Willow Lake Trail

MODERATE 12 reviews

Willow Lake Trail is a 8.6 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Crestone, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

8.6 miles
2956 feet
Out & Back

dog friendly



nature trips

trail running






wild flowers




Deep in the heart of the Sangre De Cristo mountains in southern Colorado, Willow Lake provides a respite for the waters draining the Obstruction Peak glacial trough, as they rush north and west toward the central Colorado basin. If you tee off from the top of Obstruction Peak, Willow Lake is in the center of the dog-leg left, with 500 yard long meadow of Willow Creek Park as the green. The trailhead east of Crestone launches you on a 9-11 mile journey that will take you through forests of fir, arbors of aspen, and skirts of skree. Depending on the time of year you make this trek the streams you encounter along the way will be trickles or torrents. In about 2.5 hours you can climb to the west end of Willow Lake. Add another half hour and tack on a mile to your shoe treads, you can reach the falls at the east end of the lake, which will allow you to see Challenger Pt, Kit Carson Mtn, and Obstruction Peak - just remember to account for the additional time and mileage for the return trip.

2 days ago

3 days ago

Fantastic views. Lots of wildlife. Very difficult trail if you are not in shape. Mosquitoes are bad to meadow. Fishing was good.

trail running
9 days ago

Awesome trails! Ran up to Willow Lake and then passed it almost to the summit of Challenger and Kit. Still a little bit of snow and didn't bring hiking sticks or the right shoes. Amazing run overall though!

14 days ago

15 days ago

Great hike...bring insect repellent, we needed it the first 2 miles from trail head start. Saw lots of wildlife and the weather was perfect.

1 month ago

Snow and high wind up high..need snowshoes to get to lake as there's still 4-6' of snow.

5 months ago

6 months ago

Saw more people than expected but a great trail! Take a fishing pole and hope you will get bite, smart fish. Didn't pack water, just a life straw as there are so many streams in the warm months! We did this as a backpacking trip, pack light as the switchbacks make it difficult. We stayed overnight in August and it went as smoothly as planned, except the hail! Great trip!!

9 months ago

10 months ago

Monday, April 13, 2015

beautiful trail and easy to get to the trail head, crestone is an interesting hippy commune. we went mid april and we were not able to get to the lake becasue of the snow. the trail on the way up was beautiful though. great views of the san luis valley as you ascend and you pass pretty meadows and see beauitful waterfalls. sad we werent able to make it to the lake

trail running
Saturday, May 24, 2014

Excellent trail running. I encountered lots of snow at the top this early in the season. Plan on getting your feet wet if you are running as there are lots of creeks to cross and snow to scramble up. I got a late start so was alert for signs of the weather changing. About a quarter of a mile from Willow Lake spotted some grey clouds moving in from the east and high-tailed it back to the trailhead. I made it back just in time for hail to drop. Respect the high country!