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

Great trail minus the 180lb mountain lion I spotted about 40 yards from me on my way up. Was about 5 min from reaching top and once I saw I could be cat food I stood tall and slowly started stepping backwards. I think I came down in record time.lol

hiking
22 days ago

We only hiked 2.5miles in, but it was a very nice hike. Great fishing as well and we were lucky enough to see 3 moose! Bring bug spray.

A challenging trail with amazing views! Our family loved it!

hiking
1 month ago

Just did (7/6-7/8) Williams Creek Trail (587) to Williams Lake Trail (664) ending at Williams Lake (returned same way total 24 mi). Lots of deadfall trees (125 trees and i did count them) on trail, but crew clearing trail should be done by now. Crew said they cut and move 50 trees/d. Hats off and thanks. Heading up you pass a nice campsite on left with large meadow and creek access at about 3.5mi. Trail crosses Williams creek twice on way up. Can rock hop across this year with relatively low flow (years past you get wet feet). I camped at last large meadow on right before the steeps at about 6.2mi. This site has good terrain for camping and the creek is close, but lots and lots of black flies. Trail surface is good to excellent all the way to the lake. Intersect Williams lake trail at 8.2 mi. Lots of fair camping locations in this area. Lake at 10.6 mi and is above tree line. This year lake is green with high temps and low flows. Monsoon season has begun with high probability of afternoon and evening rain, hail, and lightning. If you can get beyond the abundant dead blue spruce trees, this is a very nice hike with excellent exposures of varied volcanic geology. Trail offers possibility of connection to Continental divide trail (beyond Williams lake about .8 mi) and a return hike via Squaw Pass and Cimarrona Creek Trail.

backpacking
1 month ago

In the end, it was an amazing weekend (6/29 - 7/1/18) There were 194 downed logs on the trail which added hours having to climb over/under, go around them. We ran into a horse crew on the way down that said a crew was going to be there 1st or 2nd week in July. Wouldn’t do it again unless clear.

There was an upside; didn’t see another soul at the lake the entire weekend. Beautiful spot in the world. GREAT fishing so take your fly rod. Day hiking was accessible and the divide trail only 30-1hr from lake. Wildflowers were going off. Smoke was varying all weekend due to fires.

hiking
8 months ago

The start of the trail follows an old road for a couple miles which isn't the most interesting thing to walk on but makes for a nice warm up I suppose. Shortly after crossing the wilderness boundary you're in the woods and there you'll stay until you get above the trees at the final mile or two. The setting where the lake is situated is one of the most stunning I've seen. It sits almost as tall as the next highest point around. Walking around the lake to the ridge behind offers an even more impressive view along with a view of the valleys and peaks on the other side. I imagine in the summer this would be rather moderate like Peter mentions but doing it in December created quite the challenge. Some deep snow made trail finding near the top impossible but it's impossible to get lost walking between these two giant plateaus so finding the lake wasn't an issue. Worth ever amount of effort.
by the way... the gate was still open when I went so you can drive all the way to the trailhead.

Pretty. We only took it for 2 miles and turned around due to dark clouds overtop.

Beautiful day to hike William's Creek Trail! We forgot to download the map and of course there is no service in the valley. Even if we'd had the map, I don't think it would have helped us. The All Trails app says that at 6.1 miles, the trail stops but backpackers said that you could take it to the Continental Divide Trail. And our Gazetteer map shows that we could have gone as far as a lake just below the CDT if we had gone about 2 miles further. As it was, I think we went in about 6 miles - crossed two pretty good-sized rivers and passed through three large, gorgeous meadows. Great day!

backpacking
11 months ago

fantastic place to get away from society. My dad and I spent a week here backpacking and the trails were great and there is plenty of spots to get water. Slide Lake isn't really a lake anymore but it's great hiking. And the fishing is good. caught some rainbows and brookies.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Hiked on July 28. Steep uphill climb at first 1.5 miles. Gets easier after that thru nice meadows. At split between two trails we stayed left. At 3 miles nice Creek that my group played in. We turned around and went back at that point.

Lovely hike and a beautiful valley once you get out of the climbing section. Plenty of water, so no need to carry a lot of it. Will definitely return!

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Trail was great but if you're staying at the big blue campground near the trailhead its even better. 2 roads in, take alpine road if you're feeling really crazy, 1 lane with tight switchbacks, a much shorter drive in, but not for those afraid of heights.

backpacking
Saturday, August 06, 2016

A very mudding trail used mainly by those packing in with horses. If it rains very much, the streams become rivers to cross.

hiking
Friday, July 08, 2016

Great hike with some beautiful views. The look down the canyon at about 1.5 miles in on the switchbacks is great! About 3.5 miles in there was a pretty deep creek crossing, getting shin deep was unavoidable. Went about 4.5 miles in before turning around for the out and back.

camping
Friday, November 20, 2015

My 13 year old son and I hiked this loop/out and back as our inaugural Colorado backpacking trip. We are from Florida, hike the Smokies extensively, and well, Colorado blew our minds. Period. The entire approach up the valley is filled with super rad stuff, and treats like little strawberries on the edge of the trail for munching! Weminuche pass was impressive, as was the first glimpse we caught of Rio Grande Pyramid. I personally felt like Frodo from Lord of the Rings heading into some mystical uncharted realm. It was a surreal and fantastic experience being able to walk amongst such grand beauty.

