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Silver Dollar Lake and Murray Lake Trail

moderate(583)
Arapaho National Forest

Silver Dollar Lake and Murray Lake Trail is a 6.3 kilometer heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Idaho Springs, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 6.3 km Elevation Gain: 324 m Route Type: Out & Back

dog friendly

cross country skiing

fishing

hiking

nature trips

rock climbing

snowshoeing

walking

running

forest

lake

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

muddy

rocky

snow

Directions from Georgetown: From the Georgetown I-70 exit, #228, follow the signs for Guanella Pass through Georgetown. On the first dirt road past Guanella Pass Campground (9 miles) turn right. (At this point if you do not have a 4 wheel-drive vehicle, please park your car here) Go up this dirt road about 1/4 mile to the trailhead.

hiking
8 days ago

It was amazing today. Beautiful weather. Trail is easy to follow but after that private property when you get to the top it’s gone. I think no one went there in weeks. I took a trail that a skier made that takes you to the top so you can’t get to the lake at least I wasn’t able too. There were two more people on the trail. Spikes came helpful no ice just some deeper snow in places.

snowshoeing
2 months ago

Started with spikes, but switched to snow shoes around tree line. Only went to just past Naylor Lake

snowshoeing
snow
2 months ago

Hiked on 1/5/2020. I made it up to about 1/2 mile away from silver dollar lake then the trail disappears. It was just me and my dog early this morning (no one else on the trail), so I didn’t feel comfortable breaking trail solo. I hope others after me were more adventurous and forged the trail all the way to silver dollar. Even though I didn’t make it to the lake, it was still a beautiful hike with perfect weather (sun and no wind). I wore microspikes up until the vista looking out to naylor lake below, and switched to snowshoes.

hiking
4 months ago

We completed the hike earlier today, 11/10. Gorgeous views! Had to park in the lower lot. My 4x4 truck wouldn't have made it to the upper level parking. We wore snow spikes as some spots on the trail were pretty icy. One of my favorite winter hikes so far!

hiking
snow
4 months ago

There was enough snow on the trail for micro spikes and snow shoes. overall it wasnt to hard of a trail. will go back when there is more snow to use snow shoes the entire trail. some ice on the trail as well.

hiking
rocky
5 months ago

Loved this trail! Drove up to the trail head and there were some pretty deep bumps in the road but only in certain spots. As long as you have a 4wd, SuV type vehicle, you should be fine. The hike itself was beautiful and can't wait to do it again. It was a bit of an incline to get to Murray Lake at the top, but well worth it! Happy Hiking!

hiking
5 months ago

My 10-year-old went with me and she handled it pretty well. If your looking for an easy to moderate day hike, this is a great trail. If you have 4WD, drive up to the trail head. The hike from lower parking to upper parking really adds no value. It gets pretty chilly & quite windy at the 2nd lake. Bring gloves. Wear layers. We went 9/22 and it was a little too early to see the fall colors...although this is not a hike to see the golden aspens in my opinion.

hiking
5 months ago

Probably my favorite hike in Colorado so far! It’s absolutely beautiful! I went in late September right before the leaves started to change and it was just stunning!!!!

hiking
5 months ago

Hiked this Sunday 10/13. Not a ton of people on the trail but got busier as the morning went on. Beautiful hike with some great views. There are 3 lakes in total along the trail. The first you see from afar. The second 2 are pretty close together. Some snow/ice patches on the trail but not enough for micro spikes yet!

Trail is pretty busy on weekends but there is good parking between the lower lot and the trailhead lot (.5 miles). Windy and chilly near the lakes. Definitely check out the 3rd lake! Not good for leaf peeping, but the drive up is pretty! Overall a good hike, not to difficult. Took us about about 2.5 hours with a nice break at the last lake! Enjoy!

hiking
5 months ago

Beautiful and simple hike. Easy to follow trail. Little snow on the hike but very windy. It would be really nice if people could follow the rules and leash their dogs. Mine was attacked by a "really sweet" off leash dog on the way down.

hiking
5 months ago

Beautiful !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

hiking
5 months ago

Good scenery, not many aspens present on this hike, but still good fall color on the low lying shrubs. Very scenic

hiking
6 months ago

Lovely hike! Very windy and cold after you pass the first lake.

hiking
6 months ago

Absolutely beautiful hike. Amazing views and so quiet. It is not a populated trail at all. Hike is 3.9 miles but the first 1.75 miles is a paved road leading to the trail. I would not attempt it unless you have a 4 by 4 and high clearance vehicle.

hiking
6 months ago

Just a great out and back. Started around 7:30am and only saw a couple people on the way up. Definitely worth the last push after the second Lake - it’s a steep climb but very short.

hiking
6 months ago

I loved this trail! My pup and I started around 12:00 in the afternoon from the bottom trailhead. I definitely could have driven the whole way in my AWD car but the road at the beginning looked a little bit sketchy, but the rest is fine. It’s not a long hike anyway. There was a good bit of people on the trail when I started but saw just a few on the final treck up to Murray lake. Beautiful views the whole way. Pretty windy at the top two lakes. I will definitely be back to do it again.

hiking
6 months ago

Hiked this trail yesterday! I dropped my glasses on the 4x4 road! They are black with yellow. If anyone finds them please let me know! They are the Snapchat spectacles. Please and thank you!

hiking
6 months ago

Hiked on 9/14/19. Got to the TH at about 7am and was one of the first cars there. I parked in the lot on the other side of Guanella Pass Rd... there is really no need to drive up the dirt road to the upper parking lot. The mornings are getting cold! It was 37F when I started so it’s a good idea to bring layers. The trail is in great condition. It was very windy once I got above tree line, but otherwise it was a beautiful morning hike! I hike with my dog- I keep her on leash and pack out her waste. This is not a difficult thing to do!!!! Dog owners, please be respectful of nature, the trail, and your fellow hikers!!! KEEP YOUR DOG ON LEASH AND PACK OUT THE WASTE!!!!

