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Pets allowed
Yes
Elevation Gain
?
Trail type
Loop
Distance
11.20 mi (18.02 km)
Please respect the outdoors and leave no trace. One tip how to dispose of waste properly: Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products. For more information, visit https://lnt.org/learn/7-principles

The Zirkel Circle hike is a loop that connects the Gilpin Lake and Gold Creek Lake trail (1161 and 1150, respectively) in the Zirkel Wilderness just outside of Steamboat Springs. As far as Colorado outdoor recreation areas go, the Zirkel Wilderness is a bit off the radar for most. Those who have seen the area's rugged peaks, picturesque alpine lakes and meadows, and spectacular summer and fall colors would likely happily keep it way.

The Zirkel Circle can be hiked in either direction; below is a clockwise description, but counterclockwise offers a more gradual ascent. Regardless, the decision must be made early, as the loop junction is less than 0.25 miles from the Slavonia Trailhead.  

Heading toward Gilpin Lake, a spur trail to Mica Lake will diverge to the left in just over a mile. The total distance to Gilpin Lake is a bit over 4 miles, and the Gilpin Ridge overlook to the south of the lake is roughly the halfway point of the hike. From Gilpin Ridge, the distance to Gold Creek Lake is approximately 3 miles. Gold Creek Lake is the smaller of the two, and less picturesque, but it is a great relaxation spot and a frequent swimming hole for those that visit in the summer heat. It is just under 3 miles to get back to the Slavonia Trailhead from Gold Creek lake, making it a popular out-and-back day hike destination.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

Not Required

Pros

Expansive wilderness area. Spectacular alpine lakes. Remarkable view points. Seasonal wildflowers.

Cons

No camping at the trailhead.

Trailhead Elevation

8,480.00 ft (2,584.70 m)

Net Elevation Gain

2,400.00 ft (731.52 m)

Address

Forest Rd 400
Walden, CO 80480
United States

Features

Backcountry camping
Waterfalls
Bird watching
Wildlife
Big Game Watching
Big vistas
Wildflowers
Fishing
Big Game Watching

Suitable for

Horseback

Location

Field Guide

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