"an easy to reach gem in the San Juans"
Opal Lake is an easy to reach lake in the South San Juan Wilderness area. It derives its name from the cloudy colored, mineral rich water that pours into the lake from one of its feeder streams. Opal Lake is an ideal hike for the family, or beginning backpacker. The trail to the lake can also serve as a connector to more ambitious treks and other hikes in the area.
The trail gains just over 500 feet in one mile and is a little steep in areas, but very well maintained and easy to follow, with a couple of pretty standard creek crossings. The highlights of this short hike include the aspen groves along the way and of course the lake. One should expect crowds on the weekends and holidays, however, solitude can be found with choosing proper times and days to hike to this lake. There are a couple of nice camping areas at the terminus of the trail and along the shoreline. There was evidence of people fishing the lake when we visited, but I am unsure of the lake's viability as a source for fishing. The area appears to have some tremendous potential for fall colors and early season hikers should only expect to reach the lake due to lingering snow.
This hike is listed as One-Way.
When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.