We parked at the lower lot and it’s at least .7 miles to the trail head, which adds 1.5 miles to the round-trip. So factor that into your plans. The road up is bad in a few spots, but if we do this trail again we would definitely drive to the upper lot and save ourselves the time. The hike itself is beautiful with spectacular views. We didn’t even make it to the second lake though because as you get to the hugest part it was extremely windy and cold and our 2 and 4 year old were cold, scared, and very cranky. I would definitely come back better prepared for the weather and for the drive up to the trailhead.

hiking
6 months ago

Arrived early on a September Monday. Had the trail to ourselves on the way up. Very windy and cool; needed gloves and long-sleeve zip-up top. The three lakes are beautiful from all angles. Small wildflowers still blooming. Note: no porta-potty at TH. Use the Visitor Center in Georgetown before heading up.

hiking
rocky
6 months ago

Trail was terrific. Definitely park in the paved lot and save your car the wear and tear - it's only 1/2 a mile up. Scenery above treeline was amazing, pretty windy at the lake. Busy on a Sunday, but arrived at trail around 9:30 with plenty of parking.

hiking
6 months ago

Beautiful trail. All the lakes are great. Trail was busy on a Saturday. Can get to the trail head upper parking lot with high clearance vehicle. Pretty moderate trail. Rocks and elevation at upper lake but very doable.

hiking
6 months ago

completed this hike last fall. I would highly suggest it when the leaves are changing! the entire hike was bursting with yellow. Watch for afternoon storms and please turn around when you see dark clouds! enjoy!

hiking
6 months ago

Went on Labor Day and it wasn’t even crowded... what a great hike. Not too far there and back, great views of the lakes from all parts of the trail. Some snow at Murray lake is still there from last year. I jumped in and swam across Murray. It was COLD! But I was VERY impressed by some rad chicks who went out on the 12,000 ft lake in an inflatable swan.

hiking
6 months ago

Wasn’t nearly as crowded as I was expecting for Labor Day. Hike was great! The trail is super easy to follow. Parking situation: Unless you have an elevated/raised vehicle, park at the paved parking lot. I watched a few people scratch up the bottom of their cars just to avoid an extra 15 min walk.

Reasonable hike for the avid hiker. 3 lakes and all are beautiful. Make sure you make it up to the 3rd one

hiking
6 months ago

It had beautiful views. It was steep at the beginning but then it got easy. Make sure you drive all the way up to the trail head. You don't have to walk up the road.

hiking
bugs
6 months ago

We tried this trail as a hard but fun hike and it was just that! It was not hard but challenging at some points, not a lot of rock scramble as stated before. It was muddy at some points but our 12 year old pup did it quite easily and the alpine lakes were so clear you could see all the gorgeous trout! The lower parking lot we parked in and walked up from. The first hill from the paved lot looks daunting but past that it's easily driveable.

hiking
bugs
rocky
6 months ago

This was an absolutely STUNNING hike! After the first 1/2 mile on the trail, you have views for days. Heads up though: I tried to get my non-AWD Honda CRV up the dirt road to the closest parking lot by the trailhead, but couldn’t make it. I only saw AWD/4WD vehicles at that lot, and I saw 3 more AWD vehicles turn around after I made the decision to do so (or, my tires made the decision...). It’s not as bad after the first hill but that first hill is STEEP and gnarly - lots of giant dips and holes. I was spinning even in the lowest gear. If you park in the second lot, it’s an additional 0.75 mi up and 0.75 mi back. I did not hike up to Murphy Lake, only Silver Dollar Lake, and I clocked in at 5mi even. This was a very busy trail- to be expected on a gorgeous Sunday morning of Labor Day weekend! - but everyone was polite about sharing the trail. This is not the hike to do if you want total seclusion, though. There were some older kids (able to walk longer distances on their own) and younger kids (able to be carried in carriers by adults) but generally speaking this is not the most kid friendly hike, or ideal for out-of-towners. The trail is pretty rocky, so even in the flatter areas (of which there are few) you still have to navigate rocks. I saw a couple people in tennis shoes and they were struggling (not because it was muddy or slippery, but just bc of the rocks). I would recommend trail runners or boots at least. We saw looots of dogs and all of the dog owners were respectful - but if you have a leash reactive dog keep them home because many of the dogs were off leash (though well trained and well behaved). Also, if you have a couch potato dog like my dog is, keep them home too, bc it’s tough. I am not the most in shape person, and I’m also coming from 5,400ft elevation, so I definitely noticed the 12,000-13,000+ elevation and the elevation gain in this hike. I would term this as moderate, but I was definitely glad to take a 20-min breather/stretch break/cat nap in the sun midway to let my hips and lungs take a break. Some of the wildflowers were past prime but some others were gorgeous and in bloom. Most of the trail was not in shade and there were mosquitoes, so bring sunblock and bug spray. I saw a marmot during the hike and a herd of bighorn sheep (I think? Maybe young mountain goats?) as I was driving in the Arapahoe National Forest. All in all, despite the additional distance bc of the parking situation and the fact that my hips and lungs were angry at me because of the altitude and rocks, I would give this spectacular hike an A+.

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