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Hiking & Walking: Colorado > Rio Grande National Forest > Divide Ranger District

Quick Facts

Squaw Lake Trail

Beginning Elevation: 10,400 Feet (3241.9 Meters)
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Elevation Gain: 2,000 Feet (623.4 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 12,400 Feet (3865.3 Meters)
Length, One-way: 3.7 Miles (6.17 Kilometers)
Trail Number: 890
Usage: Light to Moderate
USGS Maps: Little Squaw Creek, Weminuche

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

Elk doe
Copyright: Unknown
Elk doe
Squaw Lake Trail lies deep within the Weminuche Wilderness. Good access to the Continental Divide is available on this trail. Pleasant camping areas can be found at Squaw Lake and at the beginning of the trail after crossing the Squaw Creek bridge. There are beautiful, panoramic views from the trail after leaving Squaw Lake, once you get above timberline. Squaw Lake has good fishing. It is not uncommon to see elk grazing from the upper portions of the trail. Domestic sheep sometimes graze in the alpine meadows near the Continental Divide above Squaw Lake.

After crossing the Squaw Creek bridge, the trail makes a steady, gradual climb through a mixed old growth spruce-fir timber stand. About half a dozen switchbacks are made in the trail to reduce the steepness of the 1,500 feet elevation gain from the trail's beginning to Squaw Lake. From Squaw Lake to the Continental Divide, the lower segment is very steep for about 1/2 mile after crossing the Squaw Lake Dam. The upper segment is a gradual, steady climb to the Continental Divide. This segment is not defined well, but hikers should have little trouble spotting the Continental Divide Trail in the open treeless area above Squaw Lake.

Directions from Creede: Drive southwest from Creede on Highway 149 for about 20 miles to the intersection of Highway 149 and Forest Development Road 520 (Upper Rio Grande River Road). Take Forest Road 520 approximately 10 miles to Thirty Mile Campground. Take the Squaw Creek Trail (Forest Development Trail 814) from the campground. Follow the trail for about 6 miles. Look for the bridge crossing on Squaw Creek. Cross the bridge and you are on Squaw Lake Trail (Forest Trail 890); there are no signs at the Squaw Lake and Squaw Creek Trail junction. A parking area is located within Thirty Mile Campground and pack stock unloading and packing facilities are located 1/4 and 1/2 mile, respectively, along the Rio Grande Reservoir Road just before reaching the campground.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Open: Late June-Early July through September .

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

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Filed By: Kathryn Wallentine (Squaw Lake, MN)
Difficulty: Easy
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Beautiful area, good trails are great in the fall!
Conditions: Very buggy in the summer, bring your netting and bug spay.
Water Availability: Bring your own water.
Recommended Clothing: Long pants, hiking boots, netting, hat
Suggested Accessories: shot gun for grouse hunting.

Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Backpacking Pleasant areas available
ICON Cold Water Fishing Good fishing
ICON Hiking & Walking Squaw Lake Trail
ICON Horseback Riding Access to the Continental Divide
ICON Viewing Scenery Panoramic views above timberline
ICON Viewing Wildlife Elk in the upper portions

Related Activities
Continental Divide - Knife Edge to Weminuche Pass - Opportunities for many beautiful panoramic views exist along this segment of the Continental Divide Trail. Fishermen will find some short side trips can be made to Trout, Williams, and Squaw Lakes.

Squaw Creek Trail - The trail primarily parallels Squaw Creek from Thirty Mile Campground to the Continental Divide. Good fishing is possible along Squaw Creek and nice camping areas are easy to find along the trail.

More Information
Frequently Asked Questions
Email the Local Ranger

Visitor Information:

Divide Ranger Station, 13308 West US Highway 160, P.O. Box 40 , Del Norte, CO, 81132, Phone: 719-657-3321, TTY: 719-657-6038


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