Willow Creek / Salmon Lake Trail

HARD 12 reviews
#11 of 20 trails in

Willow Creek / Salmon Lake Trail is a 16.8 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Silverthorne, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, and horses and is accessible year-round. Horses are also able to use this trail.

16.8 miles
3408 feet
Out & Back



horseback riding




wild flowers


West of Silverthorn,co , Eagle Nest Wilderness . There are three lakes and several large ponds.Good for camping and fishing. The trail has modest elevation gains and gentle grades.with gains and losses. This can be taxing. You come across Salmon lake trail first,then Willow Lakes are further up the trail.

4 days ago

6 days ago

13 days ago


A lot of drudgery and grind that pays off big time in the end.

The first 2/3rd's of the hike are like watching a forest die before your eyes. Once past some pretty meadows, the forest becomes more and more full of dead trees. The middle 1/3rd of the hike is an obstacle course of deadfall and there's a stretch around the 5th mile where there are more dead trees on the ground than what are left standing near the trail. I'd actually think twice before hiking this in any sort of significant wind.

After you leave the Gore Range Trail and hit the Willow Trail, it's about a mile of fairly steep ascent until the hike finally starts to deliver the views. You catch glimpses of gore range peaks through the trees, the forest becomes healthier, and things start to open up. Once in the area of the lakes it's eye-candy all around. I have never seen so many wildflowers before. I spent the night at upper Willow Lake, nestled at the foot of Red Peak and the Zodiac Ridge - incredibly drastic looking cliffs still dotted with patches of snow.

Goat fur everywhere, marmots chirping on the talus fields, small trout rising in the lake, and the sound of the creek next to camp to keep me company - really worth the effort to get there.

At time of writing there's ample water via various creeks along the way and the trail was mostly dry with just a few muddy spots. Mosquitoes are a force to be reckoned with around all ponds/lakes.

Note that the directions link on this site gets you to what looks like a trailhead but it is not where you want to be. Continue down the road until the road ends altogether - that's the Rock creek th.

1 month ago

2 months ago

Monday, July 18, 2016

this was a challenging hike, one for the elevation gain, and two for all the fallen trees on the trail that he had to crawl over/around. This is the trail that convinced me to invest in trekking poles. That being said, it was beautiful and idyllic at the lake. My SO caught some trout in the lake and we saw a marmot a few times. Be sure to look for the waterfall.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

We have back country camped twice here from the two different trail heads. This is a tough hike with the hardest part being the last section. Its a steady climb which wouldnt be that bad for day hikes but the consistent climb makes it intense for the overnighters. Be prepared for mosquitos as there are a lots of still ponds. With that being said, it's a beautiful area. Our first visit we saw a porcupine. Second visit we brought our fishing gear and caught brook and rainbow trout. There are some great spots to camp if you keep going towards the last lake but fires are not permitted. You will not regret this hike.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

fly fishing
Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Very fun. Campsite was so sick. A nice reward for a grueling hike.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Had fun camping at Salmon lake. Big thunder storm first night there.Did alot of hiking above the lake, Great views

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Good for camping.Lots of lakes and scenery.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Great hike for backpacking and camping near lakes.