Gilpin Lake Trail

MODERATE 79 reviews

Gilpin Lake Trail is a 8.5 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Clark, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, trail running, fishing, and fly fishing and is best used from June until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

8.5 miles
1,991 feet
Out & Back

dog friendly



trail running



wild flowers

Directions from Steamboat Springs: Take HWY 40 west of town and turn right on to County Road 129. Travel north about 18 miles to the Seedhouse Road (Forest Road 400; also County Road 64) and turn right. Continue for about 10 miles to parking.

5 days ago

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.

9 days ago

Incredible views. Trail was gorgeous, well marked.

20 days ago

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. The owner was so shocked and indignant that this pissed us off. I’ll take bear spray for this from now on. Hey, not everybody loves your dog.

23 days ago

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.

28 days ago

Great hike and the lake is so beautiful!

1 month ago

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

2 months ago

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.

10 months ago

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

11 months ago

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

11 months ago

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.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

I hiked from the Slavonia trailhead to Gilpin Lake and back. It was 10.5 miles roundtrip. Took about 4.5 hours hiking plus 1.5 hour relaxing at the lake. Pretty highly trafficked. When you get to the fork just past the trailhead, go left (counterclockwise) to head towards Gilpin Lake. The first 4 miles up were easy, the last 1.25 pretty strenuous (more difficult due to altitude). Be sure to drink and bring ample water and snacks! Absolutely STUNNING hike! Crossing streams, meadows with wildflowers and aspen groves! My favorite hike all time!!

If you get the chance - swim in the lake! Such an amazing experience. Cold but so refreshing for the hike back down! This is a MUST DO in steamboat!

Monday, July 24, 2017

For a group of flatlanders (MN) this was a tough hike. Altitude played a bit of an issue. There are some streams you will have to cross, so be prepared to possibly get wet.

Also, the last 1/2 mile is the steepest.

Good time, but I clocked more like 9.5, so plan accordingly

Monday, July 24, 2017

The loop going counter clockwise had some amazing views! Swam in both Gilpin Lake and Gold Creek Lake. Camped in this gorgeous valley. Plenty of water the whole way.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Started hiking from Slavonia trailhead with lots of beautiful wildflowers along the path to start out. All the vegetation was super lush and green throughout. Too many stream crossings to count in all and easily crossable with the exception of the Gilpin Creek crossing. Water was too wide to cross so we had to take off boots and socks and wade across the freeeeezing cold water but the current was manageable. The incline up to Gilpin lake was easy the whole way. There was a bit of snow remaining just before Gilpin Lake but easy to get through. Gilpin Lake itself is magical and we had the place entirely to ourselves. You're following alongside the rushing waters pretty much the whole time up and back down to the lush vegetation and wildflowers. Wonderful amazing hike!! One of the best we've done in Colorado for sure! Wubalubadubdub!!

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Hiked July 5. Of all trails in Seedhouse area, Gilpin was our favorite. Gorgeous hike! Not many hikers that day, several relatively easy creek crossings, one more difficult, but very doable, creek crossing 1 mile from lake. We crossed barefooted, and yes, water was cold but bearable. Last mile was very wet and muddy, last 100 yards or so was uphill in a couple feet of soft snow, lake was 90% melted, Worth the 10 mile round trip hike. Didn't see any bears, mountain lions or moose. Lots of chipmunks and columbines. Our favorite hike in the Steamboat area.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Went on Monday, July 3rd. trail head was crowded but we found a decent spot. The first 1.5-2 miles of the trail are amazing! Wildflowers everywhere. After the big blow down area and burn area the trails gets more and more wet. About .5 miles from the lake is stream crossing that was up to my upper thighs and well since it's snow melt, ice cold. I made it across find but my wife who is under 150lbs was having a hard time with the current. I would be EXTREMELY careful with this crossing with kids or dogs, the water is in the 40s and fast moving. The rest of the trail after that is a giant mud mess and the last 200ft is 4-5ft of snow. The pass to do the Zirkel circle is not passable unless you have the right equipment.

Monday, June 26, 2017

only made it 2 miles because I was nervous about my dog crossing a rapid with only a tree bridge. We saw a mother moose and baby in the pond about 1.5 miles up the Gilpin lake trail

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Made it 4 miles to gold creek which was too high to cross. I ended up wading across the creek, which was a loss since the trail was covered up by snow the rest of the way to gilpin lake (1/2 mile left). I ran into park rangers who said the snow generally lasts until mid-July, so would recommend doing this hike later in the summer!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Beautiful trail with a moderate grade all the way. Wildflowers are beginning to come out and views are wonderful. A lot of trees across the trail right now but we met some Forest Service volunteers who were making a survey, so maybe the tress will be gone soon. We got in about 4.5 miles and had to stop at a stream we couldn't cross. A woman we met waded across (probably not a very good idea considering how swift the current was ) but the snow was so deep on the other side that she couldn't continue. Look forward to doing this again later in the season.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

We went on June 20 and were not able to make it all the way to the lake. About 2 miles in, enough snow had melted to make the stream impassable with our dog. We saw several people who were on their way back after making the crossing who said they made it to ~.3 mile from he lake but couldn't ever find it due to losing the trail in the snow.

Still a beautiful hike! We ended up taking the fork left about 1.5 miles in to go to Mica Basin instead. Beautiful views!

I would imagine you'd be able to reach Gilpin Lake with no problem in maybe a couple weeks.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Beautiful hike, left from Salvonia TH and went right onto Gold Creek Lake. You can hike the whole loop and make it to Gilpin Lake. Perfect weather right now.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Such a beautiful trail! It snowed just a few weeks ago so we were not able to make it all the way to the lake...sounds gorgeous though. Also, 2 people in the last 2 days had seen bears so beware of your surroundings! Highly recommended.

Monday, May 29, 2017

It was beautiful! we went on September, loved walking through the aspen trees,moderate level, Definitely recommend it!

Friday, April 07, 2017

One of the best hikes in the area

Friday, March 10, 2017

One of the best in North Routt!

Monday, December 26, 2016

A wonderful and moderate level hike with breathtaking views at every switchback and turn. Gilpin Lake is quite the treasure. We will definitely hike this trail again.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Beautiful early September hike!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

This trail was incredible! The wild flowers and aspen trees made the journey even more enjoyable. There were also babbling brooks at every turn! During our 11mile loop we saw two lakes and climbed close to 12,000ft. It was a gradual climb and worth every second! I highly recommend this trail!

Friday, August 26, 2016

It was beautiful! Great views of the river, pretty wild flowers along the way, loved walking through the Aspen trees. The lake was gorgeous. Would have like to stay longer but rain/snow storm came. Definitely recommend it!

trail running
Sunday, August 21, 2016

I started the hike from the Slavonia Trailhead and took the Gilpin Trail up to the lake, it was absolutely beautiful and well marked. Once I got to Gilpin Lake I followed the trail around the lake and went over the pass that took me down to Gold Creek Lake trail. I followed the Gold Creek Trail back to the Slavonia TH which added a few miles to the trip, totaling just around 11. I would highly recommend doing the loop rather than out and back. Getting both lakes in one trip was well worth the extra effort.

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