Willow Lakes Trail

MODERATE 74 reviews

Willow Lakes Trail is a 11.6 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Silverthorne, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
11.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2,864 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

birding

camping

cross country skiing

fishing

hiking

rock climbing

skiing

snowshoeing

trail running

walking

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

snow

Two trails start here; the Wilowbrook trail links to Mesa Cortina following South Willow Creek, The Ditch Trail goes directly to the Gore Range Trail following North Willow Creek. The destinations one could reach from these two trails are too numerous to mention. Two trails start here; the Wilowbrook trail links to Mesa Cortina following South Willow Creek, The Ditch Trail goes directly to the Gore Range Trail following North Willow Creek. The destinations one could reach from these two trails are too numerous to mention. It is possible to link the two trails along the Gore Range Trail to make a loop returning to the same spot.

6 days ago

The views down by the lakes were incredible. The beginning of the hike is not as scenic, but was worth the wait.

hiking
14 days ago

What an amazing trail. We followed a river the whole time... my dog had a blast. No bikers, very few people - the falls at the top: beautiful

15 days ago

Just awful.
1. TH starts in residential area
2. No views until 5 miles in..
3. Until you’re 5 miles in, you’re walking over debris and dead trees..
4. Steady incline with no promise of a view at the top took the fun out of it

hiking
28 days ago

This was a fun and beautiful trail! We hiked 3.5 miles before we decided to turn around. We were hiking with our kids, 4 and 7 and they loved all the streams! It would be fun to do the full hike some day and see the lakes.

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike. Most of the hike is in the trees.....but the payoff is well worth it. Four beautiful lakes (see them all) with gorgeous panoramic views. The trail is full of debris and rocks actually making the climb down a little slower than one would imagine (to save from any ankle rolling). A tad bit of snow left up too but nothing that would prohibit. Such wonderful scenery.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful hike!! Great scenery, views, lakes and only a moderate incline. Did salmon and all 4 willow lakes, ended up being just short of 14 miles and took about 9.5 hours (with a lot of exploring and a ~1 hr stop at the last willow lake). Only about 10 parking spots at the trail head and signs that say no parking on the neighborhood streets, so get there early if it’s prime hiking season. We arrived at 8:15 am and got the second to last spot.

2 months ago

Really beautiful trail and not too hard to get to. Went in early June when water was running heavily through the streams and waterfalls, and it was just incredibly beautiful. Also has the opportunity to go for as short or long of a hike as you want and still see beautiful things.

hiking
3 months ago

4 stars only because the trail was a major pain! We weren’t sure what to expect and just went for it. Lots of postholing and climbing over logs across the trail made it much more effort to get to the lakes. Talked to a woman who was on her way back with snowshoes, gaiters, the works, and she said it took her 4 hours to get there and it wasn’t much fun. We turned back after about 2.5 miles and I think most other folks out there did the same. Will have to attempt later in the summer as I hear the lakes are beautiful!

hiking
9 months ago

Definitely a cool trail but definitely not a winter hike. Managed to do it yesterday but probably took a few hours longer than it should have. Not mad about it at all, just sore from walking in unpacked snow most of the way. Incredible setting where the lakes are situated, which were frozen, just don't do it out of season unless you want a real good workout.

backpacking
10 months ago

Great trail

backpacking
10 months ago

Absolutely gorgeous trail and only moderately difficult. We had some trouble because the signage is terrible and the map we had was garbage. However, despite adding an extra six miles to our hike, we had a great time. Camping near the upper lake was epic. Fishing was great. Very chilly up at the lakes but the trail was warm most of the way up.

backpacking
11 months ago

Beautiful place for a mini backpacking trip! We stopped at Salmon Lake, and had it to ourselves to camp. From the Willow Lakes trailhead, going left at that Willow Trail / Ditch trail fork is a longer route in, but a very forgiving and much more beautiful than the other route to the right. We took the other one on the way back, which made the return hike shorter. I would definitely recommend doing it that way, even though it adds some miles in the beginning! The last 2 hours to the lake is a steady incline, so be prepared to take a lot of breaks. We fly fished at the lake and got into some big brook trout right away!

