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Navajo Lake Trail is a 9.1 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Dolores, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as moderate. 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.

Length 9.1 mi Elevation gain 2,467 ft Route type Out & Back

Dog friendly

Hiking

Horseback riding

Forest

Lake

River

Views

Waterfall

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Rocky

Waypoints (0)
Contact
Getting There

Colorado Tourism Office, 1625 Broadway, Suite 1700 , Denver, CO, 80202, Phone: 800-COLORADO

Directions from Dunton, Colorado: Travel north on Forest Service Road #535. The trail begins approximately 1.5 miles north of Burro Bridge.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (67)
Photos (86)
Recordings (39)
Completed (121)
Ed Sandstrom
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 8, 2020
Hiking

Great hike today. Perfect weather. Absolutely no bugs on the trail or at the lake - which was a bit of a surprise. The switchbacks before arriving at the lake are pretty tough and definitely require effort.

Alecia Engelmann
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 7, 2020
Hiking

Fun hike. Distance is more like 4.8 miles one way to the lake. Trail starts off pretty easy but the switchbacks that start after mile 3 are intense, especially with the elevation. We backpacked in and stayed the night of July 3. There seemed to be plenty of spots available for overnighting. Lake is ice cold, surrounded by scree fields, very beautiful area at the edge of the tree line.

Jessica Hoffman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 29, 2020
Hiking

Beautiful hike. Stunning from beginning to end. Stayed overnight late June. Very busy trail but there’s enough room at the lake for everyone to enjoy. Grateful for trekking poles on the way back down.

Taylor Marsell
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 23, 2020

Trail completed on 6/21/20. No snow, some fallen trees on trail but pretty easy to maneuver around/over. The trail is fairly easy until you hit the switchbacks. It does start to level out after the switchbacks once you get closer to the lake. Tons of gnats at the lake and it was pretty windy, but soo beautiful!

Geri Rosenberg
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 22, 2020
Hiking

Did this as a loop starting at the Kilpacker trailhead. Some downed trees but generally clear ways to pass them. The views were fantastic but the steeper climbs were tough! The lake was glorious but bring a bug net or bug spray if you plan to stick around because the gnats will swarm. No bug issues anywhere else but immediately at the lake. We weren’t up for a 14er challenge on this trip but we enjoyed admiring it from down below.

Kenneth Cason
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 21, 2020
Hiking

Switchbacks are FUN!!

View Kenneth's Recording
Haley Bock
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 12, 2020
Hiking

Nice trail! Did this on 6/3 with pretty good weather for most of it. Definitely gain more elevation closer to the top before dropping down into the lake. Nice views of Wilson and surrounding wilderness.

Ashley Hale
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 19, 2020
BackpackingSnow

Last section is straight up. Literally. The dog even took breaks hahaha hiked it last year in July. Wondering what is melted up there now ...

Oliver Florica
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 10, 2019
Hiking

We are from Australia and not used to climbing high altitudes. Loved the hike and camped at the lake and snowed overnight and enjoyed a winter scenery. The hike is mostly easy but more like 9 km each way and there is half a kilometre hard climb which after walking with heavy packs took our stamina. The last kilometre is easy and there is a cave near the end. It was a great hike

View Oliver's Recording
Anita Reeb
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 24, 2019
Hiking

Beautiful trail, fall colors starting. Nice mix of forest and meadows. Last mile or so before arriving at lake is steep, switchbacks are significant. Avalanche area easy to navigate thru. Very nice long day hike. I recorded 9.6 total miles. Several creeks for doggie water.

View Anita's Recording
CA Begay
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 14, 2019
Hiking

LOST on 09/14/2019: Gold Pendant with children's picture in it. Fell into the rocks along the shoreline, a little to the left of the trail entrance to the lake. If found, please send back to me at POB 400 TNP AZ 86514. Sentimental Value. Thank you. Otherwise the trail was beautiful. Seemed longer than 9.1 miles and definitely not moderate for me. But made it up and down. Excellent trail.

Kirsten Chesney
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 31, 2019
BackpackingBugs

Beautiful hike from Lizardhead parking lot. This trail also gives access to the Kilpacker Trail. I hiked this on Labor Day weekend carrying backpacking packs. We hiked to Navajo Lake to camp, but the trail can easily be done out-and-back in one day. Meadows, trees, wildflowers, the sound of nearby waterfalls, and the occasional marmot make this trail a must-do for semi-experienced hikers. There are steep switchbacks about 2 miles in, and the sandy footing can be a problem if you're carrying heavy packs. Other than that, I highly recommend this trail, whether as an out-and-back, or as part of a more intense peak-bagging experience on the nearby 14ers! Navajo Lake is a pristine place to tent camp. You will be joined by several other campers, but with the large wooded areas interspersed with the sound of the rushing creek, you almost don't even realize you're sharing the place! We had neighbors but with the foliage could not even tell they were there unless we looked. Overall a great trail for a backpacking/tenting weekend or just a day trip. We did bring a dog and saw several other dogs at Navajo Lake, so this is a popular hike for them too!

