Lower and Upper Macey Lakes Via Rainbow Trail

HARD 9 reviews
#43 of 117 trails in

Lower and Upper Macey Lakes Via Rainbow Trail is a 13.1 mile out and back trail located near Westcliffe, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and horses and is best used from June until September. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.

13.1 miles
2,903 feet
Out & Back

dog friendly


horseback riding






wild flowers



A lightly used trail to lakes surrounded by high peaks, with access to Colony Baldy. This hike lacks the steep climbs of most trails in this area, but its length requires being prepared for a long day.

17 days ago

This hike is definitely not one to miss! I wrote a blog post with more details https://wordpress.com/post/www.traillatte.com/259

4 months ago

When I was a kid I helped build that cabin. Loved hanging out up there for a few days at a time during summer.

5 months ago

Awesome hike for an overnight trip. In August, I was able to just keep refilling my 1 liter nalgene along the trail, there is plenty of water. Trail is well marked and the views are stunning the entire way. The trail gets steep just before the lower basin and can gas your legs. There's a neat little abandoned cabin along the trail after breaking off the Rainbow Trail. I hear there is good fishing up there, but I had no luck.

Monday, June 26, 2017

As advertised, a long hike in. The trail is mostly clear to the lower lake, with only a few small patches of snow left (but plenty of mud of course). More snow on the trails to the south and upper lakes, but still quite doable. A beautiful destination.

Monday, August 08, 2016

This is a long hike, so be prepared for that. The lake at the top is absolutely beautiful with only a couple of other campers. We didn't see any bears, but two backpackers we met at the trailhead saw Elk the morning before us. This was my first time backpacking, and while it was definitely difficult, it was a blast and absolutely gorgeous. Bring rain gear as afternoon rains are typical for the area. If you're out there when there isn't a full moon, the stars are incredible. Even if you're exhausted, try to stay up just to see those.

Overall, it's a fantastic hike that's really scenic once you get past the beginning part of the trail.

Monday, August 08, 2016

The description is correct. Be prepared for a very long day, even if you're hiking out there to camp. The area is prone to afternoon storms, so be prepared with a waterproof jacket and poncho! Overall, the views are gorgeous and definitely work the hike out and back. I completed this hike as my first ever time backpacking, and it was a blast. I would definitely also try to go when there isn't a full moon. The stars at night are unlike anything I've ever seen. It gets cool at night so bring a light jacket or long sleeve shirt.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

The hike is just over 7 miles to the lake. The hike starts along the eastern side of the Sangre de Cristo on the Rainbow trail. This part of the hike is well covered in trees. We did come across a smaller brown bear but we were making enough noise that we only caught a glimpse when they looked back. We didn't have any more encounters nor did our bear canister. The hike on the Macey Lake trail can be a difficult on the way down due to the amount of rocks on the trail. We did have to deal with some mosquitos but nothing like the Gore range. The bugs were more numerous this year than in the past but they are at acceptable levels. Jenny hates bugs and she was comfortable.

With that out of the way, this hike is fantastic. Its long enough that it makes it worth while to camp over night but you can do it in a day. Our round trip time was 10ish hours and thats with ample stops for sight seeing, food, and water. The lake is gorgeous. Baldy ridge hugs the western side of the lake and its beautiful in the morning. The lake has catch and release fish and plenty of camping spots.

Do not miss this hike.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Wednesday, June 29, 2016