Pearl Lake is one of the gems of the Colorado State Parks system. Located 26 miles North of Steamboat Springs, it is a beautiful, secluded location that is perfect for camping, paddling, hiking, or just relaxing by the water. Additionally, there are plenty of nearby locations to visit.
The south end of the lake, just a short hike away from campsites, is a great spot to see the sunrise, as calm waters reflect Farwell Mountain. The trail provides National Forest access and offers great views of Hahns Peak.
In early summer, wildflowers bloom everywhere in the area –Rocky Mountain phlox, early larkspur, sticky purple geranium, heart-leaf arnica, mule’s ear, and several others. In fall, aspen leaves turn gold, painting the surrounding mountains. In winter there is ice fishing, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
Wildlife is abundant in the area, and mule deer are very common near the lake. Bald eagles, ospreys, and great blue herons make the park home either year-round or during migration. Sandhill cranes have been observed nesting in the vicinity of the lake as well.
The lake offers great opportunities for canoeing, kayaking, or paddleboarding. There is also great cutthroat trout fishing on the lake and surrounding streams. While all campsites are relatively close to the lake, sites 24-32 in the lower loop offer direct access to the water.
After a couple of days of camping and hiking, the park is close enough to Steamboat Springs to make the relatively short drive and soak in the hot springs (either in town, or nearby Strawberry Hot Springs).