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Fishing: Colorado > White River National Forest > Eagle Ranger District

Quick Facts

Middle Lake

Elevation: 11,120 Feet (3466.3 Meters)
Size: 10 Acres




Satellite and Topo Map




General Description

View from the ridge between Middle Lake and Lake Thomas, Holy Cross Wilderness
Copyright: - US Forest Service
View from the ridge between Middle Lake and Lake Thomas, Holy Cross Wilderness
AREA DESCRIPTION
Middle Lake is a picturesque 9.6 acre glacial pothole surrounded by rocky, 12,000 foot tall, snow-covered peaks. At an elevation of 11,120 feet, its maximum depth is 27 feet, with a shoal area of approximately 20%. Inlets and outlets are good streams with spawning areas common in both.

FISHING OPPORTUNITIES
Middle Lake receives light fishing pressures on the existing rainbow and Colorado native cutthroat trout. Since the spawning areas result in good reproduction, this lake is not stocked. Shore fishing at such a scenic site is well-worth the long climb up.

Directions from Eagle: Middle Lake is located in the Holy Cross Wilderness and is accessed by foot travel only , up the 3.5 mile steep and rocky Middle Lake Trail, #2223. Go 18 miles east on I-70 to the Edwards exit (#163). Go south on Highway 6, then turn west . Go 0.7 mile and turn right onto Lake Creek Road, at the National Forest Access sign. Travel 1.8 miles and turn right onto West Lake Creek Road. Be sure to stay on West Lake Creek Road as it winds through a residential area. Follow to Forest Road 423, a rough, rutted 4-wheel drive road and take it 3.2 miles until it deadends at Baryeta Cabins site. There is limited parking at the turnaround. The trail begins on the right-hand side just before reaching the cabin site, but there is only parking at the turnaround. There are no facilities at the trailhead. Those not wanting to drive the very rough Road 423, can park at the bottom and walk the 3.2 miles to the Baryeta Cabins site.There are no facilities at the trailhead. Mountain bikers using the Bareyta Cabins Road are reminded that bikes are not permitted on trails through the Wilderness.

Directions from Vail: Middle Lake is located in the Holy Cross Wilderness and is accessed by foot travel only , up the 3.5 mile steep and rocky Middle Lake Trail, #2223. Go 13 miles west on I-70 to the Edwards exit (#163). Go south on Highway 6, then turn west . Go 0.7 mile and turn right onto Lake Creek Road, at the National Forest Access sign. Travel 1.8 miles and turn right onto West Lake Creek Road. Be sure to stay on West Lake Creek Road as it winds through a residential area. Follow to Forest Road 423, a rough, rutted 4-wheel drive road and take it 3.2 miles until it deadends at Baryeta Cabins site. There is limited parking at the turnaround. The trail begins on the right-hand side just before reaching the cabin site, but there is only parking at the turnaround. There are no facilities at the trailhead. Those not wanting to drive the very rough Road 423, can park at the bottom and walk the 3.2 miles to the Baryeta Cabins site.There are no facilities at the trailhead. Mountain bikers using the Bareyta Cabins Road are reminded that bikes are not permitted on trails through the Wilderness.

Directions from Beaver Creek: Middle Lake is located in the Holy Cross Wilderness and is accessed by foot travel only , up the 3.5 mile steep and rocky Middle Lake Trail, #2223. Go 4 miles west on I-70 to the Edwards exit (#163). Go south on Highway 6, then turn west . Go 0.7 mile and turn right onto Lake Creek Road, at the National Forest Access sign. Travel 1.8 miles and turn right onto West Lake Creek Road. Be sure to stay on West Lake Creek Road as it winds through a residential area. Follow to Forest Road 423, a rough, rutted 4-wheel drive road and take it 3.2 miles until it deadends at Baryeta Cabins site. There is limited parking at the turnaround. The trail begins on the right-hand side just before reaching the cabin site, but there is only parking at the turnaround. There are no facilities at the trailhead. Those not wanting to drive the very rough Road 423, can park at the bottom and walk the 3.2 miles to the Baryeta Cabins site.There are no facilities at the trailhead. Mountain bikers using the Bareyta Cabins Road are reminded that bikes are not permitted on trails through the Wilderness.



