Gilpin Lake Trail is a 9 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Clark, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until September. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 9.0 miles Elevation Gain: 2,020 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dog friendly

fishing

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

running

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

The road leading to this trailhead is closed due to COVID. You will have to bike from the gate to the trailhead which is reported as a 6.5 mile ride.

hiking
11 days ago

Road to trailhead is closed for COVID restrictions - we tried to hike today but the gates are closed ~6.5 miles from the actual start of the hike. Seemed like people were mountain biking beyond the closed gates, but we weren’t able to reach the trailhead on foot. Will hopefully return soon!

hiking
7 months ago

Hard hike but worth the effort. We didn’t see any wildlife unfortunately. The lake is very scenic. We did the out and back and the mileage was 9.6 on my Garmin.

hiking
7 months ago

Hiked this on 9/28/19. There were a lot of cars at the trailhead but it made us more comfortable having people around given the bear spotting others reported. The distance and elevation were as reported and the incline was steady. This is a really nice scenic hike with a lot of great fall colors. I’m not the most confident at water crossings but was able to easily make it across the (many!) crossings on this trail. Would definitely do again and maybe on a warmer day when a dip in the alpine lake would be refreshing.

hiking
8 months ago

Did this as first part of the loop. Wasn’t expecting to loop but the day was so beautiful! An 8:30 start and then a little over 2 hrs to Gilpin Lake. Picture taking and inhaling the amazing beauty of this place for 45 minutes. Then over the pass, down and around to Gold Creek Lake and back. 4:14 moving, 5 hr total. I’d do counter clockwise next time, as most recommend. No snow anywhere, dry trail except right above TH to sign in box. Flowers everywhere. Berries everywhere. Glad I was wearing my bear bell. About 2 miles in from trailhead a dark shadow moved off the trail about 50’ ahead. A large bear. A berry patch about 10’ off trail then captured his attention. I diverted off the other side of trail and went around. He noticed but was too busy with a pre-hibernation stuffing to do anything but eat. The climb up over the pass from Gilpin Lake is nice and pretty easy w more terrific views of the lake. Even if not doing the loop, I’d recommend going to top of pass. The other side of the loop, back through Gold Creek, has some beautiful spots. But, all in all, it’s not near as beautiful as the Gilpin Lake side.

hiking
9 months ago

Beautiful hike to crystal clear lake. Saw a bear.

hiking
9 months ago

Hiked Gilpin lake instead of the whole loop as we had a late start. This is a highly recommended trail the views up the valley and the wildflowers were superb Bugs weren't too bad trail was nice and dry 4 hours 50 mins car to lake and back

hiking
10 months ago

My son and I, and my two big pups, hiked to Gilpin Lake on July 17th. Trail is easy to moderate, and well suited I think for most hiking skill/fitness levels. No snow on the trail until, I'd say around 2.5/3 miles in and then a little more snow close to the lake, but nothing to worry about. In fact, having the snow field around the lake is helping to keep the bugs at bay for now. Lake still had some ice sheets floating on top. This trail offers beautiful views as you hike up to the lake. Big Agnes towers above you as you move up trail and Gilpin Creek runs along side the trail most of the way, and as of July 17th, was still moving fast. There are some creek crossings you have to make, but we had no problem. There is one crossing, the last before you get to the lake, that requires water shoes to cross and is thigh deep. This crossing would not be safe for small children or small dogs. The crossing is not wide, maybe only 5-6 steps across, but water was moving pretty fast, so take care in crossing. My dogs are both 100lbs and good water dogs so they had no trouble making their way across. Once we got to the lake, it was a perfect spot for lunch and relaxation. There was one other hiker there who was a local and he talked to us about hiking up over the pass and doing the loop over and down to Gold Creek Lake. There is snow on the switch backs that take you up and over the pass, and he recommened we not try it. Our goal was to hike the loop if possible, but we didn't feel we had the proper gear with us to attempt climbing up to the pass. We also didn't know what we might encounter on the other side, so decided to play it safe and make the hike an out and back. I loved this hike! Highly recommend. Enjoy and stay safe.

hiking
10 months ago

Attempted to do this hike on 06jul2019 but there is a large water crossing about 1.5 miles in that we were unable to cross with 3 large dogs (there was a fallen tree that you can walk across but with the water being so high right now it was pretty dangerous with the animals) If you have smaller dogs that you can carry then you’ll be fine!

hiking
Mon Nov 19 2018

Did a 10 mi. loop that included other lakes. Wild flowers in late July & spectacular views of other peaks could not be better.

hiking
Wed Oct 31 2018

My experience was very much like the review of Anna Borg. I hiked the trail on October 30, 2018. Didn't see anyone else out on the trail. Incredible scenery and a great payoff at the end. The lower part of the trail was a little wet and muddy in a few spots, and the last mile or so was covered in snow and ice, but easily passable.

hiking
Sun Oct 28 2018

Did this trail today, 10/27/18, from the slavonia trailhead and loved it! The scenery takes you through tons of aspens (which are still gorgeous bare, but the leaves are gone now), rocky landscapes, lots of river crossings, and WOW that scenery! The last mile up/down to the lake from the largest river crossing is currently icy snow pack mixed with some rocky/muddy terrain, which made our trip take a bit longer and took more energy. Clocked 9.28 miles and 2000+ elevation gain as a heads up as well.