We never made the window, but we summited the Pyramid on our second morning and hurried back to the car the same day. My only gripe on this trail was the extensive bark beetle damage. In some places entire mountainsides of pole pines are standing, dead and gray. :(

hiking
Wednesday, September 16, 2015

We have hiked and snowshoed this trail several times. North of town and off the beaten path, we never encountered another person while on this trail. Some portions are steep and strenuous, but overall the trail is light-moderate. The trail was not well-defined as we neared Devil's Lake and traveled over rocky terrain. Maybe we were off course. Our map and GPS let us know that we were headed in the right direction. Some signs of old hunting camps along the way, but otherwise completely undisturbed. Depending on the time of year that you access this trail, you might have to park prior to the bridge and hike (or snowshoe) to the trail head during the winter.

hiking
Wednesday, September 16, 2015

This is one of our favorite trails. It is great for out-and-back hikes, or your may connect to Alpine Gulch on top and go down the other side of the mountain.

WARNING: Many hikers will tell you to "just follow the cairns" to connect to Alpine Gulch. We tried this last year and ended-up bush-wacking off the mountain until we finally found the Alpine Gulch trail. Our error was not taking a map, and the map on our Garmin GPS did not connect the two trails. Thankfully the GPS did allow us to plot a course that connected to a portion of Alpine Gulch which allowed us to get off the mountain. Local Search and Rescue guys say that this is a common trail where hikers get lost on top of the mountain. This would be a bad place to be lost when a storm rolls-in, as there is no quick and easy escape.

The view above the tree line from Williams Creek is FANTASTIC. Several gulch crossings were steep and covered with snow when we went, but we managed the crossings without incident. We saw the largest coyote ever... or possibly a black wolf... but everyone says that there are no wolves in this area.

There are numerous creek crossings along the Alpine Gulch side, so be prepared to get wet or cross with care.

hiking
Wednesday, September 16, 2015

We hiked an out-and-back portion of the Big Blue Trail yesterday with our 2 Australian Cattle Dogs. The drive to the trail head was not too bad. We were in a Jeep, used the 4x4 on the way up and back, but nearly any vehicle could have made the drive without problem. The only exception to this were several large puddles of water .25 miles from the parking spot. These were significant and deep due to a recent rain.

This trail is predominantly surrounded with trees for the first 4-5 miles. We did not get into the open until around mile #6. Big Blue creek is almost always nearby, and can bee seen or heard almost always. We saw very few signs of deer, elk, or other animals on this hike, but many species of birds were observed and heard.

There were a few trees across the trail, but all were easy to go around or over. The trail is well-work from years of use, but the trail appeared to be used very little in recent years. We did not see any signs of bicycles, camping, trash, or anything else that would indicate heavy usage.

According to other online reports and map study, this trail will connect to the Uncompahgre Trail, and then out of the wilderness via Nellie Creek. This could be done in one day, but would certainly be a long-haul. We hiked to "Slide Lake" as some folks call it, then for another 30 minutes to get clear of the trees. One day we will return to complete a point-to-point hike and go out the other side.

Great hike for kids or folks who are looking for a less strenuous hike. Just go in as far as you want, then turn around and come out.

on Big Blue Trail

hiking
Thursday, July 03, 2014

Great trail with tons of adventure. Moderate hiking with multiple stream crossings. Went early in season and little streams were big streams with run off but that kept more people away. Gorgeous and worth every step!

hiking
Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Great trail. Beautiful views. Easy walk but there are a loud of downed trees from the bark beetles. It's still a great hike.

hiking
Thursday, March 27, 2014

Beautiful trail that leads up to Uncompahgre Peak. Gains quite a bit of altitude, so make sure you are acclimated before trekking out (learned that one by failed experience). The trail generally follows Big Blue Creek so there is plenty of water along the trail, along with beautiful flowers and panoramic mountain views. One note of caution, the drive in to the trailhead is a bumpy one and if there has been a lot of recent rain, low clearance vehicles might not make it up. Overall a beautiful hike. I highly recommend it!

hiking
Sunday, May 12, 2013

Nice, easy trail overall. Babbling brook along side - wonderful to listen to while walking. We went May 11, 2013 - no snow but ice still in creek. Dogs allowed. Great vistas of surrounding terra.

hiking
6 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

backpacking
5 months ago

hiking
9 months ago

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