Red Lake Trail

MODERATE 16 reviews

Red Lake Trail is a 10.1 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Antonito, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

10.1 miles
1,656 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash




horseback riding

nature trips

trail running




wild flowers



This is a really rewarding hike for anyone looking to have great vistas in the Southern Rockies. The trail has a short steep section and then climbs gently to 11,700 above Red Lake, about 5 miles from the new trail head. There are numerous easy day hikes available to explore the plateau above. The first mile of the trail follows a narrow stream and then it crests onto a vast plateau. Route finding requires following a GPS or the large carins that have been placed along the route where the trail vanishes in the wet areas. The lake sits at about 11,400 feet.

1 day ago

This was my first backpacking trip in Colorado and it was great. I packed in with my 81 year old neighbor and stayed 2 nights. We caught some nice trout and saw a bald eagle, deer, elk, marmots, and lots of chipmunks. I am already planning on returning with my family.

14 days ago

Great trail with tons of wildflowers! The first part was definitely a small challenge, but once it flattened out, it was great!

16 days ago

Great trip. Beautiful wildflowers! Great fishing! Bring mosquito spray.

26 days ago

If you drive to the trail head and park in the nearby parking lot, then the hike is only about 6.6 miles round trip. This map shows the trail head starting much further away. When we reached the end of the trail, we spent 20 minutes looking for the rest of the trail, thinking that we still had a couple of miles to go. Alas, once we were able to get cell phone reception, we realized that we WERE at the end of the trail...where it sort of dead ends near the lake.
Overall the hike was great! Lots of beautiful wildflowers. It was quite windy when we went, so I wished I had brought some warmer layers. The dogs enjoyed the patches of snow along the way. We didn't enjoy the mosquitoes as much. If we are in the area again then I would definitely hike this trail again!

5 months ago

I’ve hiked this trail 3 times, all in August. It is a religious experience to me, to be up under the sky on those miles of grassland. No bugs, but even in August there’s still a bit of a detour around that one marshy area. Not difficult except the first 3/4 mile if you’re not used to the elevation (10,000 feet). I’ve never met anyone in the trail except a sheep herder named Rego from Oaxaca and his horse.

9 months ago

Wonderful hike. Moderate, not too hard. Does require some stream crossing. We go sun, rain and hail all in late July AND there was still snow on the ground at 10,600 feet. Beautiful trail with lots of wildflowers and gorgeous views!

Monday, July 03, 2017

Probably one of the most beautiful hikes I have ever done! I felt kind of like singing songs from The Sound of Music as I walked along. The various little lakes are beautiful, with frogs croaking away, so many different textures of beautiful different green colors, like a carpet! Red Lake was placid and beautiful, and we saw quite a few people fishing. I do have to add, however, the mosquitoes were fierce. If you have a hard time with mosquitoes or do not cover yourself completely this can be a very unfun hike in the lower areas. I would do it again in a heartbeat!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Beautiful trail, very few people on it, magnificent views. One of my favorite so far in Colorado. Plus, the hike is rather leisurely. Bring some snacks for a won't get better surroundings!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Beautiful, magnificent trail. Being from Texas, I don't get to experience any mountainous trails such as this one, so I tagged along with a friend from Colorado and backpacked here for a few days. I recommend picking a time during the summer where the snow has melted to a manageable level, as it was quite difficult last year in early June.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Just wanted give everyone a heads up that there have been a few vehicle break-ins at the Red Lake Trailhead recently. My truck was broken into the night of Aug 18-19, 2016. Talking to the Conejos County SO this seems to be happening to vehicles parked overnight. In our case, the rear window glass and driver's side window were broken and a few items were stolen out of the back. We were planning on staying 4-5 days up in the South San Juan Wilderness but thankfully we ran into a group on horseback who alerted us to what happened so we cut the trip short and headed back down to meet the SO Deputy and deal with the mess.

It's a shame we have to be paranoid about leaving a vehicle overnight at trailheads in Colorado now. I've been hiking and climbing and doing rescue work in Colorado for 35 years and have never encountered a problem. I've also traveled to South America driving a vehicle to climb remote mountains, left it for 10 days and never had an issue. I don't know if this is the new normal in Colorado or an isolated incident. According to the SO and other locals there is group of young "men" breaking into vehicles and homes across the county.

So, just a forewarning and beware if you leave your vehicle overnight at Red Lake Trailhead or other trailheads in the surrounding area. Take precautions and maybe drive a junk vehicle if you are going to stay for more than a day.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

I've been here before about 15 years ago about 3 miles from the Chama basin via a trail near to Trujillo Meadows. Did it again yesterday from the Red Lake trail and it was a beautiful climb from the scree on the North side of La Manga Creek, past all the cattle and the cow s_it on the trail and the few small creek crossings. The view of Red Lake and the mountains to the West and the flats to the North of the Los Pinos Creek and the Chama Basin were absolutely beautiful - God's Country. Caught a couple of small rainbow and a nice cutthroat in Red Lake even through the hail and rain and am planning to go back. I'm an older lady (60) and made it to the lake in about 90 minutes. Youngsters should do WAY better.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

This trail is in Southern Colorado. I visited in July and we didn't get far in because we lost the trail. Trail is muddy and wet and when we lost the trail the area was essentially a marshland. It was gorgeous for what we did see just disappointing that we didn't make it all the way. There were A LOT of mosquitos and there was also A LOT of animal poop. To reach the trail take HWY 17 from Antonito, pass thru Horca and go thru La Manga pass. The signs for Red Lake Trail will be on the right and you'll take a dirt road quite a ways back to the parking area.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

I visited in July. Lots of mosquitos but beautiful. Be sure to check out the small falls at the end of the lake. I also saw Elk and heard lots of sheep over the crest of a near by ridge.

Friday, July 05, 2013

The first section of the trail is a little steep from the trailhead but Red Lake is beautiful, bountiful of possible good fishing. Rolling meadows on top, amazing views of distance mountians, plenty of small lakes on the trail way to Red Lake.

10 days ago

16 days ago