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Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
?
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
3.50 mi (5.63 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.

Lily Pad Lake is a wonderful destination near the town of Silverthorne that can be reached after a short hike. Most people, especially families with small children, hike to the lake from the Lily Pad Lake Trailhead, which is a 2.5-mile hike with barely 100 feet of elevation gain. An alternative way to the lake is to take the Salt Lick Trail until it joins the Lily Pad Lake Trail just a quarter mile from the lake. The big advantages to this route are the relative lack of crowds and the beautiful open views along the way.

The Salt Lick Trail starts out as an old road that gently climbs away from Silverthorne and I-70. The freeway noise is soon left behind and the road ends at a small log bridge across the creek to the left. It is best to continue straight on the trail for a few hundred feet to another small bridge over the creek. This is the main Salt Lick Trail, and taking the first bridge can lead to some confusing junctions and social trails. The trail climbs through alternating meadows and forest, including some dead stands of lodgepole pines that are victims of beetle damage. There are some beautiful aspen groves along the way that would be wonderful to view in the fall, and there are nice views of Buffalo Mountain to the north. After about 1.5 miles the trail intersects with the Lily Pad Lake Trail, and from here it is about 0.25 miles to the lakes. This part of the trail will likely be crowded. The first lake is tiny and full of lily pads; the second is larger, and its open water makes for some wonderful reflections of Buffalo Mountain nearby. 

With a car shuttle one could make a nice loop starting out at Lily Pad Lake Trailhead and finishing on the (mostly downhill) Salt Lick Trail.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

Not Required

Pros

Beautiful scenery. Lovely lakes. Wildflowers.

Cons

Many social trails can be confusing.

Trailhead Elevation

9,023.00 ft (2,750.21 m)

Net Elevation Gain

925.00 ft (281.94 m)

Features

Big vistas
Wildflowers
Fishing

Suitable for

Biking
Horseback

Location

Field Guide + Map

Nearby Adventures

Nearby Lodging + Camping

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