Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
245.00 ft (74.68 m)
Trail type
2.20 mi (3.54 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

People come to Lake Irwin Recreation Area for swimming, fishing and paddling in the lovely little lake. The scenery is spectacular, and one of the best ways to see it is to take the trail around the lake shore. This hike is easy and the rewards are great.

Starting either at the parking area next to the campground or from the short path next to campsite #11, the trail heads west toward the Ruby Mountain Range which loom over the lake from nearly every vantage point. There is a small waterfall at the inlet stream below the campground with a bench for contemplation. From here, the trail sticks pretty close to the shore with abundand wildflowers in mid summer and 360-degree views of the surrounding peaks. At the northeast side of the lake, there are several private cabins and homes near the trail but they don’t detract from the beauty of the walk.

Fishing is claimed to be very good in this lake, especially early in the season and the shore line is very accessible. Hiking this trail in either direction is good, but for the longest views of the Ruby Range, going counter-clockwise may be a shade better.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

General Day Use Fee

Open Year-round



Beautiful scenery. Easy and flat. Good fishing. Wildflowers.


Crosses some private property.

Trailhead Elevation

10,250.00 ft (3,124.20 m)

Highest point

10,415.00 ft (3,174.49 m)


Family friendly
Vault toilet
Potable water
Near lake or river
Big vistas

Typically multi-day


Permit required



Nearby Lodging + Camping

Sawatch Range + Elk Mountains, Colorado
Sawatch Range + Elk Mountains, Colorado


Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment?
Sign In and share them.