Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
2,595.00 ft (790.96 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
16.00 mi (25.75 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.

Nestled deep in the heart of Colorado, Snowmass Lake offers stunning views with some of the prisine water in Colorado. Snowmass Lake offers crystal clear water with and a chance to take a break from work and go out and enjoy the wilderness. Snowmass lake trailhead can be tough to get to after a shower or snowstrorm if you want to try this adventure in the winter, so having four wheel drive will help you on the slippery conditions and prevent you from getting stuck. 

Before going on this hike make sure that you have plenty of food and water, because this is a very long trip especially if you decide to summit Mount Snowmass after you get to the lake. Although if you do not want to do the whole trek in one day, backcountry camping is offered by snowmass lake so feel free to pack along your tent and sleeping bag for a night out. If you do plan on staying the night make sure you have your bearproof container for packing your food at night, and try to get an early start on your hike because the camping site can fill up quick. 

Getting to the trailhead may be a little tricky, so using google, or apple maps is the best way to make sure you end up in the right spot. Coorinates to the trailhead are 39.20030, -106.99406. After you arrive at the trailhead get out your hiking gear and make sure you have enough water or bring along a water filter so you will be able to stay hydrated. Once you are ready to start on the trail, head up towards the start and get to it. For the first couple of miles the trail will go in and out of private property so make sure the stay on the trail so you do not damage other peoples land. Also there will be a series of gates that you will pass through on the property, just make sure to shut them so livestock and other animals do not leave their owners land. 

After you pass through the last gate on private property you will spend a little more time in the forest, then it will open up into a valley where you will follow along the river until you arrive at what is known as the log jam. This section does not have a clear route or crossing area, but you will be able to see part of the trail on the other side. There also might be pink indicator ribbon on the other side to help you with knowing which side to aim for crossing at, but these can easily get trampled or taken off by other hikers. When crossing always make sure to take the route across the logs that is safest for you, if you are someone who does not have the best balance and does not feel comfortable balancing on the logs then ask one of your hiking buddies to help you balance. Crossing is not very tough but the logs will be slippery because they are in the middle of a river, so take your time and be careful, as a last resort it is better to just walk in the water and have wet boots rather than falling and hurting yourself. 

After crossing the log jam the trail is fairly simple, the incline with increase slightly but the route is very easy to navigate. The last couple miles till you get to the lake will take you back into the forest where you will follow the river up the mountain. This part of the hike is a little steeper so if you are getting tired take a break and make sure you are consuming enough water so you do not become dehydrated. Near the top you will see a decent sized waterfall that will let you know you are almost there. 

When you arrive at the top the tree will open up and you will be able to see snowmass mountain towering over the lake. At the top make sure to take a little break to refuel for the hike back down, or if you are planning on staying the night then go claim a camping spot for the night. Once you are done taking your break be sure to capture a couple photos of the stunning lake and its surroundings. There are tons of spots to take pictures on the shore so be sure to walk around a little bit. When you finish and get ready to heady back down be sure to be careful and take your time, so you avoid a fall. 

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Summer
Spring

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Alpine lake. Diverse forest.

Cons

Mosquitoes can be bad in the summer.

Trailhead Elevation

8,393.00 ft (2,558.19 m)

Highest point

10,981.00 ft (3,347.01 m)

Features

Near lake or river
Backcountry camping
Waterfalls
Wildlife
Wildflowers

Typically multi-day

No

Suitable for

Biking

Permit required

No

Location

Nearby Lodging + Camping

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