along the way. As others have stated, if you want to park at the upper trail you will need a high clearance vehicle. I parked at upper parking lot. There were lots of spots available no issues getting my lifted jeep to this lot. From the upper lot the trail goes through dense lush foliage then into a boulder section and finally a plush tundra. I was surprised to see still so many wild flowers on the tundra. We had the trail mostly to ourselves going up and saw a bit more coming down. No issues with my vehicle.

hiking
13 days ago

This trail is lovely- crystal clear lake. The low rating is for the car break-in that occurred during the short 3 hours it took us to complete the hike. Be aware of your surroundings and belongings, it was disheartening to complete a beautiful hike only to return to a trashed car. The concern is there’s not much foot traffic and other vehicles were broken into as well. Be careful out there! Also, you absolutely need a 4wd vehicle to access the trailhead!

hiking
bugs
rocky
13 days ago

Beautiful trail but beware of thieves. My boyfriends car was broken into- we believe by a group of 3 guys on 2 different four-wheelers. This occurred on Labor Day between 9 am and 2 pm. We were parked in a parking/ no camping spot before the trailhead. Most of these things can be replaced, but I feel sorry for the people who must be so miserable that they feel the need to ruin other people’s belongings.

hiking
13 days ago

Hike to the lake was gorgeous. You can keep going to Whales Peak for a 10.1 mi round trip with even more stunning views. Trail from Gibson lake to ridge up to Whales Peak is undefined but pretty straight forward.

hiking
15 days ago

Recommend going early. We started hiking at 7:30am and only saw one other person for the first several hours (we spent a couple of hours just relaxing by the lake). When we started back down, we passed about 8 other groups of people. It may have been busier because of Labor Day. Definitely would do this hike again! Good elevation gain. You will definitely feel it after you’re done, but so worth it.

hiking
rocky
21 days ago

hiking
28 days ago

Wildflowers on the trail are beautiful. Hiked on a Saturday morning, light foot traffic on the trail. Need 4 wheel drive to make it all the way to the trailhead. Good hike

hiking
28 days ago

Nice hike through forest. Last mile is exposed with nice views. Decent lake at the end. Very windy today. Parked at the first trailhead but probably could have driven to the second. Would have saved 2 miles.

hiking
muddy
1 month ago

This is a great hike not too far from Denver. Lots of wildflowers. Several waterfalls as well which are running well and sound so beautiful. We only saw one other person on this hike and that was on our way down. As you get closer to the lake there are a few muddy patches and several creek crossings. There are bigger rocks that make the crossings fairly easy but the mud is thick so watch your step.

hiking
1 month ago

Probably one of the better lesser known hikes I’ve found relatively close to Denver. Is a fairly gradual incline the whole way up, with most of it being shaded. The top really opens up and the lake is beautiful. I’ve completed the hike twice in the month of August and think I ran into 8-9 people total. Ran into a moose coming down on Saturday 8/8. Wild flowers were A+. This hike has it all, highly recommend.

hiking
bugs
muddy
1 month ago

One of my favorites out here for average length | if you have a high clearance vehicle you can get to the trail head and cut off a good chunk walking on the road | the last mile to the lake is amazing | awesome views

hiking
bugs
muddy
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Very few people on this trail on a Sunday. A bit of traffic on the pass road until we made the turn off. Missed a turn for the hike and made a small detour. There’s a large creek crossing on the dirt road that marks the start of the trail, and then the trail starts up the dirt road. We drove over the creek and then parked at one of the many campsites when the road got a little more rough. Then started walking. When you see a parking area further up for Gibson Lake and a horse corral is when the trail goes off to the left and you stop hiking on the road. Missed this but didn’t have to detour much. Beautiful day. Very little snow, a bit muddy at the very top of the trail by the lake, and a few bugs. But the lake basin was so beautiful!

hiking
bugs
muddy
2 months ago

Spectacular. Easy hike, great weather. Muddy trail. Still some snow. Lake was clear and cold with lots of run off. Road is rough, 4x4 or hike the extra mile.

hiking
bugs
snow
2 months ago

Great hike. Short and stunning. Went yesterday, and the last mile to the lake is ALL snow. I didn’t have snowshoes, so basically postholed all the way to the lake. If you want to make it to the lake you will need snowshoes- or expect to do what I did- which wasn’t fun. Lake view was worth it and the entire hike along the river is stunning. Probably another month before the trail is all clear.

hiking
muddy
snow
3 months ago

Bring your snowshoes! The trail is nearly covered in snow the entire way up to the lake. Lake is still covered as well. Nice views on a nice day. I would definitely wait another month or even two.

hiking
11 months ago

Beautiful trail with a stream the whole way up. Fall colors are about at their peak. Loved the variety of terrain and scenery plus a nice challenge with some steep areas and decent elevation gain. Only saw 2 groups of people coming down when I was heading up on a Saturday afternoon. Spent 30mins up at the lake with absolutely no one else around. Saw a huge bull moose just about 30ft away on the way down. Will be adding this to my repeat list.

hiking
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Beautiful trail and only saw two other people!

hiking
Monday, August 27, 2018

nice place to hiking

hiking
Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Hiked it on a weekend and was not very crowded. We parked just past the point where the stream crossed the road and the hike was 7.5 miles round trip (from car to the lake and back). Very pretty hike, very challenging. Would recommend it.

walking
Monday, July 23, 2018

It was a beautiful challenge. 9.04 miles in and out on my Fitbit from the 4WD trailhead. My husband and I and three littles 5,3 & 1 year old in hiking backpack, went with a group and had a wonderful day. Beautiful waterfalls, birdsong and gorgeous fields of wildflowers through the whole hike. Was a bit boggy/muddy nearing the lake on the trail. People were fly fishing at the lake. Mild rain coming down on the way back. There was also a little field of wild strawberries that were delicious. It is a longer hike than I have done in the last but none of the trail is very hard not steep. I hope this helps.

backpacking
Friday, July 06, 2018

Took my 11yo niece up here for her first backpacking trip last weekend. Our Subaru Outback didn’t quite have enough clearance to make it to the TH so we found a campsite about 1 mile down from the TH and hiked up the road to the trail. Most of the cars at the TH are trucks and SUVs with big clearance. The hike to the lake is exactly 3 miles from the designated TH. The trail was in good condition and there was a bit of mud up near the lake in the willows. Our night at the lake was fantastic, although super windy! It’s such a beautiful lake. The campsites are few (3-4 total) there’s not a lot of level ground. We used a bear canister for food and a jetboil stove. I was bummed to see what looked like recently burned wood in the fire rings at the lake. Also, saw some abandoned fire rings on the hike out that were still smoking. Put it out people. Drown it in water!

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