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Backpacking: Colorado > Pike and San Isabel National Forests > San Carlos Ranger District

Quick Facts

Lily Lake Trail

Beginning Elevation: 10,600 Feet (3304.2 Meters) Trailhead
Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
Elevation Gain: 1,760 Feet (548.6 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 12,360 Feet (3852.9 Meters) Lily Lake
High Point: 12,360
Length, One-way: 3.5 Miles (5.83 Kilometers)
Trail Number: 1308
Usage: Heavy
USGS Map: Mosca Pass, Blanca Peak

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

Lily Lake - 9.70
Copyright: Unknown
Lily Lake - 9.70
Lily Lake sports pleasant high mountain scenery and fishing enthusiasts may use flies and lures to tempt the cutthroat trout. Camping possibilities exists at the base of the switchbacks, but not at the lake. Bighorn sheep have been seen here and the wildflowers are usually at their peak in July. The road to the trailhead is nice for viewing the aspen colors in the fall.

This trail is used by those seeking to climb Ellingwood and Lindsay. Mount Lindsay is on private property, so you need to gain permission before venturing up. The trail leading from Lily Lake to Ellingwood Point is not a trail maintained by the Forest Service.

The trail follows the Huerfano river Valley Drainage. It starts at a moderate pace through open meadows. There are a couple of creek crossings that can be marshy, rocky and wet. After about 1 1/4 miles the trail splits. If you want to fish or attempt Lindsay, then take the lower trail to the river bottom. Lily Lake is accessed on the upper trail, normally there is a sign here. In the last quarter of the trail there are some switchbacks through the timber that take you to the lake.

Directions from Highway 69: Take Highway 69 just northwest of Gardner and turn left on County Road 550 toward Redwing. This becomes County Road 580. It is about twenty miles to the trailhead from Highway 69 and the roads are signed. 4WD vehicles are highly recommended, but some high clearance 2 WD will do. There is parking for about 10 at the trailhead. Park before or after the sign.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Accessible: Memorial Day Weekend through Mid-October (NOTE: None) .

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

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Filed By: Sarah (Colorado Springs, CO)
Length of Time: 2 days - backpacked overnight
Difficulty: Moderate
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: The campsites on this trail are simply to die for. Our campsite was lovely enough to bring tears to my eyes. Both experienced backpackers, we agreed that this was one of the most lovely campsites we've ever enjoyed.
Conditions: Stop and camp before turning right up to Lily Lake. The lake is lovely, but above timber line and quite exposed.
Water Availability: In mid-June 2003 this trail provided more water than we could have hoped for. The water tasted so good my friend filtered extra to take home.
Recommended Clothing: It should come as no surprise that the nights are cold. The wind during our visit was cold and sharp at Lily Lake.

Difficulty: Moderate
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: 3 of us endured the hike up to Lily Lake on the 29th of June 2001. My nephew one of his friends and me. It has been 4 years since i have been up there. We saw the snow from the cabin which is about 10 miles from the trailhead of Lily Lake. As we reached the final climb up to the lake we encountered several patches of snow, and as we hit the lake it was surronding the lake it was awesome and cold and raining. The hike up was alot harder this year only met 5 others attempting the climb. Will try to make it again next year. Still recommend it highly especially before July or August. KLEE953689@aol.com

Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Backpacking Camping at the base of the switchbacks, but not at the lake
ICON Cold Water Fishing Flies and lures t cutthroat trout
ICON Four-Wheel Driving Recommended on County Road 580
ICON Hiking & Walking Lily Lake Trail
ICON Viewing Scenery High mountain vistas; wildflowers usually peak in July; changing aspens
ICON Viewing Wildlife Bighorn sheep

More Information

Visitor Information:

Pike and San Isabel National Forests, 1920 Valley Drive , Pueblo, CO, 81008, Phone: 719-545-8737

Pueblo Chamber of Commerce, 302 North Santa Fe Drive, P.O. Box 697 , Pueblo, CO, 81003, Phone: 800-233-3446, www.pueblochamber.org


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