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Backpacking: Colorado > Rio Grande National Forest > Conejos Peak Ranger District

Quick Facts

Hidden Lake Trail

Beginning Elevation: 8,700 Feet (2712.0 Meters)
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation Gain: 1,500 Feet (467.6 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 10,200 Feet (3179.6 Meters) Ends at Hidden Lake
Length, One-way: 2.7 Miles (4.5 Kilometers)
Trail Number: 734
Usage: Moderate
USGS Maps: La Jara Canyon

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

Wild rose
Copyright: Unknown
Wild rose
As the Hidden Lake Trail ascends the northern slope of the Conejos Canyon, a panoramic view of the Conejos River Valley and the Elk Creek drainage can be seen. The first mile of the hike is a steep climb, and one passes through forests of ponderosa pine, Douglas-fir, and aspen of the northern slope of Conejos Canyon.

Once the ridge top is reached, the trail follows the Conejos Stock Driveway through rolling aspen, Douglas-fir forests and meadows. Wildflowers brighten the sunny slopes of the canyon and the ridgetop. In early summertime, Hidden Lake will be almost covered with yellow pond lilies floating on its surface. In years when rainfall is below average, Hidden Lake may be dry during the autumn season.

A small band of bighorn sheep winter in this general area of the Conejos Canyon. Observation of these sheep may be possible in the early spring.

This short trail provides an ideal day hike, especially for those camping at nearby Elk Creek Campground. Suitable sites for overnight camping can be found on the ridge, but campers are urged to carry sufficient water to meet their needs. Water is available at a developed spring approximately one mile above the trailhead. Water from Hidden Lake is of questionable purity because of the presence of cattle in the area. All water should be treated before consumption.

Directions from Highway 17: Follow Forest Road 250 1/2 mile west from its junction with Highway 17. Trailhead is immediately before the intersection with the Elk Creek Campground spur road and Resort Directory sign.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Open: April through October .

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Backpacking Suitable sites on the ridge.
ICON Camping Elk Creek Campground
ICON Hiking & Walking Hidden Lake Trail
ICON Horseback Riding First mile is steep
ICON Viewing Scenery Conejos River Valley , Elk Creek drainage, yellow pond lilies in the lake
ICON Viewing Wildlife Early spring for Bighorn Sheep

Related Activities
Elk Creek Campground - Elk Creek Campground has 31 sites with picnic tables and fireplaces and 14 overflow campsites (no picnic tables or fireplaces). There is public access to the Conejos River and Elk Creek.

More Information
Frequently Asked Questions
Email the Local Ranger

Visitor Information:

Conejos Peak Ranger Station, 15571 County Road T-5, P.O. Box 420 , La Jara, CO, 81140, Phone: 719-274-8971, TTY: 719-274-3139


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