Willow Lakes and Willow Creek Lakes via Willow Lake Trail and Challenger Peak Route

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Rio Grande National Forest

Willow Lakes and Willow Creek Lakes via Willow Lake Trail and Challenger Peak Route is a 11.6 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Crestone, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from May until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length11.6 miElevation gain3,549 ftRoute typeOut & back
Dogs on leashHikingNature tripsBird watchingForestLakeViews
Description
Waypoints (0)

NOTE: As of April 2020, the road is closed approximately a mile from the trailhead.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (21)
Photos (291)
Recordings (17)
Completed (238)
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Matt Carter
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 3, 2020
HikingGreat!Rocky

Visiting from Arkansas and staying in Crestone so we decided to try this hike out. The hard trail rating is justified for the unrelenting grade and not being accustomed to the air but is definitely doable. The views 100% justify the effort.

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Lj Dawson
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Hiking
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Michelle Scully
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HikingOff trailOver grown

Finding Willow Creek Lake was a challenge I was not successful in doing. After reaching a sign that said “closed for restoration” I lost the trail. I’m guessing it’s not maintained or I should not have been hiking further or I was just utterly lost. Tried to use AllTrails to guide me, but I just felt I was making my own pathway. After two miles I turned around. Beautiful scenery everywhere, but I give it fewer stars based on the difficulty of following a trail (which can be seen as an adventure as well!)

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Mark Schaeffer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 28, 2020
Hiking

Great hike. It’s hard to follow the trail above Willow Lake to the upper lake. Still some snow. Upper lake was frozen. The lower lake is worth the hike and is beautiful. Many animals encountered along the trail.

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Erica Oufnac
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Hiking

Hiked this July 3rd, 2019. Great trail, but definitely not for the faint at heart! Lots of switchbacks in the beginning with GREAT views and look out points throughout. BRING BUG SPRAY- we’re considering bringing a netted mask next time for some of the more wooded areas at the beginning. Got engaged at the lake!

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Mark Schaeffer
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HikingSnow

I walked up to willow creek, not all the way to the lake. Snow starts to get thick around that point. Nice hike.

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Greg Morton
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HikingIcy

Great views definitely a more difficult hike at least for me as a semi beginner. The road is closed about a mile from where the trail head starts. Dog loved this hike I would recommend. I didn't make it all the way the top unfortunately.

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Larry Mac
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HikingBugsScramble

The hike to Willow lake is awesome. Stream crossings, views of water falls. The hike up Challenger is not good. The steep 2000 feet in a little over a mile is not happy If you make it up Challenger though, push to Kit Carson, the standard route. The gully up Kit is way better than Challenger, and you do not want to have to do it again.

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Govind Upman
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Hiking

Hi Mr Cline, Sorry to hear about Tyler. My condolences to the family. Would you like to report what happened here so that the community could know? Please stay strong.

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Rick Cline
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Hiking
First to Review

I want to know if anyone has seen my son Tyler Cline hiking this trail on Sunday or Monday. He is currently 2+ days overdue. 425-466-0013 6/23 & 6/24.

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Annalise Baer
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Hiking
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Crystel Armenta
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Hiking
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Emily Roberts
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Hiking
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Regina Stump
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Hiking
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Tony Pizzamiglio
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Hiking
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K P
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Hiking
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Mike Alfaro
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Hiking
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Jesse McElvain
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Hiking
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Dalton Schroeder
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Hiking
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Edward Anderson
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Hiking
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Edward Anderson
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Hiking
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