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Quartz Lake Trail is a 9 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Pagosa Springs, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from July until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Length 9.0 mi Elevation gain 2,837 ft Route type Out & Back

Dog friendly

Hiking

Nature trips

Bird watching

Forest

Lake

Views

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Waypoints (0)
Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (51)
Photos (48)
Recordings (32)
Completed (81)
Pete Crawford
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarTue Jun 16 2020
HikingSnow

definitely challenged me in a good way. crossing snow fields were a challenge. the elevation gain was incredible. don't be in a hurry on this one. views are fabulous. took us 7 hours to do the hike.

Conley Harris
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSat May 30 2020
Hiking

I remember as a child watching shows about hikers stuck in the mountains with no hope at all. This hike made me understand the physical and mental torment the great outdoors provide. There is a ton of snow! so gear will be needed, but if you love slip and slides of snow into a pool of jagged rocks then go with no gear(you a beast). Overall I would say this hiking experience was like slamming your big toe into the side of a wall for 6 hours straight. This place will forever be known as “Hoe Mountain” because it absolutely was a major hoe. Follow @harris_hikers on IG

Ryan Harris
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSat May 30 2020
HikingBugsOff trailRocky

One of the first things I will say is the road is okay up until the last 2 miles. I underestimated the reviews and highly recommend a truck or 4 wheel drive vehicle. It gets extremely rocky and deep dips in the road almost impossible with a 4 door sedan. The hike was beautiful but during this time of the year (May-June) there becomes a point where the trail is covered with nothing but snow and makes it impossible to make it to the lake unless proper equipment is used. We still hiked about 2 hours up to that point. It is a still a beautiful hike and has amazing views. I will be doing it again when the snow melts. AGAIN if you don’t have a high suspension vehicle I do not recommend driving up there. I can’t stress enough it is very rocky and tough to maneuver arriving to the trail head.

John Ewald
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon May 25 2020
Hiking

Attempted this hike May 25, 2020 but, after about an hour, had to turn around due to snow obscuring the trail. Otherwise, it was looking to be a great hike. I'll try again some other time.

Brenda Turner
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSun Oct 27 2019
Hiking

The hike itself is absolutely gorgeous. One of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. The views don’t disappoint, and the altitude makes for a strenuous and interesting challenge. The drive to the trailhead is pretty treacherous. Half of it is filled with loose rock, and medium boulders embedded in an unfinished, bumpy, narrow, dirt road that winds up the mountains. Make sure you have 4 wheel drive (I do, and still hated this drive), and make sure you leave early enough to be in daylight. I’d probably hike this trail more if it weren’t for the drive. Maybe it’s just not being from CO, and maybe more experienced mountain folk would find the road easy to drive

Ashley Grant
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Oct 27 2019
HikingRockySnowWashed out

Very difficult with the elevation, but absolutely gorgeous from start to finish!

View Ashley's Recording
Jeremy Bundgaard
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Sep 02 2019
Hiking
Jessie Marks
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Jul 30 2019
HikingSnow

Absolutely gorgeous trail. I went with my younger sisters (17 & 19) and my dad (48) and we managed it pretty well, although the last mile or so before the lake was pretty difficult. We did the whole loop in 4.5 hours. There’s still snow towards the top that covers the trail in some places making it a bit difficult to cross, but overall an absolutely gorgeous hike with amazing views. We’re from NY so had to get used to the elevation but loved the views of the Rockies

Sarah Ross
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Jul 23 2019
HikingRockySnow
Kathryn Olsen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Jul 23 2019
Hiking

Breath taking views. Still a lot of snow to traverse, but the wild flowers are in full bloom along most of the trail. As in other reviews—start early, as the storms roll in early afternoon and the higher elevation is exposed.

Jill Hatch
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Jul 23 2019
HikingSnow

INCREDIBLE HIKE!!!! This hike was beautiful from start to finish. The majority of the elevation gain was in the first 3 miles, but it wasn't anything to worry about. After the peak is reached at mile 3 there's about a mile and a half trek to get to the lake. This part was still pretty snowy but it was all packed. We got started at about 7 AM on a Tuesday and by the time we finished there were some storms rolling in. The trail wasn't very busy either.

Jonny Layne
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Jul 21 2019

Great freaking hike! There were still 3 or 4 snow fields to cross. You could avoid a couple by boulder hopping, some were unavoidable. I did it in running shoes thinking it out to be clear. Snow is soft enough you can kick foot holds in. Afternoon storms rolled in much earlier than expected, right around 11:45 or noon. I ended up waiting an hour below the first saddle till it passed and was fine the rest of the day. Gorgeous views, no one up there but me, and plenty of beautiful streams and small run off pools to look at. The lake was gorgeous- I noticed a couple of bear tracks that looked a week or two old. Otherwise, only ran into deer, some marmot, maybe a hawk (not sure), and some vocal pika. Very worth it! Might recommend some better footwear than running shoes still. But it’s doable!

