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Timberline Lake Hike

Sawatch Range + Elk Mountains, Colorado

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Timberline Lake Hike

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  • Trailhead for Timberline Lake Trail.- Timberline Lake Hike
  • Entering Holy Cross Wilderness.- Timberline Lake Hike
  • One of three stream crossings.- Timberline Lake Hike
  • The trail crosses beautiful meadows.- Timberline Lake Hike
  • Timberline Lake.- Timberline Lake Hike
  • The meadow at the west end of Timberline Lake.- Timberline Lake Hike
  • Timberline Lake.- Timberline Lake Hike
  • Timberline Lake from the inlet.- Timberline Lake Hike
  • The fishing is reputed to be good in the lake.- Timberline Lake Hike
  • Timberline Lake.- Timberline Lake Hike
  • Timberline Lake.- Timberline Lake Hike
  • Timberline Lake Trail.- Timberline Lake Hike
  • Timberline Lake Trail.- Timberline Lake Hike
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Fairly short and easy. Gorgeous scenery. Paved road to trailhead.
Cons: 
None.
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Region:
Sawatch Range + Elk Mountains, CO
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Highest point: 
10,456.00 ft (3,186.99 m)
Year round: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
None
Permit required: 
No
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
5.80 mi (9.33 km)
Total elevation gain: 
440.00 ft (134.11 m)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
10,015.00 ft (3,052.57 m)
Typically multi-day: 
No
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

One of the very favorites hikes among locals in Leadville and Buena Vista is this fairly easy trek into a high mountain lake with spectacular views. Another bonus is that, unlike many trails to lakes in Colorado, this one doesn’t require miles of bone-jarring travel on dirt roads to reach the trailhead. Parts of this trail also follow the route of both the Continental Divide Trail and the Colorado Trail.

The trail begins from a little parking lot at the far west end of Turquoise Lake and very soon enters the Holy Cross Wilderness. The trail follows the outlet creek of Timberline Lake with three crossings, none of which have bridges and all of which can involve getting a little wet early in the season. The elevation gain is steady. The route travels through beautiful high meadows and large rockfalls, and the scenery helps makes it feel like a quick trip up to the near end of the lake. There is a faint trail along the west shore up to the meadows at the upper end of the lake, and this additional half mile is highly-recommended for the great views and greater solitude available there.

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Field Guide

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(17 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(59 within a 30 mile radius)

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