Waterdog Lakes Trail

MODERATE 66 reviews
#7 of 107 trails in

Waterdog Lakes Trail is a 3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Salida, Colorado and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, fishing, and snowshoeing and is best used from June until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
3.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1076 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

fishing

hiking

snowshoeing

rocky

Some sites list this trail as easy, but it is very rocky and steep in some places, plus being above 10,000 ft to the tree line. Definitely not a stroll through Garden of the Gods. You will encounter a lot of mosquitos, so be prepared, and wear good trail shoes. Parts are so very lush and green, bring a camera. The trail follows a river part of the way and is very pretty, then winds back through the forest up steep and rocky inclines following a powerline trail. There are a couple river crossings, and you may encounter snow. The lower lake is nice, and the upper is pretty too.

snowshoeing
1 month ago

This hike was great! Our snowshoes broke halfway up (crappy rentals), but we were able to hike on the packed down snow until about a quarter mile to the lake. Unfortunately the snow got too deep before we could finish the hike to the lake, but it was still very beautiful!

hiking
4 months ago

Very hard to find! And don't count on GPS. I followed another reviews directions and I passed it a few times before finding it. Great uphill hike!! great views, and a beautiful lake at the top. That and the creeks were all frozen over. (12/6)

4 months ago

Is there enough snow on the trail for snowshoeing?

hiking
5 months ago

Nice hike today with the kids (7 and 9). We didn't all have necessary gear so we stopped a little over half way to the lake. Just a couple of inches of snow toward the bottom and closer to 6" where we turned around.

6 months ago

Beautiful with creek running alongside the trail at first. Quiet and heavily wooded pathway. It was quite steep and very rocky. The view of the lake was worth the effort.

hiking
7 months ago

This is a nice, short hike. Only about 2 miles 1 way, straight up. Very lush with a nice creek towards the bottom and the beautiful lake up top.

hiking
8 months ago

Had trouble finding the trail head so I thought I would share knowledge. In short, there is no sign for trailhead, but I was able to find it with the below directions:
From the east take U.S. Highway 50 out of Poncha Springs and pass through the small areas of Maysville and Garfield. After passing through Garfield you will pass quite an extensive abandoned mining area on the left. After passing the mining area the Waterdog Lakes signed trailhead will be on the right within a short distance with roadside gravel parking on the left between mile markers 202 and 203. If you reach the Monarch Park campground road you have gone to far.

Thought this might help the next person. BTW, beginning of trail is super steep.

hiking
9 months ago

This is a steep, rocky out-and-back route through a fragrant fir forest. The lower lake is nice, but the upper lake is even better, so head on up after you catch your breath. The trail from the lower lake to the upper one crosses a boulder field. We had to riff that section but the trail was easy to pick up after we got to the top. The trail head sign is not visible from the highway.

hiking
9 months ago

Trail starts off with a beautiful stream, you hit a nice elevation gain about 1/2 way in and are rewarded with a very pretty lake. Fairly strenuous for a short hike due to 1,100' gain in elevation.

hiking
9 months ago

Beautiful little trail. Trailhead is a bit tricky to locate but not all that hard. My 58 year old wife, our Brittany dog, and I made this hike with some difficulty. We are Texans on a hiking vacation and are not well acclimated to the altitude. If you are visiting and thinking about this one I would recommend it. The lake is postcard perfect.

hiking
9 months ago

easy little trail to do. hard to find trail head for first timer. beautiful views. short and sweet trail close to Salida.

9 months ago

Wonderful trail to hike. Lots of water and shade along the trail for your pooch too!

hiking
10 months ago

Lake is still frozen and trail is completely covered in snow. Will come back in summer as I'm sure it would be very pretty!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

This is a great trail. Well marked, well traveled, steep in places but great views at the top!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Great!

fishing
Monday, August 29, 2016

Steep most of the way up. Upper lake is much prettier and easier to fish than the lower lake. Worth the extra bit of distance. Lovely spot.

Monday, July 25, 2016

wonderful lake at the end. woodpeckers and wildflowers. parking is on other side of highway and trailhead slightly hidden.

hiking
Sunday, July 24, 2016

Moderately steep with ample water/creeks
Not for everyone, based on starting elevation and vertical gain
Mix of hikers, fisherman
Pretty at the top, did see one "water dog" too
Fun, esp. as scenic workout and 2 - 2.5 hour round trip

hiking
Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Up, up and up! Dogs were beyond excited to get to the lake! Only ran into a few groups of people.

hiking
Saturday, July 16, 2016

Steep! But so much fun. Took our kids, 2, 8, 15 and they had a blast. Was a slow journey and a tough one - lots of breaks since we come from the flat lands of Kansas! Great work out :)

hiking
Monday, July 11, 2016

Hiked this trail a few days ago with my husband and children 8 & 10. The trail is very rocky and pretty steep most the way up. We hiked up past the first lake to the second which is even more beautiful then the first. Very nice hike but be prepared for a very rocky climb and descent.

hiking
Sunday, July 10, 2016

My kids & I hike it at least once a year, we love it!

hiking
Thursday, July 07, 2016

There is limited mobile phone and no data service up Monarch pass (none with Verizon, spotty with AT&T), so make sure you have your directions dialed in to the trailhead. It can be tricky to find if there are no other cars parked. I tried to add some photos. This is an excellent day hike for a hot, sunny day. Trekking poles or a walking sticks help. People usually leave some sticks at the trailhead. I didn't see any waterdogs, but maybe next time!

hiking
Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Awesome hike to an incredible destination! Steep climb, but worthwhile. Slow and steady upward. Wear good boots, and bring water. Do this one again in a heartbeat!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

I had so much fun here, I saw so much wildlife up close. the lake just makes you wish you could live here. come prepared this is a fairly steep climb. bring plenty of water and perhaps a snack

hiking
Sunday, August 02, 2015

Up, up[ and away. A steady climb for a while, with the last mile being the steepest. First lake is nice, with additional lakes around it. Worth the hike to go to the one northwest of the mail lake.

hiking
Friday, July 31, 2015

This is a great, not terribly popular trail. Stunned that it is called "Easy," however. It's short, but as others have said, steep and extremely rocky. Last time I was here I encountered a family of four. One of the children was really not happy, basically having a meltdown. I'm sure it had to do in part with the fact that he was wearing sandals and stubbing his toes' and tripping every 10 feet.

As others have said, bring bug spray. Finding the trail is not easy. From Salida on HWY 50 shortly after you pass the town of Monarch, which consists of a lodge and not much else, the road becomes 2 lane going up, one lane going down. You will pass a runaway truck sign, facing the other way. The gravel parking lot is .4 miles from this sign, on the left hand side of the road. The trail head and register book are acroos from the the parking lot, well hidden from view of the road if you are going too fast.

fishing
Thursday, July 16, 2015

It is a very steep hike, but, as others have said, totally worth it. Beautiful upper lake.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Great hike. But steep. Just keep pushing on and the lakes are great. Upper lake has great fishing.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Great little day hike! Trailhead tucked under trees, next to a creek, right off of the north side of 50. Parking directly across 50 in a pull-off. I went on a beautiful morning in July. Plenty of mosquitos, though, so be prepared! Wonderful hike that begins easy, but don't let that deceive you; prepare for a decent elevation gain in the last bit. Definitely worth it and plan to go back!

Load More