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Rae Chell
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Nov 05 2018
Backpacking

A wonderful trail! Slightly longer than what AllTrails says, but worth every step. One of the best we’ve ever tackled.

Justin Milum
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Sep 14 2018
BackpackingRockyScramble

Trail was good, manageable, if at times narrow. Hiking poles are very helpful. I loved every step of it and the views were incredible. I went with some other experienced hikers/campers. Weather was absolutely perfect. We backpacked in and camped at Quartz lake for 2 nights. It took us like 6 hours (frequent stops for rest, water, lunch, larger group). Most of us definitely felt the altitude and it was physically difficult at times, but were all able to make it. We even did some day hikes from Quartz lake out to the mountains directly west (Quartz Ridge I think?). Be careful as those can be very steep and loose on the way up but the views on top are insane!

Sean D.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Aug 14 2018

Similar to comments below, the mileage is wrong on All Trails ... It’s nearly 2 miles longer round trip. But wow - what a breathtaking hike!!! There are panoramas and landscapes in clear view throughout 95 percent of the hike, along with unforgettable rock formations and a “key hole” formation than indicates you’re more than halfway to the lake. We hike regularly, and it took about 2:30 to the lake and 1:45 back with some light jogging on the return. Be sure to get out early if you’re doing a day hike (ideally by 7 a.m). Storms routinely roll in by 1 p.m. This is a stunning and underutilized hike you will never forget. We’ll be back!

Nathan Green
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Aug 04 2018
Camping

My recorder shows 5.2 miles so unless the All Trails took short cuts, their distance is short(4.4 miles). Beautiful lake, worth the difficult hike. We backpacked in with enough gear for 2 nights. Had a trout dinner both nights. She said she would do it again even though it was “brutal”. She carried about 35 lbs on her back so I’m proud of her. Heard some coyotes yelping, saw a lot of deer, a marmot, and some beautiful birds. So far, my favorite hike in the Pagosa Springs area.

Zach James
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Jul 24 2018
Hiking

The climb at the beginning of the trail until about 3 miles in is significant - about 2500ft of vertical. I completed this trail with my wife and dogs on 7/19/18 and the trail was easy to follow and had been cleared. The scenery is amazing once over 11,250ft - this has to be one of my favorite hikes in Southern Colorado. Highly recommended.

Shane Jones
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarTue Jul 03 2018
Hiking

7/2 seems to be lightly trafficked and not particularly beautiful/noteworthy until you start to approach tree line which I'd say is about halfway. From there you've big views with lots of flowers all the way down to the lake. Overall great hike disappointed I only just found it. Took 4.5 hours there and back. Road in is rough but 4x4 not required.

Ed Mazel
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jun 30 2018
Running

Drove up in my wife’s minivan. No problem. Consistent climb from start. Trail clear. Once on ridge views are simply unbeatable. Made it to lake in 1:20. Back to car in 2:20 total. Wasn’t hammering, but worked hard. Great views, easy access. Highly recommend.

Jill D
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Jun 29 2018

Amazing wildflowers.

Cindy Sanchez
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Jun 28 2018

June 27- I only hiked 5.6 miles, but it was beautiful! Downed trees have been cleared from the trail. The first 2.8 miles is almost all uphill, but it was not terribly steep. I saw a great variety of wildflowers. Parts of the trail are in the open and parts go through pine and aspen forest. Also some interesting rock formations. The last 2 miles of the drive up to the trailhead was quite rough. I made it okay in my SUV, but 4 wheel drive would have been better.

Rebekah Baker
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarTue May 08 2018

The trail looked as if no one had been on it yet this year. It’s a more difficult hike with lots of snow, fallen trees on the path, and streams to cross. I would recommend waiting until late summer to do this hike. We barely made it 2 miles when the trail was completely lost. Lots of fresh bear tracks as well.

Terry Bancesco
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Aug 15 2017
Backpacking

Trailhead is Little Blanco Trail 572. Gorgeous views! Lots of uphill. Once through the notch, the scenery changes and it is a 500ft descent to the lake. We went during monsoon season, nasty weather rolled in quick on our way out. Virtually no trees for the 2 miles from the lake to the notch and down the other side of the slope, watch out for those storms. I'd do this hike again as an out and back, but only go as far as the moonscape and pond that is just on the other side of the notch. The views are worth going that far. I'd do the lake as an overnighter. Lake has beautiful fish too!! Bring a fly rod, they seem to like the topwater stuff (they turned down worms). We clocked 12.5 miles there and back, Trailhead at 9,960ft, notch at 12,080ft, lake at 11,540ft. Favorite hike so far.

Jordan Seme
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Aug 09 2017
Hiking

So beautiful! Keep in mind weather can come in from any direction and once you're down at the lake there's some exposed uphill hiking to get back. Go early it's worth it and it's nice and cool, too. My favorite hike for sure!

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