backpacking
11 months ago

HARD! But awesome. I accidentally went the wrong way because the trail is not labeled on signs. I started at Willowbrook Trailhead, then took the gorge/cantina trail west rather than the ditch trail which takes you Northwest and along the route to willow creek trail. Although I added miles to my hike, it was significantly more beautiful than the ditch/willow creek way. I recommend that route if you are backpacking and can do the mileage, it's worth it. There is also about a two hour uphill section that is brutal, so pace yourself and rest if needed. The last mile or two was insanely beautiful.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Amazing trip! did it solo this am and it took 5 hours. Steady incline to the final lake. Beautiful and worth the 13 miles :)

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The upper lake is the best; tons of wildflowers just downstream of the last lake and a very friendly herd of Mountain Goats. They want to lick the salt off your pack and hiking poles! It's just shy of 13 miles round trip to the upper lake.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

can't recommend it enough. a few things to note:

1. Some of the bridges are busted as hell, but still passable.

2. It's an 11.8 mile round trip to *the first * of the Willow Lakes. It's probably closer to a 13-mile trip to the last one

3. Some people complained about signage, but I thought it was pretty good. Trouble is you can't find this trail on MOST maps. It is, owever, on the 2016 USFS Maps on CalTopo.com

4. It is flippin gorgeous. LOUSY with wildflowers.

hiking
Monday, July 17, 2017

It's a long walk, but definitely worth it! The trail itself is gorgeous! It's not the best marked trail, and there are some less than stable bridges you have to cross, but it's an incredible trail!

backpacking
Sunday, July 09, 2017

The trail isn't super amazing but the destination sure is! Backpacked here July 4th weekend and had it to ourselves. Still plenty of snow at final mile. Would have liked traction. Was glad to have GPS track from prior visit as Trail was a bit lost getting to lower and upper Lake. Best sites and view at lower Lake. Saw family of white goats in distance. Climbed over 28 downed trees on trail. Took us about 6 hours to hike in, 4 to hike out. Nice flowers!

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Amazing trail but it's a whole day. 3 hours in 1 hour at the lake up top and 2.5 back. Great stream crossings the whole way. Got to salmon lakes and got a bit lost due to the snowfall but follow the stream up and you will see the wood logs lined up that will take you to willow lakes. I stopped at the middle lake and it and it's views were incredible!!

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Amazing trail but it's a whole day. 3 hours in 1 hour at the lake up top and 2.5 back. Great stream crossings the whole way. Got to salmon lakes and got a bit lost due to the snowfall but follow the stream up and you will see the wood logs lined up that will take you to willow lakes. I stopped at the middle lake and it and it's views were incredible!!

Monday, July 03, 2017

Great hike! Lost the trail about halfway between Salmon Lake and Willow Lakes due to snow but made it to the top lake easily enough following the stream up on the south facing slope. Awesome lakes filled with little trout!

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Nice trail, got confused and went up the wrong path. 7 miles round trip

hiking
Saturday, July 01, 2017

Wonderful trail that is pretty appropriately rated. I took the Willowbrook trail that linked to Mesa Cortina trail to Gore Range trail towards the lakes out and back, which ended up being a little longer in miles (15) compared to the one marked on the map. You will see "Willow Lakes" etched on signs to help you. It was a beautiful hike with lots of streams and differing scenery to keep things interesting; I never once felt bored. I ended my hike at Salmon Lake, which was pristine, peaceful, and lovely since I wasn't able to reach Willow Lakes due to trail blockage by a large, fallen tree and rushing water from a small waterfall.

camping
Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Great easy hike even with a good amount of weight in a pack.

snowshoeing
Monday, February 27, 2017

snowshoeing was amazing. deep powder

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Such a great hike! It is a long one, but so worth it! Amazing lakes and streams.

backpacking
Saturday, September 17, 2016

I backpack this trail every year with some friends. It takes between 2.5-3.5 hrs to get in. The first half mile and then then mile 2.5-3.5 can be rough while backpacking, but overall the hike is pleasant. The scenery and fishing at the top are awesome.

hiking
Thursday, September 01, 2016

One of my top 5 hikes in Colorado. It's a great year round trail as it's pretty well traveled. The first 30 minutes follows along a river and is quite shady making it very comfortable in the summer. At the fork, you can pick up the Gore Range trail and head in either direction. If you take a right at the fork, there is a series of waterfalls about 1 to 1 1/2 hrs back. This area is not very shaded and can be quite hot but is well worth the trip.

hiking
Monday, June 27, 2016

nice trail; make sure you hit the falls!

hiking
Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Nice trail, pretty packed snow, but still fell through a bit.

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