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Hiking & Walking: Colorado > Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests > Cebolla Ranger District

Quick Facts

Cataract Lake Trail

Beginning Elevation: 9,600 Feet (2926 Meters) Cataract Gulch Trailhead
Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
Elevation Gain: 2,450 Feet (763.7 Meters) to Cataract Lake
Ending Elevation: 12,100 Feet (3771.8 Meters) where the trail exits the Cebolla District at the Continental Divide and continues onto the Rio Grande Reservoir or to Pole Creek in the Rio Grande National Forest
Length: 3.7 Miles (6.0 Kilometers) to Cataract Lake
Length: 4.25 Miles (7.08 Kilometers) to the Continental Divide
Recommended Season: Summer
Trail Number: 475
Usage: Light
USGS Maps: Redcloud Peak, Polecreek Mountain
Vehicle Accessibility: Passenger Vehicle

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

The Cataract Lake Trail, 475, takes a direct route to Cataract Lake where fishing is reported to be good at times. It begins from the Cataract Gulch Trailhead about one half mile west of the Sherman townsite on County Road 18X. Expect to wade through Cottonwood Creek as you begin this hike. After this creek crossing the trail ascends into Cataract Gulch. Switchbacks bring users of Cataract Lake Trail into the gulch quickly. At the end of the first mile on the trail hikers will be following the gentle path of Cataract Creek.

When the trail rejoins the creek after the switchbacks the elevation is approximately 10,400 feet. The trail follows and crosses the creek for the next two miles ascending moderately to 12,000 feet. During the next two miles the trail enters Cataract Basin, an area of high alpine tundra below the Continental Divide. There are three lakes in this basin the largest under the highest point on the ridge. This trail is popular with motorcycle enthusiasts and horseback riders. It also provides good opportunities for dispersed camping.

Directions from Lake City: Take Highway 149 south two miles and turn right on the Cinnamon Pass Road (County Road 30) toward Lake San Cristobal. Continue on the Cinnamon Pass Road to the Sherman townsite fork, taking the left fork (County Road 18X) to Sherman. The trailhead is approximately one half mile after the bridge and is marked.

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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Backpacking Cataract Lake Trail
ICON Cold Water Fishing Cataract Lake
ICON Hiking & Walking Cataract Lake Trail
ICON Horseback Riding Cataract Lake Trail
ICON Animal Identification Cataract Lake Trail
ICON Bird Identification Cataract Lake Trail
ICON Plant Identification Cataract Lake Trail
ICON Wildflower Identification Cataract Lake Trail
ICON Viewing Scenery Cataract Lake Trail
ICON Viewing Wildlife Cataract Lake Trail

Related Activities
Cinnamon Pass - Engineer Pass Road - This four-wheel drive loop offers moderate to difficult terrain and expansive views of the surrounding areas.

More Information

Visitor Information:

Montrose County Chamber of Commerce, 550 N Townsend , Montrose, CO, 81401, Phone: 800-873-0244


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