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Hiking & Walking: Colorado > Medicine Bow and Routt National Forests > Hahns Peak/Bears Ears Ranger District

Quick Facts

Gold Creek Lake Trail

Beginning Elevation: 8,400 Feet (2618.5 Meters)
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation Gain: 2,800 Feet (872.8 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 11,200 Feet (3491.3 Meters) at Continental Divide
Length, One-way: 7.5 Miles (12.5 Kilometers)
Other Maps: Routt National Forest Map
TI Topo Maps: #116 Hahns Peak, Steamboat Lake; No Mt Zirkel Wilderness
Trail Number: 1150
Usage: Very Heavy
USGS Maps: Mt Zirkel

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description


This area was affected by a large tree blowdown. Contact the Hahns Peak/Bears Ears Ranger District for current conditions.

Gold Creek Lake, named in the late 1800's by an early explorer named Charles Franz, is a popular destination within the Mount Zirkel Wilderness. It offers a beautiful 8 acre lake thickly forested by fir and lodgepole. Heavily shaded, the trail winds through thick forest, passes a 35 foot waterfall, and follows Gold Creek most of the way to the lake. Due to the popularity and the easy accessibility of this trail, this area receives some of the highest use of any area in this wilderness. This trail is not
suggested if you are seeking solitude. Overuse and abuse have led to implementing special regulations in hopes of revegetation. Regulations prohibit camping within 1/4 mile of the lake. Please camp elsewhere using low impact techniques or visit Gold Creek Lake on day hikes.

PLEASE NOTE: Gilpin, Gold Creek, and Three Island Lake trails are the most heavily used areas on the district. If seeking solitude, please refer to trails less heavily used.

NARRATIVE: Beginning your hike at Slavonia on #1161, the trail will quickly fork; stay right to begin Gold Creek Lake Trail #1150. Turn left to remain on 1161 accessing either Gilpin Lake or Mica Lake Trail #1162 further up the trail. Continuing with the 1150 trail, you will enter the Mount Zirkel Wilderness after 1 mile. Once you've reached the north end of the lake, the trail forks east (right) continuing towards the continental divide (1101) or north (straight) continuing on 1150. Continuing on 1150, the trail will fork again. Remaining on 1150, you travel on a fading trail towards Ute Pass and Red Dirt Pass. If you turn left at the fork, you have joined 1161, Gilpin Lake Trail which will take you back to the Slavonia Trailhead.


As humans, we must minimize our impacts to help preserve this resource for present and future generations.

Directions from Steamboat Springs: Take HWY 40 west of town and turn right on to County Road 129. Travel north about 18 miles to the Seedhouse Road (Forest Road 400; also County Road 64) and turn right. Continue for about 10 miles to the end of the Slavonia trailhead parking. DUE TO THE ROUTT DIVIDE BLOWDOWN, SEEDHOUSE ROAD IS CLOSED TO VEHICLES AT THE INTERSECTION WITH ROAD 443. THE SLOVONIA TRAILHEAD CAN BE ACCESSED BY FOOT.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Accessible: Summer through Fall (NOTE: Accessibility depends on snow depth and weather.) .

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Backpacking Gold Creek Lake and connecting trails.
ICON Hiking & Walking Gold Creek Lake and connecting trails.
ICON Viewing Scenery Gold Creek Lake and surrounding area.

Related Activities
Gilpin Lake Trail - This area was affected by a large tree blowdown. Contact the Hahns Peak/Bears Ears Ranger District for current conditions. The Gilpin Lakes Trail, north of Steamboat Springs, leads from Slavonia, past Gilpin Lake to the saddle between Gilpin and Gold Creeks.

Red Dirt Pass Trail - This trail north of Steamboat Springs, in the Mt Zirkel area, leads from the Gold Creek Lake Trail #1150, to Red Dirt Pass. A hiker can reach the top of Mt Zirkel from this trail.

Seedhouse Campground - This area was affected by a large tree blowdown. Contact the Hahns Peak/Bears Ears Ranger District for current conditions. Seedhouse Campground is located miles north of Steamboat Springs, on the upper Elk River, at an elevation of 8,000 feet.

Wyoming Trail - This 50 mile trail generally follows the Continental Divide from roughly Rabbit Ears Pass, north into Wyoming. It can be traveled in sections, because it can be accessed from a number of different points.

More Information

Visitor Information:

Hahns Peak/Bears Ears Ranger District, 925 Weiss Drive , Steamboat Springs, CO, 80487, Phone: 970-879-1870, Fax: 970-879-2147


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