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Hiking & Walking: Colorado > Pike and San Isabel National Forests > South Platte Ranger District

Quick Facts

Gibson Lake Trail

Beginning Elevation: 10,316 Feet (3215.7 Meters) Trailhead
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation Gain: 1,544 Feet (481.3 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 11,860 Feet (3697.0 Meters) Gibson Lake
Handicapped Accessible: No
Length, One-way: 2.4 Miles (4.0 Kilometers) 3.86 K
Other Maps: Pike National Forest
Recommended Season: Summer
Trail Number: 633
USGS Maps: Quads: Jefferson

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

This 2.4 mile hike follows the Lake Fork drainage to a pretty lake nestled in a high tundra bowl. The well-established trail climbs at a steady, moderately steep grade. Allow about 1 hour and 20 minutes to reach Gibson Lake. The elevation gain is 1,544'. The last .5 miles is above tree line. The lake is regarded as a good fishing spot for brook trout. There are virtually no areas along the trail suitable for overnight camping. The lake is situated east of and below Whale Peak (elevation 13,078'). The trail is suitable for foot and horse travel only.

The trail travels in a westerly direction up the Lake Fork drainage. Below the parking area you will cross a small stream. From that point until you reach tree line the stream drainage will be to the left (south) of the trail as you ascend. At about 1.75 miles the trail reaches a fork. Bear left at this trail junction (the right fork is an unmarked trail leading up to the Continental Divide). At about 2.0 miles you will be at tree line. Shortly after reaching tree line the trail makes 3 major stream crossings. After the third crossing, the trail bears southwest through willows and tundra up to the shelf on which Gibson Lake is located. Tundra flowers are in abundance in midsummer. At the south end of the lake there is a long, ribbon-like waterfall draining into Gibson Lake from a smaller lake above it.

Directions from Bailey: From Bailey drive west on Highway 285 for 14.3 miles. Turn right (north) on to Park County Road 60. This road is also designated as Forest Service Road 120, and commonly called the Hall Valley Road. Travel on 120 6.5 miles to the trailhead. At mile 5 immediately before Hall Valley Campground bear left at the fork in the road. The last 1.4 miles above Hall Valley Campground are very rough, and may be classified a four-wheel drive road.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Open: Early Summer through Mid-Fall .

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

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Filed By: Dave
Time of Day: 9:00 a.m.
Length of Time: 1hr. 45 min. to lake
Difficulty: Moderate
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Gets a little confusing around Hall Valley campground. Directions not posted very well. You can hike or 4 wheel drive to the trailhead 1.4 miles from campground, road is a right at the campground. Detailed map would be very helpful, roads are numbered. Beautiful trail and hike, just below the lake looking left (south of the trail) we saw three Mountain Goats up high just below the peak of the mountain. Also a spectacular veiw of the N. Fork of the South Platte valley.
Conditions: Only a few boggy places, weather was perfect, typical clouding up in the afternoon.
Water Availability: 2 quarts was adequate. Plenty of stream water along trail if you have filtering ability.
Recommended Clothing: Shorts, shirt, sunscreen for sure. temp. avg. was 65'. Have appropriate rain gear available.
Suggested Accessories: Personnal preference. Fishing gear, walking stick.

Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Hiking & Walking Gibson LakeTrail
ICON Horseback Riding Gibson Lake Trail
ICON Mushroom Identification Gibson Lake Trail
ICON Plant Identification Gibson Lake Trail
ICON Wildflower Identification Gibson Lake Trail
ICON Bird Identification Gibson Lake Trail
ICON Animal Identification Gibson Lake Trail
ICON Viewing Scenery Gibson Lake Trail
ICON Viewing Wildlife Gibson Lake Trail

Nearby Services

nearest public telephone: various (private, for profit) Directions: Grant - Drive east on Highway 285.

fire and emergency services: (non-profit) Directions: Bailey - about 17 miles northeast on Highway 285.

Related Activities
Burning Bear Trail - This pleasant 5.5 mile trail follows the Burning Bear Creek west from Geneva Creek, over a ridge, and down the Burning Bear Creek on the west side of the ridge.

Hall Valley Campground - Hall Valley Campground consists of nine individual family campsites, which include a table, fire ring, and parking spur. The site offers access to fishing, hiking, biking and four-wheel driving.

Handcart Campground - Handcart Campground is located approximately seven miles west of the small town of Grant, Colorado. There are 10 sites available that provide access to hiking, biking, horseback riding and fishing.


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