Jerry Sam
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 25, 2019
HikingBugsNo shade

Second time I’ve done this hike. The first time was like 3 years ago. The first time I did the hike it seemed like it took forever to get there but this time it felt shorter. Super hot, start early and bring plenty of water and it’s longer than what AllTrails says.

Scott Poston
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 24, 2019
Hiking

I started this hike at Kilpacker TH, not Navajo, which added some time and distance to the trek. The forecast called for clear skies so I started at noon and made it to Navajo Lake at about 3.30 or so. I think my later departure minimized the bugs I’d normally encounter had I left earlier. The hike is relatively easy, particularly the Kilpacker section. Navajo Trail only becomes arduous near the end, for a half mile section, maybe more. It’s a lovely journey.

View Scott's Recording
Carolyn Condreay
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 3, 2019
Hiking

Beautiful views, relatively easy till the incline about the last mile. Wildflowers everywhere, very few other people on the trail on a Friday. One avalanche debris field still with snow easy to cross. The lake is stunning!

Gayle Mabery
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 2, 2019
Hiking

Breathtaking scenery throughout. We hiked at the beginning of August and the wildflowers were unbelievable! Several miles of hiking through thick meadows. We wished we had been wearing gators as we started first thing in the morning after a hard rain the night before. It was very wet! Our App said a total of 10.6 miles, The first mile had only 256 elevation gain, and it continued to build from there. Miles 4 and 5 combined for over 1,000 ft gain (part of which felt like straight up on a shale portion of the trail). We took it slow and steady and was definitely worthwhile. After we passed the sign showing 3/4 mile to Navajo Lake, it was an easy downhill then flat descent to the lake. Fisherman were catching cutthroats at the lake! A total of 14 people in 5 groups were at the lake when we arrived. We only passed a few more on the way down. Definitely not heavily travelled on a Friday. We took bug spray and used it. There are also long stretches through the meadows without shade. Sunscreen, hats and water are a must. Would recommend an early start in the morning.

Charles Mead
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 2, 2019
BackpackingBugs

Hiked at the end of July after a very snowy winter. This hike has made my top 3. The first half is a breeze and breathtakingly beautiful, the switchbacks up to the basin were burly and also breathtaking but well rewarded by the Navajo Basin. The rain in the San Juans that week made everything so lush that it felt like being in Alaska as much as Colorado. The bugs helped with that effect as well.

Kelly West
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 1, 2019
Hiking

This was an amazing adventure. The trail was good, the scenery was magnificent, but this isn't a trail for the faint of heart. The last mile and a half is steep. It is totally worth the climb, though.

Della T
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 24, 2019
HikingMuddySnowWashed out

Hiked on 7/4– beautiful from beginning to end but definitely challenging. Majority of hike is relatively flat through an alpine meadow, and last 2 miles are brutal switchbacks straight uphill. Recent avalanche damage in the last two miles also meant scrambling through the snow and guesstimating where the trail was. As a heads up, out & back we recorded a 12.5 mile hike versus a 9 mile one.

DanyellandAndy Lahmann
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 17, 2019
Hiking

Great hike! Accurate info on the app, trail well maintained, avalanche area you walk over, beautiful & amazing lake at the top!!

Amy Sheneman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 10, 2019
Hiking

Great full day challenging hike. This trail is definitely not highly trafficked. We started at around 9am and were the first up the trail that day. We saw about 15 other hikers in our way down. The trail is a steady incline most of the way with some challenging steep switchbacks as you get close to the lake. There is also an avalanche area with snow that you need to get across so proper hiking shoes and poles are a good idea. The lake is beautiful and the entire hike is worth the effort.

DJ Sheline
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 5, 2019
Hiking

Gorgeous scenery on a trail that takes you through meadows, forests, steep uphills, switchbacks, and the last half mile (on July 3) through snowfields from avy falls to splendid Navajo Lake. One of my top 25.

Colin Tomkins-Bergh
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 20, 2018

favorite lake hike in Colorado

Sara M
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 18, 2018
Hiking

Beautiful hike. Steady slight incline until the last km. Lots of streams to get water en route if needed. Only saw one other hiker on a gorgeous day, so I wouldn't call this one heavily trafficked.

Will K.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 11, 2017

Did this trail a couple times. It's a trek in, but the mountain meadows and the changing scenery are lovely. Great spot to hit the Wilson's.

Ryan Massey
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 26, 2017
Hiking

Great hike. It wasn't crowded as I expected on a Saturday. By Telluride standards I wouldn't call it difficult until the last section of switchbacks before heading down to the lake. Highly recommend

Cory Sutch
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 22, 2017

Amazing scenery. Tough hike but worth it!

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