The Spectacle Lake trail provides an ideal day hike for those camping at the Spectacle Lake and Conejos Campgrounds because of the trailhead's proximity to the campgrounds. The trail provides hikers with an overall view of the streamside and forest environments of the Conejos River valley.
The most important use of the Spectacle Lake Trail is as an access to the Notch Trail. The river must be forded at the trailhead. Access may be difficult during spring run-off when the Conejos River is high. No boating is allowed on Spectacle Lake.
The Spectacle Lake Trail is ideal for those interested in learning about the ecosystems along the Conejos River. From the trailhead, it follows the river closely for one-half mile downstream, passing through the meadows, willow thickets, and cottonwood groves of the riparian ecosystem. The trail then climbs the western slope of the Conejos Canyon through the montane forest, dominated by Douglas fir, white fir, aspen and blue spruce. Along the trail, impressive views down into the Conejos Canyon may be seen. The trail joins the Notch Trail about halfway up the canyon slope, where the Notch Trail begins to climb steeply to the ridgetop overlooking the Conejos River and Elk Creek.
Directions from Highway 17: From Highway 17, take the Platoro Road #250 northwest approximately 4.5 miles and one-half mile south of Spectacle Lake Campground. The trailhead is on the east side of the river.
(NOTE: Winter Ice fishing on Spectacle Lake)