Hope Lake Trail is one of the most sought after trails near Telluride, CO and we had the pleasure of finding out why. Loved it!

High peaks hovering above us as we hike through green lush forests, crossing creeks, and hiking up switchbacks to find a beautiful alpine lake high above the treeline in a basin lined with 13ers.

 

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TRAILHEAD

We started hiking deep into a forest of fir and spruce, on a gentle path, then crossing a creek in Poverty Gulch where views of San Miguel Peak and Sheep Mountain started to appear. The first of many views to come!

 

 

THE SUN IS JUST BEGINNING TO COME UP OVER THE PEAKS

It’s early and the sun is just beginning to come up above the peaks. Hiking still on a gentle incline over rock slides and rock paths wth a terrain showing the beginnings of the fall season. So far we have not run into another hiker, it’s quiet, chilly, and beautiful.

 

 

HEADING UP NOW TO HOPE LAKE

Coming upon a signpost that said Hope Lake with an arrow, the trail becomes much more moderate with switchbacks going up and up for about 900 ft in elevation in a short distance.

The sun is fully up now and it’s warm and perfect.

 


 

 

First through the forest with intermittent views of “oh so many peaks”.

 

 

 

 

ABOVE TREELINE

Opening up to the high alpine tundra just before reaching Hope Lake, looking back, to the sides and everywhere, views! Feeling very grateful and totally in awe.

 

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Crossing across the top about a 1/4 mile we found Hope Lake. Crystal clear, green-blue, sitting in a basin just below San Miguel Peak (13er).

A trail leading high above the lake to our left which goes to Unnamed Pass adding another mile if desired.

 

 

 

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VIEWS HEADING BACK DOWN

Hiking back down took us by surprise as we viewed Vermillion Peak with all its colors, I’ve never seen anything like it. The sun causing different shades of rust and purple as we hiked down.

 

 

While we hike farther down we could see Mt. Wilson 14er and Lizard Head Peak way out west and found myself stumbling while trying to look and hike!

It’s September and the wildflowers have passed and the golds and reds have appeared. I have heard that in the summer months the wildflowers are waist high and spectacular. However, having no threat of rain, hail, or lightning in the Fall season is pretty nice too!

BE READY FOR HIGH ALTITUDE

Rated moderate, this hike really is gentle until the very last mile before reaching the lake. Starting at a pretty high altitude, you would benefit if acclimated before if you are new to hiking or new to Colorado before attempting this one.

 


 

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TROUT LAKE – RELAX HERE!

At the bottom of the hike is Trout Lake. (you passed it on the way to the trailhead). Bring a paddleboard, a kayak, or rent one and enjoy after a great hike on the mountain. One of the prettiest lakes in Colorado.

FINDING THE TRAILHEAD FOR HOPE LAKE

Just before reaching the town of Telluride – turn right on State Hwy 145, and go approx.10 miles. Take a left at the road sign for Trout Lake (FR #626 / North Trout Lake Road). Travel FR #626 for about a mile and turn left onto FR #627. Here the road becomes rougher and a high clearance vehicle is recommended. Go 2.5 miles to the Trailhead. NOTE: We found the road easy and a smaller car could make it if careful. However, checking online for other hiking reports close to your time to go would be beneficial. (alltrails.com is a good one). Weather always a factor in road conditions!

TIDBITS

5.3 mile out and back

Rated: moderate 

Start Elevation: 10,750 ft.

Lake Elevation: 11,880 ft.

Open to hiking, horseback

Uncompahgre National Forest

Closest town: Telluride, CO

No restroom

Busy in summer, popular

Known for wildflowers

Dispersed camping along FR #627 

The National Forest Service has a cabin near Telluride to rent in the winter only “Matterhorn Cabin”. Might be of interest to someone!

MORE TRAILS THAT YOU MIGHT LIKE:

Browns Creek Falls HIke, Buena Vista, CO

Mohawk Lakes Trail, Breckenridge, CO

Booth Lake Trail, Vail, CO

Native Lake Trail, Leadville, CO

Herman Gulch Trail – Bakersville, CO

Blue Lakes Trail – Ridgway, CO

Note: Many of the links are affiliate links which means I receive a very small commission (at no added cost to you).