Explore the most popular lake trails near Carbondale with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
10 days ago

Absolutely loved this hike. Fantastic views of surrounding 14er peaks (Capital, Maroon Bells, Pyramid). Our GPS showed this as a 13.4 mile hike with 4,600 feet of gain. We are both experienced hikers and in good shape, took us 3.5 hours up, and almost 3 back. The first 3.5 to 4 miles to the lakes is easy as you only gain around 1,600 feet during this portion. The next 3 miles will test you some. You take several switchbacks up above the lake to the side of Sopris peak. From there the next section is a steep 300 feet up and very rocky. Once up to the ridge the climb is stunning and the path is pretty easy to follow to the summit. You will go over a false summit and go along a second ridge to get to the true summit. While you can peer over ledges down thousands of feet, the trails are more than wide enough to not feel exposed. I am not a huge fan of exposure and had zero issues. Enjoy!!!!

This is a nasty steep overgrown trail from the west. A great waterfall at 10,000ft. My dog, Chopper, and I pooped out about 1000ft below the pass, but the views and flowers were good above 10,500.

Great little hike up to the lakes. The trailhead is across the creek on the other side meadow, look for an old fence and sign. When you get near the lakes the trail cuts to the right and you may have to bushwhack a little to get to the lakes. On an exciting note we saw a bear across the far lake from us, which motivated us to cut our break short. Overall fun little hike.

hiking
19 days ago

Great hike, camped at site 11 near the lake. There was not water at either of the two stream crossings on the way up, so first opportunity to filter water was the lake.

backpacking
1 month ago

Hiked in from the ditch trail to the lake at base camp. We went June 9, 2018 and encountered some snow fields across many of the switch backs at higher elevations. That night got well below freezing as we expected it might. Beautiful hike, although I would recommend going a bit later in the summer. If you hike the upper trail (ditch trail) bring mosquito spray, ditch water is stagnant an full of mosquitoes

Lush vegetation - beautiful raging creek next to trail.

you need an experienced 4x4 driver. That got us to the town of crystal which is about 2miles away from the trailhead. We were in a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee. We were able to go get past crystal about .5miles up until the sharp steep switchback with a big boulder in the middle. The drive to crystal took about 2hr. We began to walk from that point it was very rocky and steep. It is made for vehicles and off road toys ie side by sides and four wheelers. You need a narrow frame and wheel base to make it up to the all the way to the trailhead. It gets tricky due to no signage. We made a wrong turn and realized we would run out of sunlight if we did the actual trail. There is a bridge that goes to the left and I believe the trailhead is about .6miles up from that point but we unfortunately did not make it. If you can get your vehicle up there it is absolutely beautiful we saw 4waterfalls,rapids, and stunning mountain views. If you decide to walk from the bottom you will have to be careful due to the amount of vehicles that take the trail and leave little room to step to the side in many places. If you walk from the bottom of the mountain by beaver lake it is about 13miles total. It will be steep and crowded with cars. I heard it was a beautiful view and will try and make it back one day now that I know what to expect.

backpacking
1 month ago

Beautiful! We didn’t get to the lake because the it was still too snowy, there are many trees on path, but made it close to the lake.

hiking
8 months ago

While moving towards the trailhead you enter a aspen tree tunnel, and as it clears you are greeted by grand views of forest, creeks, and Capitol peak in the distance. The trail as some points I found a bit confusing to follow, due to cattle grazing trails in the area, but it is not hard to stay oriented in the direction you need to go. Beautiful open fields filled with flowers, delicious snow melt creeks, and towering rocks made this an unforgettable hike for me. I just went for the day, but it seems like a great place to stay overnight. Also the road to the trail was under-repair, so it may be nicely paved by now. Cheers

Did this -many times in 70s- 80s -90s don't get any better. Check out the little lake on top the gem-it has ice all year. I believe is Siberia lake. Nice to see young ones have the same taste- once stayed till ran out of supplies-(15 days)

hiking
10 months ago

Tough hike, stated 5.5-6 miles to the lake seems MUCH longer but I guess not. If you don't enjoy steep ups and downs use Ditch TRAIL which cuts into Capitol a few miles in, not as much water for the dogs though.

