Three Island Lake Trail

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Mount Zirkel Wilderness

Three Island Lake Trail is a 6.3 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Clark, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from June until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 6.3 miles Elevation Gain: 1,541 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

forest

lake

wild flowers

wildlife

Directions from Steamboat Springs: ACCESS #1: Take HWY 40 west of town and turn right onto County Road 129, Elk River Road. Travel north about 18 miles to the Seedhouse Road (Forest Road 400;also County Road 64) and turn right. Go past Seedhouse Campground then turn right onto Forest Road 443. The trailhead is about 3 miles down this road.

hiking
8 months ago

Shady climbs, a handful of expansive views, and loads of wild raspberries along the trail. Hiked the extra 1.5 mi past Three Island to Beaver Lake - worth it for a quiet, untouched trail. bring your map and compass to do some exploring.

hiking
9 months ago

Being from Chicago we had no idea what a easy/ moderate hike meant for us. It was certainly a difficult climb, but well worth it for the wildflower show and new adventure in the wilderness that it offered. We never climb to these heights! It was an adventure for me and my 2 kids who were focused on wanting to see that lake. I agree that it was very buggy by the lake so we skipped our lunch and just headed back down. Overall a wonderful hike, just be ready to go up a mountain. Have plenty of water.

hiking
bugs
9 months ago

hiking
10 months ago

The trail was as previously reviewed. A hiker I passed said it was snow covered until the first week in July. National Forest staff and volunteers have done a good job of staying current with downed trees across the trail. Water from snow melt still high, good thing we did not have attempt a stream crossing.

hiking
bugs
over grown
10 months ago

Hiked to Three Island Lake on July 18th, 2019 with my son and two dogs. Trail was clear of snow and dry. Perhaps a few small muddy spots but nothing of concern. Trailhead was a bit hard to find, and I believe there are two places to start this trail as there is a spur trail that we came across but was not marked on the map. We headed up Forest Road 443 and found a trail sign (hard to see with over growth of plants) and parked across the road. We were the only ones who parked here, and given the number of peope we came across on this hike, I know there is another trailhead which most people use as the starting point. Our starting point had us climing on switchbacks for quite a while. Get a good map, or ask a local for more specifics on where to start this hike. Overall, I wasn't crazy about this hike. You are in a canyon much of the way, so views are limited, but when you do get them, beautiful. I tend to like a more open trail where I can see what's coming up in front of me, behind me and out over the landscape. The lake itself is absolutely stunning. No snow and no ice up at the lake as of the date of our hike. Here's the problem though: The mosquitos where so thick, that even with bug repellent, we could not sit and enjoy lunch and the lake. We had to walk around as we ate our lunch or be over taken by the mosquitos. There were a few other hikers and they too, kept moving. No one was sitting and enjoying the lake which was disappointing given the effort you'd made to get there. But..., I know what I'm getting into then I hike in nature, and bugs are a part of nature. I wanted to note this though, so if you decide to do this hike, you are prepared and armed with protection.

hiking
10 months ago

beautiful scenery and wildflowers. got there at 8 am and was only person on the trail till about a half mile from the end. steep along the waterfall, some small creek passing and muddy areas. didn't make it to the lake cause the lady quarter mile came across somewhat deep water on the path I wasn't willing to navigate though with three dogs. but still well worth it.

hiking
muddy
10 months ago

hiking
11 months ago

Great out and back trail. Several down trees across the trail but that's nature. Fallen trees aside it's an easy to moderate trail with beautiful views in woods setting

Wed Aug 29 2018

hiking
Thu Aug 16 2018

This is two hikes in one. You start traversing above the glacial valley of the Middle Fork of the Elk through aspens on a smooth dirt trail. Halfway through, you make an abrupt turn into a hanging valley. The trail becomes much rockier and steeper as you switchback through a profusion of granitic dikes. The Aspens give way to subalpine firs. Three Islands Creek cuts through the adjacent granite. After a nasty hour, you arrive at one of the most beautiful and pristine lakes in the state. This is not a long hike, but a steep one and the road to the trail head features all the washboard you could want, but we traverse the state in Prius, so if we make it you can. Don't go. I want it for myself.

hiking
Tue Aug 07 2018

NIce hike. the 9 miles of dirt road to and from was a bit much. only a few people out and back. If you aren't from here or acclimated to the elevation the way up can be slower. Ended just over 9900 feet per Garmin.

hiking
Sat Jul 21 2018

Awesome hike! Did this in about 4 hours with some time spent at the lake. The trail is well kept and easy to find. I would recommend a bear bell if you’re hiking by yourself. We only saw a few other people on a Saturday which was nice. Everything was very lush and green, and the lake is beautiful!

Mon Jul 09 2018

Beautiful trail, manageable distance with kids, nice terrain. My only complaint is that it was a little crowded but I can understand why!

Fri Jul 06 2018

Trail is in great condition. Hiked it on July 5th. Lake has a ton of trout!

hiking
Fri Jul 06 2018

The trail is in great shape. The fish were jumping in the lake. Bring your fishing pole!

Sat Mar 03 2018

I haven't hiked it yet. I am considering it for a wedding site in Sept. how is the hike in Sept? flowers?? aspen trees?? thank you

hiking
Mon Aug 28 2017

Easy hike, Lake is pretty! Fish were jumping the whole time!

Tue Aug 15 2017

Moderate hike with little traffic and a Great Lake payoff. The bald eagle at the top was a nice bonus. Be prepared to drive on a dirt road for a decent stretch before you arrive at the trail head.

hiking
Mon Jul 24 2017

Just a handful of other hikers. Moderate hike with a fair amount of shade along the way and just enough creeks and water access for the dogs along the way.

Tue Jul 04 2017

7/2/2017 - nice moderate hike with a good mix of flowing stream/rapids, snow-capped peaks in the distance, and fairly large lake. Caught 7 brookies on panther martin.

Thu Jun 22 2017

All the hikes off seedhouse road are worth it!

backpacking
Sun Mar 26 2017

Fantastic fishing. At one point you would have thought it was raining with all the rising. Was comical

hiking
Fri Sep 11 2015

I went in August and it wasn't a super busy trail at the time, but the weather was a bit overcast and crappy. The wildflowers were amazing, I have posted some pictures that I came across.

Sun Aug 02 2015

Beautiful hike! Start up the trail and sign in. Climb the first couple hills and there is a Tee. Take the trail marked 1164 to Three Island Lake. The other direction is a spur trail (1164.1). This trail passes threw sections of lush dense foliage, wildflowers, small creek crossings, some rocky climbs, and offers spectacular views. Once you begin to walk next to Three Island Creek your close. At the top the trail opes up to a massive clearing butted up the the cliff face of the peak. On the other side is the beginning of the creek. Slow moving cool water and plenty of fish to watch just below the surface of the shallow cleek. Just a few more steps and an explosion of wild flowers greats you as the beauty of the blue lake contrasted with bright green grass shores is revieled. My GPS tracked 6.95 miles to the lake. should take 4 hours to complete! Happy hiking!

fishing
Sat Jul 04 2015

Dank

Wed Apr 08 2015

Loved this hike. Did it once in May then twice in July. Fairly easy, steep. If the waters warm enough, I'd consider swimming in it to cool off! Very scenic!

hiking
7 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

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