South Colony Lakes Trail

HARD 31 reviews
#16 of 115 trails in

South Colony Lakes Trail is a 9.5 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Westcliffe, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
9.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2296 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

birding

fishing

hiking

trail running

walking

forest

lake

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

snow

From Westcliff, go south on hwy. 69 to Colfax Ln.,go south on this road to South Colony Rd., turn right(west) and follow this road to the end where the trailhead is located.

13 days ago

Couple muddy stretches near the lakes, otherwise looks like an early summer. Quite a few wildflowers out already. Tons of mosquitoes around the upper lake. When the wind is still, their collective buzzing is surprisingly loud as they blanket your tent.

Road to the 4x4 lot is in really nasty shape. Coming back down it begs for four-low and crawl mode.

backpacking
23 days ago

This was my first time backpacking for an overnight camp and it was with a much more experienced backpacker who promised a challenging and beautiful trip.

We debated whether or not to drive from the lower parking lot to the upper parking lot. A Subaru employee (We have a 2018 Subaru) happened to be running the trail beside us and told us exactly how to drive it (X-mode and in 1st gear) --- ended up being totally fine (and was also very fun). We picked up another backpacker to get her to the trailhead. Don't attempt that drive if you don't have high clearance; and to be honest probably don't do this trail if you have to hike/backpack from the lower parking lot as a starting point.

We started from the trailhead at about noon, carried in water which made our packs heavy, and stopped for small snacks and breathers 5-6 times before finding camp near the lower lake. The views start to really open up after you pass the red gate. The hike took us about 5 hours and we went very slow, due to our pack weight. The trail is on a moderate incline the the entire time and I wouldn't be surprised to learn 5 hours is a common timeframe for even those hiking in and out same day.

The lakes are gorgeous but smaller than expected, and the three 14'ers surrounding them make up for it many times over. If you have a clear sky like we did it's a big bonus. We didn't go to the upper lake until the morning after we camped --- make sure you go to the upper lake, which offers a better view in my opinion and is a great place to chill out before or after an attempt at Humboldt (Or Crestone Peak or Crestone Needle, if you are a crazy person).

It can get to be 40 degrees, windy, and with a cold ground at late night so make sure you're prepared for that. Don't forget your sleeping bag like I did.

We trekked down at about 4PM the following day and it took about 3 hours to get back down to the upper parking lot. The views as you drive away at that time are awesome.

25 days ago

Just gorgeous!

hiking
1 month ago

Very beautiful this time of year! Lake is thawed and hardly any snow

backpacking
8 months ago

Backpacked this on September 23-24, 2017. The drive from the first parking lot to the closer parking lot is indeed 4WD, but it does save you a good 2-2.5 miles. There's one particular section with a deep rut and steep climb and many portions are private property, so there are few options to park.

Started off our hike around mid-afternoon and it was warm, but we knew rain was in the forecast. It didn't started raining until halfway into our hike. Halfway through our hike, we could also finally see the beautiful mountain peaks and they were foggy, but didn't appear to have much or any snow on them. We ran into a couple of different groups on their way down. Only one guy said he made it to the top of Humboldt earlier in the day. Another guy said it was extremely windy and their group turned back.

We camped about half a mile down from the lower south colony lake and we were wet and very cold. By the time we opened our tent an hour later, there was a thin layer of ice and snow where there hadn't been any before.

It sleeted/snowed until about midnight and we woke up to a bit more snow/ice than the previous day. The surrounding peaks had a good amount of snow on them. Thought about trying to summit Humboldt, but it was definitely too cold when we woke up. Trip was still worth it for the amazing views in that basin.

9 months ago

Trail is not well maintained but manageable. If you don't have 4 wheel drive then you have to hike 2.5 miles to the trail head which is straight up. Challenging but awesome hike. Lots of Bighorn sheep when you get up to the peak.

backpacking
9 months ago

hiking
11 months ago

We were told you couldn't drive to the trail head so we parked at the bottom. After hiking up 2.5 mi we saw everyone parked there which was frustrating. So, we hiked an extra 5 miles so app 14 mi all total. That being said, once we got to the lakes it was beautiful. Great views of the Crestones. Had we started at the trailhead, it would have been a very moderate hike and well worth it. I will do it again!

11 months ago

any snow remaining?

backpacking
11 months ago

Awesome hike. Access road to the trailhead is 4WD high clearance. To take this to the top of humbolt it is 16 miles round trip. Great wildlife, wildflowers, waterfall, lakes, this trail has it all.

backpacking
Sunday, February 05, 2017

Done this one a couple times, not that bad physically, till you get up to the Lakes - uphill from there. Climbed Mt. Humboldt and have snow shoe'ed in during winter months always quite and remote. Plenty of snow and Beautiful views, lots of timber down low but just keep climbin' timberline awaits !

hiking
Thursday, February 02, 2017

One of the most epic and flower filled hikes I have EVER done if not #1. do it in the summer/late spring

fishing
Thursday, September 15, 2016

Awesome!!

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Tough hike. Made it to the upper lake but not to Humboldt Peak due to heavy wind and rain. Got a ride to the trailhead. Will be back to attempt Humboldt again.

hiking
Saturday, August 01, 2015

I absolutely loved the view at the lower South Colony Lake! However, THIS IS NOT AN EASY HIKE. I've been doing backcountry hiking for years all throughout the Rockies in Montana, Wyoming and Colorado, and this is the hardest hike I've ever done. I think if my expectations had been on target it wouldn't have been so frustrating. I will say it would be a bit easier if you have 4 wheel drive and can drive up to the first trailhead, but if not, honestly don't go. We had to park at the very bottom before you get into the trees, which added almost 3 miles into the already 4 or 5 mile hike. Also, it's ALL incline to the lake so it's exhausting.

From where we parked we hiked almost 3 miles up a road to a parking lot for those with 4 wheel drive. Then from there it's 3 or 4 miles to another trailhead that splits into 2 directions. We went to the left and couldn't even make it to the lakes before dusk, so we found a camping spot maybe half mile from there. In the morning we hiked about a mile to get to the lower lake and it was GORGEOUS! We were too tired to make it up to the upper lake and had the whole hike back down.

It's a great view, but be prepared and learn from my experience! Only go if you have the vehicle that can get you up to the second lot! Again, I would rate this at least a medium, but definitely a hard when you are hiking in with gear.

Monday, June 15, 2015

it was a very pretty hike, unfortunately we got rained out a mile away from the lake and had to come back. The trail is about 3.5 miles one way to the lake but getting to the trailhead is hard unless you have a high clearance vehicle with 4 wheel drive, there is private property between the base (parking for those of us in small sedans) so you cant try to make your way up and pulll over somewhere to park. From the parking lot to the trail head is maybe 3-4 miles. the whole trail is pretty rocky but there are spectacular views going up and tons of aspen groves.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

This trail starts a few miles up South Colony Road where the road ends and the trailhead begins. You walk up the road a few more miles to where the trail begins. The trail heads up to the lower lake, where there is a nice waterfall below the lake. We have seen Bighorn Sheep around this area also. The trail continues on up to the upper lake which sits at the base of Crestone Needle and Crestone Peak, with Humboldt Peak to the other side, all 14er's. The lakes have good fishing for cutthroat trout. The whole area around the Lakes are very scenic with other trails to the top of the three 14er's.

backpacking
13 days ago

26 days ago

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hiking
27 days ago

hiking
28 days ago

hiking
28 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

4 months ago

hiking
9 months ago

backpacking
9 months ago

hiking
10 months ago

10 months ago

fishing
11 months ago

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