Shelf Lake Trail

MODERATE 77 reviews
#2 of 15 trails in

Shelf Lake Trail is a 6.6 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Grant, 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 October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
6.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2152 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

birding

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

walking

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

A beautiful hike to a lake on a high bench above timberline. The lake is often ice-bound until the end of June. The trailhead is at an old smelter site. The trail climbs steeply at first into a hanging valley, then climbs gradually up the valley to finish with a final short, but steep climb onto the shelf where the lake sits.

hiking
5 days ago

Don't pick this hike unless you have a high clearance vehicle. The road is about 3 miles, covered in rocks and many steep dips.

As for the hike, it is a great moderate hike. Forests, wildflowers, views, and the lake is beautiful as you can see from all the pictures.

hiking
5 days ago

hiking
5 days ago

hiking
7 days ago

11 days ago

Beautiful and just the right amount of challenging.

hiking
12 days ago

Hiked yesterday. This has been one of the prettier hikes I have done recently. I would highly suggest it and do it before the wild flowers are gone! The initial mile can be quiet challenging as it is pretty much uphill with lots of rocks and steep grade. If you're not used to Altitude / steep grades take it slow. Do not get discouraged by this, make it to the valley you will not be disappointed!! Numerous wild flower fields, that lead to one more steep incline. Once you arrive at the lake enjoy the solitude and beauty. While out yesterday only came across 5 parties (all going down the trail). The FSR you take the trailhead can be a bit rough, make sure if you have decent clearance!

hiking
14 days ago

The wildflowers were beautiful and amazing! I loved the trail, but it was a difficult one for an older flatlander. There is a new trailhead that makes this a 7.8 mile roundtrip hike. You can still get to the old smelter site trailhead, but the signs make it sound like there is no trail access, so we used the new one.

hiking
22 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

I love this hike. I do it once or twice a year. This was my first time in 2017 and I hiked it Saturday July 1.

Was on the trail by 730 am and didn't see a single person until coming down from the summit. I made it to the lake in 2 hours flat, but could've done it in shorter time if the snow drifts had been melted. You have to scramble around them/up them the best you can to find the trail. It's still very wet, make sure you have water proof hiking boots or your feet will get soaked from some of the run off.

Once the snow drifts melt, this hike will be wonderful.

Harder elevation gain in the beginning, levels out through most of it, then elevation gain at the end signifies you are close to the lake. Enjoy!

hiking
1 month ago

Amazing trail and plenty of dispersed camping near by. The trail head is not a traditional trail head but Google maps brings you there. the trail marker is before you cross the stream when driving there.

1 month ago

Is there a place to park at the head? Do I need to go to the ranger station first or can I just go? ( first timer, duh)

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
2 months ago

Trail head is a bit hard to find. If you use google maps, it will take you to the exact spot, however there is only one tiny sign that's easy to miss. It's located next to a pile of black rocks. We made it about 2.5 miles in, but lost the trail due to snow. Gorgeous area! I would recommend stopping in the valley and turning around at the river until the snow clears up; about 2 miles in.

2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

Really beautiful, but with the new snowfall it's nearly impossible to complete without snowshoes or even some prior knowledge to the trail. We loved it for what it was today: a 1.5 mile walk in the snowy woods.

fly fishing
4 months ago

Cuts, small but fun

hiking
6 months ago

Nice trail that can be a bit challenging in places. The switchbacks at the beginning can be a bit tedious, but worth it once you clear them. Trail can be difficult to see with the leafs on the ground. For the 4X4 fans. the road leading to the trail head and beyond is fun.