Great trail! Once you pass the tree line be very careful! Especially coming down! Can be just tough footing. Defiantly recommend! Be conscious of the signs your body is telling you such as altitude sickness and shaky legs! Amazing view and wonderful challenge.

hiking
10 months ago

This is my Favorite 14er so far amazing hike in to base camp. Nice gradual gain for carrying in all your gear to drop at camp. We summited the following morning leaving camp around 4:45 and Summiting around 9 am. The hike to the summit is not for the faint of heart very difficult and technical and has lots of loose rock. Crossing Knife Edge is the most talked about part, but I found it to be not as bad as the traverse across the back of the summit and climb up the ridge to the summit. All in all great hike and climb. I would recommend a 2 day trip as we did to make the summit round trip a success.

backpacking
11 months ago

I would definitely do this again, but be warned: on the west side this is a very lightly used trail with few markers and many obstacles. Fallen trees, overgrown brush, and many times the trail abruptly stops and you may spend time searching for the path further along. Make sure you have a map and compass, though the most updated map has incorrect ISO lines.

The east side seems to be more traversed and easier to navigate, coming from Capital Creek.

We went west to east from Avalanche, up over the pass, then down to Williams Lake. A beautiful hike, through meadows, past waterfalls, and breathtaking views at the top. We tried to leave markers as we went, many had toppled over.

It took us about 6 hours, spending 1 hour at the top to admire the views. It can be done in about 4.

hiking
11 months ago

Breathtaking!!! Kicked my butt BUT worth every struggling breath I took and 4 toenails I lost...time to hike the beauty again soon...can never get enough! ❤

love this hike. This was third time for me, and second fort my daughter. Real challenge with nothing but beautiful sites.

hiking
11 months ago

Absolutely amazing! We hiked up to Geneva Lake from the trailhead the quick way. Camped out in spot number three with beautiful views of Snowmass Mountain. We hiked up to Little gem lake and that was well worth it. Even took a dip in the lake. Afterwards we headed out to complete the loop. Strenuous and 3 creek crossings, but I loved it.

hiking
11 months ago

Really beautiful hike. We hiked in four miles to enjoy both lakes, then back down. Highly recommend. Very dog friendly hike as well.

hiking
Saturday, July 15, 2017

Nice backpacking trip, with beautiful meadows and nice little lake at the end. While 'moderate' for most of the hike, the switchbacks at top were fairly taxing. Fished along the creek and at the lake as well. The trail is labeled as 'heavy use', but we didn't see a soul between miles 4 and 11. Be advised that in this area you are required to have a 'hard sided' bear container, and non-compliance is 'no more than $5000 fine'.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Great hike! The last mile at the top was rocky and tough. Started at 6:00 am and got to the summit in 4 hours. Lots of bikers, dogs and fellow hikers.

Monday, June 26, 2017

The snow has melted enough to make it to the top. Wear sunscreen

Monday, June 12, 2017

Avalanche Lake trail is a great getaway nature hike that features the Crystal River and a local campsite. It is a great change of pace for someone used to hiking the dry hills areas near the valley. It is highly forested and is very moderate. I would suggest it as a relaxation hike and suggest camping and fishing here.

hiking
Friday, June 09, 2017

Hiked 6.6.17 watch the weather storms move in late a.m early pm but last 30 minutes or so stay protected in forest it'll pass river is awesome , meadows beautiful look @ the back side of maroon bells great warm up hike for more difficult terrain

Sunday, June 04, 2017

We hiked 8.5 miles in and out. Beautiful hike. Not very crowded. Incredibly hot!

hiking
Thursday, May 11, 2017

We've hiked this a few times in the Autumn. We go for about an hour and then head back. Gorgeous and not strenuous.

hiking
Wednesday, January 04, 2017

dogs are currently not allowed and the locals are pretty serious about enforcing

hiking
Friday, October 14, 2016

We never even made it to the trailhead. In the "getting there" section describing this hike, the road description of "a fairly difficult 4 wheel drive road with some steep drop offs" should be rewritten. It is NOWHERE near an easy place to get to. The road is badly rutted & uneven, rocks jutting everywhere, steep incline, teeth rattling, gut wrenching ride. Be forewarned. The hike may be terrific but getting there could potentially do damage to your vehicle.

hiking
Saturday, October 08, 2016

really nice in the woods

hiking
Thursday, July 14, 2016

Very nice day hike, started off easy and became more difficult around the fork with the hell roaring trail.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

awesome 4x4 driving up and down to the trail head, be prepared to take it slow. The trail itself offers amazing view of the Maroon Peaks and a waterfall. Once you arrive at the lake, hop on a rock and enjoy one of the best views in Colorado

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