Fri Sep 21 2018

Tough but soooooo worth it!!!

hiking
Wed Sep 19 2018

Great trail minus the horse poo... Lots of elk hunters out currently. Only saw 2 deer on the trail. Lake is gorgeous. Hike the entire loop if possible. I believe the AllTrails mileage is off though. Our gps tracker said 5 miles to the lake from the Gilpin trail.

hiking
Mon Sep 10 2018

The leaves are starting to turn on the way up. The water color of the lake is as blue as Maroon Bells! Beautiful turquoise! Chilly water temp. Will do the full circle next time.

hiking
Sat Sep 08 2018

Very nice hike Beautiful views The lake is also beautiful The way in is a steady gradual climb with only a few switchbacks The first half is shady Would be a nice trail run for advanced runners

hiking
Tue Sep 04 2018

My boyfriend and I were originally planning on hiking Mad Creek Trail yesterday, but realized that we had already hiked that several years ago. We decided to hike something different so continued to drive towards Steamboat Lake. We ended up finding Slavonia Trailhead, and decided that would hike a few hours and then turn around thinking that Gilpin Lake was actually 6 miles one way. Fortunately, another hiker told us that Gilpin Lake was only 4 miles one way, so we charged on. It was well worth it. Crystal clear lake and not too many people at the actual lake. We were sluggish that day, but it took us 4 hours round trip. Not too mention, the best part was that we saw a bear and her cub driving back from the trail towards Steamboat. :)

backpacking
Mon Sep 03 2018

Prime time right now. Just go, you won't regret it. Spectacular views once you get about 2-3 miles in heading toward Gilpin Lake via Clockwise hike. Did one night, would have loved to have done 2. So much to explore and do including jumping into the lake!

Mon Aug 20 2018

Spectacular!

hiking
Mon Aug 20 2018

This hike was not strenuous but it was fun and it did get my heart going when I kicked up the pace. I have to admit- it’s hard to keep pace with the endless beauty this hike brings. I was mesmerized by the wildflowers, trees, mountains, and wildlife all around. The lake at the top was peaceful and I saw a moose and all sorts of smaller creatures all along the way. It took me about 5 hours up and back- but I stopped many times to take it in and get photos. I highly suggest going in the afternoon- there is more wildlife and less people! Enjoy!

hiking
Sat Aug 11 2018

Hiked this trail with my wife August 2018. Loved it! Got a late start, many people on the trail, many dogs unleashed, but no rowdy dog issues. Beautiful country, moderate difficulty, the lake is beautiful. On the descent, within a mile or so of the trail head, we ran into a bear on the side of the trail feasting on some of the shrubbery and plants. Even though the bear was only 20 feet away from the trail, he never paid us any attention. We were able to sneak by him without any problems, that certainly made for a more exciting hike! We highly recommend this trail.

hiking
Thu Aug 09 2018

Did this hike for the third time this year. Beautiful every time! Did this on a Monday morning, on the trail by 9, and only saw 6-7 other hikers. No wildlife, perfect weather. A bit hazy toward the West with the wildfires.

hiking
Sun Aug 05 2018

Incredible views. Trail was gorgeous, well marked.

hiking
Wed Jul 25 2018

Steady incline to the lake. Parts of trail are narrow and wet through vegetation. Saw three snakes. Partial shade was nice on the warm day. The lake was an incredible blue, almost fluorescent. We worked our way around most of it and the views kept changing. Intended to take the upper saddleback on return through Gold Creek but storms rolled in. The very minute we got in the car it started hailing really hard. Glad we didn’t have to shelter along the trail. Only two dogs on trail. Both unleashed and unruly. One charged to us barking like it would bite.

Sun Jul 22 2018

It was 11 miles, not 8ish. Wish I packed more water. Wild flowers are out (late July) and views are great. It was hard to find parking on Saturday, so get there early. I made the mistake of getting there too late and caught the afternoon rain.

Tue Jul 17 2018

Great hike and the lake is so beautiful!

Tue Jun 19 2018

One of the most beautiful trails I’ve ever hiked.

hiking
Mon Jun 04 2018

Did this hike June 1st. Very manageable incline the whole way and pretty much next to the river the whole time. It was still trying to get it’s green on, but it’s getting there! Trail was mostly dry and snow free until the very last section to the lake. There was no way to find a trail, but the snow was packed enough that we made our own trail over the ridge and found the lake. Most hikers were turning around though. The lake was partially snow covered and trees were bare around it. Pretty hike but definitely more of a late June/July hike.

Thu Sep 14 2017

Beautiful trail with many streams and varied terrain. One of the best in the Zirkle Wildernesses

hiking
Mon Aug 21 2017

Wow! Trail was not too bad. Got steep about the last mile as you are nearing Gilpin Lake.

hiking
Sun Aug 20 2017

long but awesome. saw a grizzly so bring blow horn or pistol. bring lunch. jumped into the snow melt lake and lasted 5 seconds but refreshing.

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