Native Lake Trail, near Leadville CO, is one for the bucket list of hikes in Colorado. You’ll find yourself hiking uphill through dense pines and spruces, crossing creeks, hiking across alpine tundra above treeline then down again with towering views of Mt. Massive and the Continental Divide.

 

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This trail had a tremendous effect on us! Beautiful, not complicated, just a moderate path with ever-changing scenery and views throughout.

STARTING OFF ON A BRISK EARLY MORNING

It’s really early and the forest is dark and mysterious as we enter. Fallen trees, moss-covered rocks, and the sound of water beneath the foilage. I have to admit, a bit spooky until we started heading uphill.

 

 

Not long and the sun and sky appear and it’s warm and inviting as we hike up into the pines. A couple of long switchbacks left us wondering which direction we are going, west or east as we ascended.

 

 

Several times we crossed the same creek rushing down the mountainside, as we made our way up. Was very adventurous. It’s July and the wildflowers were abundant.

 

 

 

 

REACHING TREELINE

Hiked right out of the trees and here we are at treeline, having views of the Continental DIvide surrounding us on a wide expanse of alpine tundra. Truly amazing, making me stop constantly trying to take it all in.

A trail to be prepared for with all the recommended hiking essentials

 

 

Large logs lined the way to direct us on the trail across the alpine meadow.

Note: Weather conditions can change rapidly. Start your hike early in the morning and be below treeline by early afternoon. Turn back if the sky darkens or thunder or lightning occurs.

 

 

Lots of small marshy ponds alongside us. A bit of mud here and there to transverse but nothing that prevented continuing.


 

 

Looking down the valley towards the town of Leadville. Crystal clear skies and views in every direction of 13ers and 14ers were spellbinding.

 

 

 

 

Leaving the tundra and descending to Native Lake which we found later a heart-pumping trek on the way back up.

 

 

LEAVING THE ALPINE TUNDRA

Back in the trees hiking down rocky terrain.

 


 

 

Looking down you can see Native Lake and think you’re almost there! But that was not the case, a lot of hiking left to go before reaching the bottom.

Water cascading down the crevices alongside us and Mt. Massive looming above us was stunning as we hiked downward.

WANT MORE INCREDIBLE AlPINE HIKES?

McCullough Gulch Trail – Breckenridge, CO

Kroenke Lake Trail – Buena Vista, CO

Ptarmigan Lake Trail – Cottonwood Pass

Blue Lakes Trail – San Juan Mountains

and one easier hike – Inter-laken Trail – Twin Lakes, CO

 

 

Reaching the bottom, going deeper into the forest, crossing over rocks and water, and here we are, finding Native Lake. Small, marshy, and a welcome break to an already long hike.

WE LOVED THIS HIKE FOR ITS DIVERSITY

So much variety in terrain and scenery. One of those pleasant hikes you can’t go wrong choosing.

LOCATED: From the town of Leadville follow signs to Turquoise Lake. Head on the southern lake route (Lake County Rd 104) to the junction of Forest Service Road 104. Head left up Hagerman Pass Rd (Forest Service Road 105) and travel about 3 miles to the trailhead. It will be on your left with a small parking area tucked off the road.

TIDBITS
8.2 miles out and back

Rated: moderate

Elevation start: 10,780 ft. Across the tundra 11,879 ft. at the lake 11,293 ft,

Open to leashed dogs

No restrooms

Mt. Massive Wilderness

San Isabel National Forest

Nearest town: Leadville, CO

 


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