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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Spud Lake Trail #661 - Potato Lake, CO

no permit
59 5 0
Guide 5 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List CO > Southwest
4 of 5 by 5
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Distance Round Trip 2.3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 9,393 feet
Elevation Gain 416 feet
Accumulated Gain 439 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 1.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 4.5
Interest Perennial Creek
Backpack Yes
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
10  2016-07-02 chumley
9  2016-07-02 John9L
12  2016-06-04 hippiepunkpirate
13  2013-08-14 Al_HikesAZ
15  2009-06-16 PrestonSands
Author PrestonSands
author avatar Guides 168
Routes 149
Photos 5,534
Trips 1,317 map ( 6,690 miles )
Age 42 Male Gender
Location Oro Valley, AZ
Co-Author ryan321
co-author avatarGuides 2
Routes 0
Photos 0
Trips 1 map (3 Miles)
Age Male Gender
Location tempe, az
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Aug, Jun, Jul, Sep → Any
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  5:55am - 6:15pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
mashed potatos, no gravy needed
by PrestonSands & ryan321

Likely In-Season!
Overview: This easy out and back hike takes one through aspen groves and past beaver ponds to beautiful Potato or "Spud" Lake, near Purgatory, Colorado. Potato Lake is a great destination for hikers with small children, and is reported to be stocked for fishing. This trail is quite popular due to its scenic destination, so don't expect solitude.

Hike: From the informal and often crowded trailhead, adjacent to lily pad covered Scout Lake, the Spud Lake Trail #661 departs from a trail sign into an attractive mix of aspens, columbines, and wildflowers, following the route of an old road. While gradually ascending, the old road narrows into a footpath, and the hike crosses an open hillside where one can get a nice view to the west of the 12,000 foot, barren rock summits of Grayrock Peak and Engineer Mountain, from a rocky viewpoint near the trail.

Spruce trees begin to fill the forest, as the route descends to the nameless cascading creek that empties Potato Lake. Beaver ponds abound as the trail follows the little creek upstream. To the east, the jagged summits of the West Needle Mountains scrape the sky at more than 13,000 feet, while the rounded, rocky mass of Potato Hill looms to the north.

Nearing its end, the trail proceeds through a low pass, and arrives at Potato Lake, situated in a shallow, forested bowl, at the base of 11,871 foot Potato Hill. The trail ends here, although one can circumnavigate the lake along a well used footpath to enjoy a changing view of this beautiful area.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2009-07-01 PrestonSands & ryan321
    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.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    Spud Lake Trail #661 - Potato Lake
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    After hiking the Purgatory Creek Trail we drove over to Potato Lake TH. The road in is a bit rough but there was at least one sedan that made it. This hike is very straightforward as the trail gradually gains elevation. We passed a nice lookout and a few nice size ponds on our hike up. Soon after we hit the Potato Lake which is surrounded by majestic peaks. We had good weather for this and really enjoyed the lake as we made a counter clockwise loop around it. We took a short break on the far side and then finished off the loop and returned to Chumley’s truck at the trailhead. This was a really nice hike that took about an hour or so. It was well worth the time and effort.
    Spud Lake Trail #661 - Potato Lake
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Is it Potato Lake or Spud Lake? Nobody knows. But it made for an easy follow-up afternoon hike. The road to the TH is a bit rough, but the hike is a perfect family outing and for a holiday weekend we saw a few of them along the way. There are 4-5 campsites around the lake and one of them was occupied. Otherwise this was just a pleasant hike through the forest with not much elevation gain. The views from Liam's Lookout down the 550 corridor along the Hermosa Cliffs to Purgatory and beyond were great. But the highlight is the lake and the looming West Needles that rise above it.
    Spud Lake Trail #661 - Potato Lake
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    I feel bad I haven't shared on HAZ in a long time. I have been diversifying my exercise so I'm not hiking nearly as much as I used to, but I think I got some awesome photos during my Colorado trip in early June so I gotta share! This was a little dayhike on the Potato Lake Trail (known to locals of Durango as Spud Lake). It was an awesome little hike, and the lake at the trailhead itself was pretty sweet too. Great views on the hike up, and Potato Lake was super relaxing. We were there on a saturday so it was a bit busy with fisherman but still awesome non the less.
    Spud Lake Trail #661 - Potato Lake
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Went on vacation with my wife to Durango. Our first time to Durango so lots of sightseeing and not a lot of hiking. Lunch at the Cypress Café then to Gardenswarz Outdoors on Main. I bought Hiking Trails of Southern Colorado by Paul Pixler and I bought the Durango Colorado Trails Recreation Topo Map by Latitude 40 I give the book 4 1/2 stars and the map 5 stars.

    We were guests of a friend who owns a place at Durango Mountain Resort. So this was our base of operations.

    I had a list of several hikes. But our friend mentioned that she would like to hike to Spud Lake. She used to hike this often with her children and late husband. She had memories of her husband teaching the kids how to skip stones across the lake. She hadn’t hiked in Durango since her husband – Gary Bird – was killed on 9/11 at the World Trade Center. So Spud Lake it was.

    The road in is an adventure. Open range so we had a wait for some cattle to move across the road. Nice little hike, not much AEG. Lots of beaver activity. I saw the ripples of a beaver, but did not quite see the beaver. This is monsoon season so some threatening clouds and a brief drizzle. Lots of mushrooms at this time of year. Lots of families at the lake. Donna prayed and meditated while I walked around the lake. A boy and his father were fishing. They had caught some brook trout and one small rainbow. As we were hiking out, two birders motioned for us to be quiet and handed us the binoculars and showed us where to look to see a moose. We waited for between 5 -10 minutes but it was bedded down for the afternoon just lazily munching on greens. They have been reintroduced to the Weminuche and are apparently doing well. But locals were impressed that we had seen one.
    Spud Lake Trail #661 - Potato Lake
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Twenty years after hiking this with my dad, I returned with my brother Ryan for a late afternoon hike. Even the drive in was outstanding. We desert dwellers were in Heaven, and lingered long. We hiked around the lake, took loads of pics, then headed back.

    After the hike, we drove north to Silverton in the waning light, where we had Mexican food at the only restaurant that was open. Not great, but we were hungry. The night took us further north, over Red Mtn Pass, and dodging scores of deer, before checking into Comfort Inn in Ouray.

    Ouray convenience store clerk at 10 pm: "Are you looking for something?" Mr. Sands,(in his mind) purposely knocking a bag of Doritos onto the floor: "Yea, trouble."
    A very special day it was!


    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

    To hike
    From Durango, drive north on U.S. Highway 550 for about 28 miles to Old Lime Creek Road, at milepost 51.5. Turn right and follow Old Lime Creek Road for 2.9 miles to the small trailhead parking area on the left (just past lily-pad filled Scout Lake). A sign for "Spud Lake" marks the start of the trail.
    page created by PrestonSands on Jul 01 2009 1:41 am
    3 pack - loud whistle
    safety first
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