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.