Lower Cataract Lake Trail Loop is short but “oh so sweet”! An adventure for both young and old. The perfect casual day hike or beginner snowshoe trek.


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It’s early Sept and the fall colors are just starting to turn. We started on the left fork of the trail and went clockwise around the lake hearing that is the best hiking experience.


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Anticipating a quick, not too exciting trail, only to be pleasantly surprised at the unexpected beauty surrounding us while wandering through thick Aspen grooves and eventually into a dense spruce-fir forest.


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Quite often we spotted views of the lake winding in and out of the trees. One of the most popular waterfalls in the area is located at the wood bridge along the trail.

Sadly, this is late in the season and we missed it. In early spring and through the summer, a large waterfall normally thunders down the mountainside.

Be prepared! Click Here for appropriate gear to have in your backpack on every hike in Colorado.


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Hiking out of the dense forest, the trail passes by the lake’s marshy area where fishermen enjoyed the waters. Ascending onward to the trail’s highest point, things got a bit rockier and narrow, giving us a touch of moderate hiking.


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Impressive views of the Gore Range with the lake below had us stopping often to take it all in. Stunned at how breathtaking the views were.

Leaves were floating aimlessly as we passed under large Aspens trees and hiked through colorful sage bushes until the trail merged with a road that lead us to the end of the loop.




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Looking forward to coming back in early summer and seeing the waterfall and in winter for a snowshoe trek!

One of those trails that you’ll never get bored on and perfect for a laid-back day in any season.


2.5 mile loop

Rated: easy

Trail # 57

Family and dog friendly

Open to: Hiking, Snowshoeing, Fishing

Start Elevation: 8,652’ Minimal elevation gain


Eagles Nest Wilderness

White River National Forest


Finding the trailhead: From Silverthorne: Travel north on Hwy 9 out of town towards Green Mountain Reservoir. Just before the reservoir turns left onto Heeney Rd. Travel 5 miles, turn left on Cataract Creek Rd. The road is dirt and slightly narrow and rough in spots but passable. Go past the Surprise Lake Trailhead to the Lower Cataract Lake Trailhead and parking.


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A GENTILE REMINDER: Venturing off trails damages vegetation, leads to erosion, and impacts wildlife.


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