The trail eventually crosses over a ridgeline and connects with Columbine Lake Trail #509 for the remainder of the way up to the lake. 2. Columbine Lakes Trail forked and the route to the lake headed right (southeast) while the route to Arapaho Pass headed to the left (northeast). Typically, I use the free Maps.me smartphone app for offline navigation on my hikes, but as of writing this post, the Columbine Lake Trail isn’t available on their maps yet. Was amazing! This part of the trail may require some routefinding, but the way is generally marked by cairns. 1. Like. Colorado Tourism Office, 1625 Broadway, Suite 1700 , Denver, CO, 80202, Phone: 800-COLORADO. This alternative route to Lake Columbine bypasses the steep switchbacks on the Columbine Lake Trail #509. There is shade up to tree line. Before you know it, you’ll arrive at the tranquil Columbine Lake. But it was worth it! Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. Total time up was 2hrs 25 mins at a leisure pace with a good amount of breaks to snap pics and catch a breathe and coming down was 1hr 35mins. The lake water is a shimmering royal blue, which reflects the majestic mountains in the background as the wind blows faint ripples across its surface. lots of slippery, deep snow. This trail seriously kicked our butts. You can access this lake via snowshoe year round, but there are avalanches in this area, so extreme caution must be used. Mother nature held back its worst, and I soaked in the beauty of Southwestern Colorado as if I were living in a postcard. 2. The water is epic blue as well. After crossing, you will hike on easy to moderate terrain to Columbine Lake (12,000' elevation) at mile 18. Keep going! We laid in the sun for almost an hour. Exercise extreme caution and get in touch with the San Juan Forest Service before you go. As others have said, the hike up through the treelike is brutal (but absolutely beautiful) if you take your time. Jeeping 4WD & ATV Trails Map for Columbine/Steamboat Springs, Colorado. You are likely to find a few chipmunks or marmots above treeline, as well as bears and deer in the forests. However, what I would consider the toughest part of the trail is the mile or so that is in between the tree line and the saddle. If you have the proper gear and experience, I recommend bringing along your backpacking gear and camping out near the lake, weather permitting. What are some of your favorite lake hikes around Colorado? Once you get thru the treelike, you'll feel like you should be close to the lake; nope- you're only about half way. Day Hiking Essentials 8. This can be accessed if you have high clearance vehicle. Snow in upper sections and icy in the lower woods. Columbine’s remote feel is due in part to the lake lying on the east side of 11,630-foot Sawtooth Pass, one of a handful of ridgetop keyholes leading into Sequoia National Park’s expansive backcountry. Seasonal Popularity. Mechanized/motorized travel is prohibited. Follow that dirt road for about a quarter-mile and keep your eyes open for a parking spot. Snowshoeing is possible on this trail, but the avalanche risk in this area is very high. Lake Dorothy via Arapaho Pass Trail. Far from major interstates and metropolitan areas, the trails snake through more than 1 million acres of Routt National Forest land, making it easy to find your own private paradise. I’m a pretty experienced hiker and this was tough. This part of the trail may require some routefinding, but the way is generally marked by cairns. Stick around, I’ll tell you how to prepare, what to expect, and all the other information you need to get your journey off on the right foot. If you’re getting to the trailhead using a navigation app, download offline maps of the area first, as you’re not likely to have service once you get close. Hiking and Backpacking Resources. Your email address will not be published. Hikers will immediately start the trail with a series of switchbacks that open up and end at the tree line. The road is narrow and parking is sparse, so you might need to get creative. Steamboat Lake State Park has groomed non-motorized Nordic trails. Hikers can park along the road and walk to the trailhead. Columbine Lake is 45 minutes past Ouray, Colorado. An Immediate and Relentless Incline B. Panoramic views from nearby Columbine Pass encompassing Bridal Veil basin and the Sneffels Range. Some of Colorado’s best hiking is waiting, and it’s up to you to go capture it. Columbine Lakes Trail forked and the route to the lake headed right (southeast) while the route to Arapaho Pass headed to the left (northeast). The first mile and a quarter of the trail, highlighted by heavy tree-cover and countless switchbacks, is more or less uneventful. To continue keeping this trail in shape for other hikers, pack out everything you pack in and do your very best to leave no trace. Though I only spent 24 hours hiking and backpacking along the Columbine Lake Trail, my adventure into the breathtaking San Juan National Forest was unforgettable. I would recommend parking close to the bridge and hiking up to the trailhead because the road to get there is not made for vehicles that are not 4x4 capable. - See 11 traveler reviews, 23 candid photos, and great deals for Fraser, CO, at Tripadvisor. The Columbine Lake Trail is about eight miles round trip and between 2,500 and 3,000 feet of elevation, depending on where you start the hike. Columbine Lake Trail, Fraser: See 11 reviews, articles, and 23 photos of Columbine Lake Trail, ranked No.7 on Tripadvisor among 12 attractions in Fraser. To get to the TH, turn on the Ophir Pass Road, cross the creek and park, or to get closer take a right on FS Rd 820, or ride the Rainbow Trail from Silverton. From there the trail climbs steeply up a series of switchbacks through a coniferous forest for more than a mile. Snow Covered: Nov 18, 2019 @ 5:06pm. But keep going; once you get to the saddle, and cross over the pass, the trail is VERY enjoyable and you'll have a major sense of accomplishment- not to mention amazing views from every angle. Snow Covered: Nov 18, 2019 @ 5:06pm. I’d say any 2WD truck would make it. With its more popular neighbor to the south - Ice Lakes - attracting most visitors, the lesser known Columbine Lake Trail still offers the best that the alpine backcountry has to offer. Its crystal clear and bright blue. The trail is very clear. Path traverses two high basins and goes over a pass. Have you ever hiked the Columbine Lake Trail? 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