This was plan B after the rain and storm washed out my chances of summiting a couple of 14ers in the Lizard Head Wilderness. The trail is in excellent shape and the views going up were superb. The lake is pretty scenic as well, but it’s not nearly as scenic as it could be due to its extremely low levels. It is essentially a pond right now. The city of Telluride has definitely strained this lake, but it is a man made lake, so maybe there is not much concern there. I am not sure if the city stops drawing from it when it reaches a certain level, but one more dry winter and with continued allocation to Telluride, this lake may not really exist any longer past this summer. I wanted to hike up to the pass above the lake, but was chased off by a nasty little storm cell.
We heard about this hike from our server at The New Sheridan Chop House. So glad he shared it with us -it was beautiful!! It's somewhat of a rough drive to get to the trail head, but worth it. The beginning of the trail is pretty flat- we cross a boulder canyon and stream (this happens several times....some balancing on felled trees to cross makes it fun!). The trail is very soft and well-defined. Then towards the end...the last .5 miles maybe?...the trail gets steeper. I thought we were close to the lake so we sped up our speed, only to realize once we "summited" that we still had elevation gain to clear past the meadow. But then we came to the turquoise blue lake with large copper trout swimming in it. Beautiful! We had a snack and took pictures here before walking down. This has now become our favorite hike in Telluride!
A few miles southwest of Telluride, CO, this little jewel of a hike was an excellent way to spend a Thursday in the Uncompahgre National Forest between 10.7k' and 12.4k':
A high elevation TH Start at 10,740 feet; Three manageable creek crossings; Dense forest canopy part-of the way to Hope Lake at 11,867 feet; Spectacular wildflower displays during prime summer months with additional hiking on a defined use trail past Hope Lake and up the east slope for an additional .6 mile (+574 ft elevation) to gain the High Saddle Viewpoint/National Forest Boundary lines for "Uncompahgre Natl Forest/San Juan Natl Forest" at 12,445ft.
(Outside.. "there is No Place Like It!!")
average hiking speed 1.9 mph
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.