Current Conditions & Trip Reports
Iced over Updated: 2002-01-16 09:55:00.0


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Filed By: joe (edwards, CO)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Get ready for a serious hike!!! The trail is pretty easy to follow once you find it. Just keep on the lookout for the rock cairns on the upper sections. Going in is a challenge, but once you get there, it is some of the best fishing and pristine wilderness you will encounter around here. I didn't see another person for 2 days!! Keep in mind that on the way out, you will need to climb back up the same way you came in. It's tough, but definitely easier than the hike in. I found all the info I needed for this trip from this site and it's links.
Conditions: The 4x4 road has two or three technical spots, but the rest can be cleared with a stock SUV or any high clearance vehicle. A little ways up the road, you will encounter a nasty mud hole and ruts that you could lose a car in. After this section, you should be fine. When you park at the turn around, head down hill along the path, cross the log bridge, and your off. There is a lot of wildlife still left in these woods so use your senses. I saw marmots, ptarmigan, bear scat, and an elk came sniffing my tent around 2am.
Water Availability: I took a Nalgene bottle and some purification tablets. There is a nice, clear stream about 1 mile in that you should fill up at. The first mile of this hike will eat up all the water you brought... very steep. After that, you come across some water in the alpine fields on your descent to the lake (about the 2.5 mile mark). The water at the lake is crystal clear and there are several streams and inlets to pick from. It's always a good idea to treat your water, but up there it almost feels pointless!
Recommended Clothing: It gets cold at night. I went in mid August and needed my 20degree bag. During the days though you will bake in pants. Bring either zip off pants or lightweight pants in your pack (although 2 miles into the hike, you will wish you had saved the weight in your pack!!)
Suggested Accessories: BUG SPRAY!!!! I had bug bracelets and DDT spray and still got swarmed!! Long pants and shirts are nice, but bring the strongest spray/ bug bomb you can find. Bring lightweight gear for the hike, but don't forget the fly rod!! They were hitting like crazy on yellow caddis and anything with red that floated!!! Must have hit about 20 good sized green backs!! Please respect the catch and release of these protected species.

Filed By: Keith Livengood (Raleigh, NC)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: The road to the trailhead requires a 4wd and high clearance vehicle. It crosses a deep culvert and a rock slide. The trail is a very difficult steep climb. After reaching the ridge, watch for cairns marking a very steep decent. It is well marked until a lowland very shallow pond and swampy area is encountered about 1/4 mile from the actual lake. Cross this area and continue to head east toward the high mountain peaks opposite the valley. You will descend through a heavily wooded area and finally reach the lake. From trailhead, the hike took us 3 1/2 hours. Be aware, the trail is non-existent the last 1/4 mile. Set your sites on the East Peaks with the two camel humps. Pick your way in that direction though heavy forest with numerous downed trees.
Conditions: We backpacked in and spent 2 nights 7/13/05. The mosquitos and flies were bad. Highly recommend deet and long sleeves and pants. We camped about 1/4 mile away from the lake on a rocky outcropping overlooking the stream and lowland area reached on the trail before reaching the lake. Good water is abundant from the streams coming down from the snowmelt. Be aware of the possibility of bears in the area.
Water Availability: Fishing was terrific on the north end of the lake where the stream exits the lake. We caught numerous cutthroat trout in the 12 to 16 inch range.



Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Cold Water Fishing Cutthroat and Rainbow Trout in Middle Lake
Yes
ICON Hiking & Walking Middle Lake Trail #2223, access to Middle Lake
Yes
ICON Lakes & Reservoirs Middle Lake
Yes
ICON Viewing Scenery Middle Lake trail and lake
Yes



More Information

Visitor Information:

Vail Valley Partnership, 100 East Meadow Drive , Vail, CO, 81657, Phone: 800-525-3875, Fax: 970-476-6008, www.visitvailvalley.com

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