Explore the most popular camping 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.

I've hiked seven 14ers so far. This was my least favorite, but still worthwhile. I approached from Matterhorn Creek TH, as I also climbed Wetterhorn the same day.

The people I met on the trail were great!

Big exposure on top if you want it! Don't trip or slip!

hiking
5 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.

hiking
5 months ago

Really great hike. I'm sorry Kevin below didn't enjoy it as much but I thought it was really spectacular. The Aspen forest was huge, one of the largest I've seen, and the lake was gorgeous, although frozen and snowy in parts which might have added to the beauty. Perhaps early December is the time to go, if you don't mind snow. The dirt road leading to the trailhead has a few forks along the way, take the first left and stay straight the rest of the way. Also, this trail does not actually make into the wilderness boundary. Still feels like wilderness though.

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
8 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.

hiking
8 months ago

Went up September 2015. It was hard for sure. Some of the trail at the top is hard to find. Some terrain is steep with loose rocks. Caution is required. The views on a clear day are amazing and worth the hike.

One of my favorite 14ers (25)! 4x4 trail is rugged but if you can start from the upper parking lot....it's one of the best hikes imaginable. Best views of the San Juan Mt. Range!!!!

trail running
8 months ago

Gorgeous!!! Beautiful rolling green slopes. Brutally up hill on the way there but manageable. There even some little kids with their parents coming down as we went up. If you have to walk the 5 miles up to the trailhead it adds a lot so be prepared.

Loved everything about this hike minus the 4 mile drive to the TH and out.

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.

The hardest part might be getting to the trailhead. Once you start the hike it is easy to get thrown off the trail towards a 13,000ft peak, don't do that.

hiking
10 months ago

We have spent many summers hiking in Colorado and seen many beautiful lakes (Ice, Columbine, Blue Lakes) and gone on many beautiful hikes. Unfortunately, this was not one of my favorites or one that I would recommend. The lake was pretty, but there are prettier lakes & waterfalls to see in town. You do go through a large aspen forest, but other than that, the trail views are average. As an experienced hiker, I would say this hike leans more toward hard rather than moderate. You gain 3,000 ft in elevation quickly. We took a group of inexperienced hikers with us and it was a mistake. They really struggled. It's always fun to spend a day in the mountains, but I would say look into other hikes if possible!

hiking
10 months ago

I did this trail with my parents when I was about 11. It is extremely hard. Needless to say, we made it all the way to the summit, thanks to some hikers we met on their way down. You will need proper equipment if you want to summit the peak.

Awesome trail! 99% of the snow is melted, prime time to hit the summit. The 4 mile road up to the trailhead is intense, two pretty serious steam crossings. Ended up hiking up from the road, 16.3 miles round trip. I reckon this is a good first 14'er to get your feet wet. Epic!

hiking
11 months ago

This is a tough and worthwhile hike. Did it September of 2015 and it did not disappoint. There will parking about 1 mile or so north of the trailhead because the last bit takes quite high off-road capabilities. Jacked up jeeps and trucks should be fine but it's rough and relatively steep. Trails start is very easy as it just strolls through meadow. Don't be fooled, it gets tough a couple miles in. No shade once above treeline which is a majority of it. Bring a good hat and lots of water. Couple nice river crossings and lots of wildflowers in the right season. Again, no shade so be prepared for that. 10,000-12,000 ft with no shade can be exhausting. Toward the end of the hike is large scree field that's moderately sketchy but it's a beautiful hike. We were the only people on the trail that day. 360 views of awesome.

hiking
Monday, February 06, 2017

Tried for the summit with my son in Oct. of 2013. We were turned around at just over 13,000' due to the horrific wind that day. Can't imagine what it would have been like on top. Too many nice days to hike, to be out in that kind of wind. I'll be back. Easy trail and great views above tree line!! The road in is god awful though. 4x4 for sure, and very narrow if you meet another vehicle. Luckily we didn't.

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
Monday, September 26, 2016

Absolutely stunning trail in the Autumn...The hills were on fire with color ...& then snow. Beautiful!!!
Steady climb to be sure but worth it!!

hiking
Sunday, September 11, 2016

Cool 14er!

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
Thursday, August 04, 2016

Very cool 14er! I enjoyed it, and it's great for kids because it's so open. Also a great place for marmots

Saturday, July 09, 2016

The trip up to the trail head was rough but any decent 4x4 should make it. The mileage from the TH is incorrect. It is over 9 miles round trip. I don't know where the extra mile came from but it was approximately 4.6 miles from TH to summit. The trail was otherwise as advertised. Very scenic and fairly challenging especially the last half mile or so. Well worth it. The weather was perfect. I think this is a must for any 14ner hiker.

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.

hiking
Monday, July 04, 2016

Incredible view if you continue 1/2 mile above the lake!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Ended up being 12 miles because the road was too bad to get all the way to the trailhead, even with 4 wheel drive. In the end was worth it. Very beautiful with a well defined trail

hiking
Wednesday, October 14, 2015

3 miles? You kidding? I met a hiker doing 15 miles because he didn't feel confident with his Tacoma pick-up, much less a passenger car. The JEEP TRAIL to the upper trailhead is rough and subject to "change". Only then are you looking at 7.25 miles RT.
*getting water here is difficult, unless you're 100% confident in your filtration. Heavy horse activity in the lowers and just difficult to get at it in the higher. Carry it in.
*don't drink Wetterhorn area either, it's all orange. Seeing the theme here? Carry your water in.
*Uncompahgre is a tough climb and attempts to punch you in the jimmy right prior to the top. If the West side is snowy/wet, you could be in for it.
*beware the mounted hunter during season.

hiking
Wednesday, September 30, 2015

I returned to this trail recently after a botched attempt at a thru-hike from Williams Creek in 2014. Last year we came up Williams Creek and found snow on the Alpine Gulch side that completely obscured the trail down from the ridge line. My wife and our dogs went down a false trail and ended-up bushwacking off the mountain.

On this successful attempt we started our Alpine Gulch hike early in the morning. The sun was not yet shining into the gulch and there was ice on the trail. There were numerous water crossings, but we managed to cross all of them with little difficulty. Some were crossed via logs, while others were made via stepping stones or just carefully stepping across via shallow-water pools.

The trail was initially well-worn and easily identified. Only one sign at the trail head and another after a few miles and water crossings. As we entered a large gulch we had to search carefully for the trail due to thick brush. It appeared that we should head off to the right up one gulch, but we found more tracks and signs leading to left up a different (and correct) gulch.

Entering the forest again we began climbing through a forest filled with flowers and fallen trees. This eventually put us onto a ridge and ultimately onward toward a descent via Williams Creek. The trail was easy to identify through this area. Look for large (5 foot tall!) cairns along a treeless trail once you are above the treeline.

We then reached a point where the trail ran-off into the grass and simply stopped. Looking behind us, and to the right, we could then see another well-worn trail leading up a steep ridgeline. Retracing our steps we found stones in the trail in an attempt to "point" us into this direction through the tall grass.

It was a strenuous climb to the ridge marked cairns. Sometimes the trail wasn't evident, but the cairns marked the way.

The views were spectacular. Strenuous, but well worth the effort.

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.

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