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Hiking & Walking: Colorado > White River National Forest > Sopris Ranger District

Quick Facts

Sawyer Lake Trail

Beginning Elevation: 9,400 Feet (2930.2 Meters)
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation Gain: 1,600 Feet (498.8 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 11,000 Feet (3428.9 Meters)
Length: 4.7 Miles (7.83 Kilometers) 7.5 km
Other Maps: Trails Illustrated 126 Holy Cross, Ruedi Reservoir
Trail Number: 1926
Usage: Moderate
USGS Maps: Meredith

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

Sawyer Lake trail is 4.7 miles one-way and ends at an elevation of 11,000' at the lake.
Copyright: Tom Kuekes - US Forest Service
Sawyer Lake trail is 4.7 miles one-way and ends at an elevation of 11,000' at the lake.
This trail is a gradual to moderate hike for the entire distance. Sawyer Lake Trail is a 4.7 mile trail with 1,600 feet of elevation gain. You will find yourself traveling through thick forest, opening up into several meadows where elk and deer are occasionally spotted. Remember to camp 100 ft. from the lake. Sawyer Lake Trail is within the Hunter Frying Pan Wilderness, pleaseeducate yourself about Wilderness Ethics and rules.* DOGS MUST BE LEASHED out of consideration for both other people and wildlife.

Directions from Carbondale: From Carbondale travel east on Hwy. 82 to Basalt. Turn left into downtown Basalt and follow the Fryingpan River Road about 28 miles. Take a right turn (south) on Road #504 at the Norrie Colony sign. Follow this gravel road until it dead ends at the Sawyer Lake trailhead just past the second pond.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Accessible: June through September (NOTE: Snow may be found on the trail at higher elevations.) .

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

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Filed By: Cindy Boisvert (Grand Junction, CO)
Time of Day: 2pm
Length of Time: 4 1/2 hours
Difficulty: Moderate
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: This is THE picturesque Colorado hike. The spruce forest with open meadows of wildflowers and views of snowcapped peaks. I would recommend it for backpacking although I only did it as a day hike. It is gradual and visual with nice tent spots at the lake. There is even well made fire pits at the lake.
Conditions: Overall a very well maintained trail, but there are no trail markers such as flags in trees or posts with arrows, so I lost it twice. about 20 minutes into the hike I started hiking up a dry creek bed thinking I could find it again, and started thinking I should turn back, but then saw the trail running parallel to the creek bed. Lost it again after a stream crossing, but got back on track easily.Mosquitos can be bad so bring bug spray.
Water Availability: Lots of clear running stream crossings so a great hike for dogs. Especially in the heat of summer. Beware however, I did see several signs that a bear had been in the area, although I did not encounter one. (stripped bark from trees and scat near trail)
Recommended Clothing: Plenty of shade and sun exposure.
Suggested Accessories: The driving directions are a little vague. The turn off onto the gravel road is exactly at mile marker 28 on the Frying Pan River Rd. And the gravel road is about 4 miles until there is a fork where you turn right.

Time of Day: 10:30 A.M.
Length of Time: a little under 2 hours one way.
Difficulty: Moderate
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Beautiful and peaceful trail. Multiple streams with gradual inclines made for a pleasant hike.Definitely worth the drive.
Conditions: Conditions were perfect, no snow, no fallen trees in hiking path, not to steep and mostly shaded. A little bug spray kept the bugs at bay.
Water Availability: Camelbacks used (100 oz.) had over half left when trip was complete. Plenty of water sources along trip (if proper filtration avaialable)
Recommended Clothing: A little breezy at the lake, may want to bring a windbreaker.

Filed By: PK Schilling (Carbondale, CO)
Time of Day: 10 a.m.
Length of Time: Just under 2 hours one-way...
Difficulty: Moderate
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Beautiful hike for a friend's birthday. The lake is an excellent place for lunch and snooze after. Biggest reward - finding Fairy Slippers! Have hiked this trail for years and have not seen them previously.
Conditions: Two fairly large stream crossing with swift waters; able to find narrow point and jump across on one, the other had great logs to cross on. Encountered some minor snow fields up to .5 mile before the lake...very little post-holing required. Snow is probably gone by now.
Water Availability: Filled camel-backs - some 70 oz., some 100 oz. Several creeks to cross that could be used for water if one had proper filtering equipment.
Recommended Clothing: Needed windbreaker at the lake - breezy day.

Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Backpacking
ICON Fishing
ICON Hiking & Walking Sawyer Lake Trail

More Information

Visitor Information:

Snowmass Village Resort Association, 38 Village Square, P.O. Box 5566 , Snowmass Village, CO, 81615, Phone: 800-SNOWMASS, info@snowmassvillage.com

Links to other sites:
Forest Conservancy - Current Information from Local Volunteers: Closings and Conditions


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