Highland Mary Lake Trail

MODERATE 45 reviews
#7 of 98 trails in

Highland Mary Lake Trail is a 4.9 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Silverton, 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 are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
4.9 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,430 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

kid friendly

backpacking

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

lake

river

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

Highland Mary Lakes is a series of high altitude lakes, tarns and awesome views. You can catch the Continental Divide trail from above the lakes, consider a day hike up and back or an overnight, but don't camp on the lake, instead camp a bit away from the edges of the lakes for minimal impact.

hiking
1 day ago

This is one of the prettiest areas in Colorado. Getting all the way to the lake is only possible for a few months during the summer, but still worth the hike even if you get stopped by snow near the top (as I did in May). Be prepared to encounter some gorgeous waterfalls and mountain panoramic views on your way up.

Did this hike on Saturday! Very beautiful. You should Plan to go early as we headed up around 11:30 and got caught in the monsoon rains. We were prepared with rain gear, and continued. The lakes were beautiful. I would say this hike is challenging but not hard. Coming back down was quite slippery and steep. I would suggest walking sticks if you have knee issues. They helped me greatly coming back down. We did not make it to verde lake which is just past the highland Mary lakes, as it was 4 and we were worried about getting back down before more storms.

24 days ago

Amazing walk up hi.... got off track a few times and never made t to the lake due to rain storms yet it was beautiful and. Hike we will want to do again!!

hiking
1 month ago

Amazing birthday hike. At the beginning parked in parking lot across river so had to wade to get to the trailhead. Not a moderate hike due to technical area thru boulders.. Invigorating swim at the lake!

hiking
1 month ago

Good hike. Probably a bit spoiled by other hikes in the area. Not as spectacular as Ice Lakes, for example, but still pretty scenic. Nice waterfalls & lakes.

1 month ago

Beautiful sweeping views. The lake is great for fishing and camping. I might rate this a bit harder than moderate especially if you are carrying an overnight backpack. The first lake looks like an infinity pool from heaven. BE WARNED: the road to the trailhead is very rocky and uneven, not for the faint of heart. 4WD and/or SUV is highly recommended although I saw a few sedans that made it up somehow.

hiking
1 month ago

Be forewarned that the road to this trail is not paved for sometime if you are coming from Silverton; maybe 30 minutes plus going 5-15 mph over rocky terrain. As you approach the trail head there is a small parking area at the bottom about .5 miles from the head, this is where we parked because the road up to the trail head seemed a bit tough. If you have a proper suv or awd lifted car, it should be fine, if not, it might be a tough climb up for an inexperienced driver. Weather conditions were constantly changing in late July as well, with 10 degree temp swings with rain/thunder. Beautiful hike.

hiking
2 months ago

Hiked to the first three lakes. Gorgeous scenery. The weather was a little iffy on the hike because the monsoon season hit, thankful for it as the fire danger was high in the area. People were fishing. Camping along the trail. Every view was amazing.

hiking
2 months ago

The drive and scenery to the trailhead is just as good as the hike. A lot of waterfalls off the sides of the mountains. We started the hike and stayed on the trail for the most part, until we arrived at the rock slide area. We saw the trail on the other side, but had no way to get to the trail. We ended up rock hopping over to the trail. Made it to Lake Mary and the dogs swam for a bit. Found another way around the rock slide area and made it out of there. It is a very scenic hike with the stream. The higher you go, the better the scenery is. Highly recommended. Lots of loose rocks on trail, first hike I did with new boots. Tripped a few times or maybe just getting too old. Yeah, it was the boots.

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike with amazing views of several waterfalls. Pretty strenuous as it was a steady incline almost the entire way.

hiking
2 months ago

Awesome hike and perfect weather. Multiple waterfalls along the way. Great views the entire way up.

hiking
3 months ago

Great hike in an awesome spot in the San Juan Mountains. Still wet and snowy for the last half mile to the top.

hiking
6 months ago

My first real hike in the San Juans. Gorgeous.

hiking
Wednesday, September 13, 2017

This was a gorgeous hike with a waterfall/ creek the whole way up (great for pups) & beautiful lakes at the top. I'm giving it 4 stars because it wasn't well-marked the whole trail. I came across 3 groups of people who made the same wrong turn as me so I feel it's worth noting here so future hikers don't do the same.
Here is how you stay on the trail: about a mile up there is a wooden sign with an arrow indicating to cross a creek. Follow that arrow and after you cross the creek, very soon after there will be a fork in the trail. Right is a rocky path going up that looks like a dry creek bed. Left is a grassy path that will quickly lead you through dense bushes. Take a RIGHT! This path is a bit steep & will take you the correct way to the lakes. If you end up in dense bushes on the left of the creek, you've gone the wrong way.
Also, near the top you have to pass the creek again (very shallow, no big deal) to get to the area with the lakes. There is a false path taking you to the higher peak on the right. Beautiful views, but not the lakes you came for.
Overall, this hike is beautiful, steep in parts but a smooth trail & worth it. My dogs loved it too! I'd do it again for sure!

camping
Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The hike was pretty difficult for us flat landers from Texas but we made it. We camped at the lake and it got down in the mid twenties. Our tent was frosted over in the morning. Beautiful views and great fishing in the lake. I wasn't able to make it to Verde lake. The description says lightly trafficked but there was a group of day-hikers every 300 feet or so. Talked to forest service while at the lakes, she said that this was one of the most trafficked day hiking trails around.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Love this Trail. One of the shorter ones in the area but still a good climb up. So be prepared. Best hiked in late summer.

hiking
Friday, July 07, 2017

Beautiful hike. Loved the waterfalls and wild flowers. Nice moderate hike. Directions to trail head are not very clear.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Couple snowfields to cross, but nothing sketchy. Lakes are open:)

hiking
Saturday, February 25, 2017

I would have given it a 5 star if I would have made it to the lake. The trail, although fairly well marked, got confusing and instead of heading to the lake I made my way back into some pretty thick brush and mud. Took about 30 minutes longer and had to run down because of the storm coming. I will definitely do this earlier in the day and now know the location of the lake. The waterfalls are absolutely stunning on this hike and made it worth it for me...my dog loved the river too, there were several places she could hop in along the way. I would definitely call this an easy to moderate trail, a little muddy on the creek bed so your feet will get wet in the wrong shoes.

hiking
Sunday, October 02, 2016

Way harder than other "moderate" hikes we've done but it was a great hike!

hiking
Sunday, September 11, 2016

Great hike that follows a creek to the lakes. Small amount of bouldering. Took us about 3 hours.

hiking
Thursday, August 11, 2016

nice climb

Recommended

hiking
Sunday, July 03, 2016

Nice climb , easy going. Loved the views from the top!

hiking
Friday, July 31, 2015

Its ranked #9, but i don't know way. This hike is amazing and it can easily be made into a loop by combining the CDT. Similar to Ice Lakes hike minus the big crowds.

hiking
Sunday, March 17, 2013

Beautiful high alpine loop hike. Magnificent scenery all around. Trails are are elevation but not difficult to negotiate. Route finding is relatively straightforward. Saw very few people but it was low season.

Lots to explore if you've got the time.

Ed

hiking
Thursday, July 12, 2012

For years I heard that Highland Mary Lakes was beautiful, but crowded. I backpacked in the area for 5 days and saw very few people except for day hikers along the Continental Divide trail. The landscape was awesome, as were the summer monsoons. The views are great and with wildflowers were prolific.

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