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Fishing: Colorado > Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests > Cebolla Ranger District

Quick Facts

Baldy Lake

Elevation: 11,250 Feet (3506.9 Meters) approximate
Length: 5 Miles (8.33 Kilometers) approach on the West Fork-Baldy Loop Trail
Recommended Season: Late Summer

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

Baldy Lake is another high country lake with the usual problems of short seasons and finicky fish. A fishing trip is occasionally worth while since the large fish in the lake often weigh in excess of one and a half pounds. Only rainbow trout live in Baldy Lake. Access to this lake can be gained on foot, horseback or mountain bike via the West Fork Trail, 491.

Directions from Gunnison: Take Highway 50 to Longbranch Road, Forest Service Road 780, which is about one-half mile west of Sargents. Follow Forest Road 780 to the Longbranch Range Station (not manned) and bear left at the corral. Bear right at the next fork. A sign at the next road fork marks the beginning of the trail. Follow the West Fork of Longbranch Creek and Trail 491, West Fork-Baldy Loop Trail, to Baldy Lake.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

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Filed By: Conner Allen (Golden, CO)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: The trail can be confusing to get to, but once you do it's beautiful. It starts off as a trail for ATVs, bikes ect. but it becomes only accessible for smaller modes of transportation like walking. You cross a river several times and it can be very difficult at times. (I fell in at the same spot twice.) I came up with the intention of staying multiple nights, through two snow storms so my report on the difficulty may be skewed due to the weight i was carrying. The trail is mostly flat for the first 3 miles with only 500 feet of elevation gain. The halfway point is well marked and home to one lf the most incredible views I've ever seen. It is roughly 9,800 feet. After this the trail quickly increases in difficulty and becomes more than 1,100 vertical feet per mile. The lake is absolutely incredible. It is home to the bluest and clearest water I've ever seen. It looks inviting but the water was incredibly cold. I wouldn't recommend swimming in it.
Conditions: I went in early fall and there was some snow. There was very little though because the fall of 2016 was notorious for having little snowfall. There were a few fallen trees and one fell at the lake while I was there. It is very shady and there are very little bugs.
Water Availability: I brought 8 liters of water because I was spending 4 days there. There are numerous untreated water sources.
Recommended Clothing: I wore heavy winter clothing due to the high being near 20°F. In the summer it can be up to 80° but snow storms and cold weather can threaten high altitude areas any time of year.
Suggested Accessories: A fishing pole would be great to have but depending on what route you take it can be 5-11 miles. Bringing a pole would be tedious.

Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Backpacking West Fork-Baldy Loop Trail
ICON Cold Water Fishing Baldy Lake
ICON Hiking & Walking West Fork-Baldy Loop Trail
ICON Horseback Riding West Fork-Baldy Loop Trail
ICON Lakes & Reservoirs Baldy Lake
ICON Viewing Scenery Baldy Lake

Related Activities
West Fork-Baldy Loop #490-491 - These trails create a loop that takes the traveler to the Continental Divide. Fishing is available at Baldy Lake.

More Information

Visitor Information:

Ouray County Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 145 , Ouray, CO, 81427, Phone: 800-228-1876


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