Silver Dollar Lakes Trail on stunning Guanella Pass is a true Colorado experience! Beautiful dense pine forest to high above timberline reaching spectacular views while passing one alpine lake, being greeted by a 2nd alpine lake, and reaching the 3rd lake at 12,178 in elevation.
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VIEWS OF NAYLOR LAKE
We began at the official trailhead and found ourselves hiking in a thick forest climbing steadily for about a 1/2 mile then towards a ridge climbing higher when views of Naylor Lake appearing below us, which is private property.
Now the trail has short, steep areas and we are above treeline hiking towards Silver Dollar Lake for another mile.
Across open tundra with phenomenal winds today (be aware!) and we are surrounded by Square Top Mountian to the south and Mount Wilcox to the north.
ARRIVING SILVER DOLLAR LAKE
Silver Dollar Lake, deep blue with whitecaps and gorgeous. Lots of areas to explore and a water crossing to get to the other side. Skipped a few rocks over the water and headed up a short but steep trail to Murray Lake.
Murray Lake. Beautiful yet so windy that we did not stay long. The late September winds are cold and it did not take us long to head back down. On a warmer day, you could spend a lot of time exploring or even challenge yourself to climb 13,408′ Mt. Wilcox.
Heading down from Murray Lake and looking down onto Silver Lake, then farther down to Naylor Lake the view is amazing. It’s a smoky day from all the recent forest fires up north and left a mystical feeling in the air, not like a Colorado bluebird day. A different kind of beauty.
HEADING BACK DOWN
The way down was as exciting as the hike up. Beautiful views aside us and stretching far down the mountain.
A trail you want to be prepared for with appropriate hiking gear. Please check out “What’s in Your Day Pack” for a list of items to consider anytime hiking.
BACK IN THE PINES
The forest is notable for hiking through thick dense pines, nothing like the smells and sounds deep in the trees.
9.9 miles from the town of Georgetown, CO on Guanella Pass Road. Exit #228 off of I-70 for Georgetown and follow signs to Guanella Pass. Travel 9.9 miles, to Silver Dollar Lake parking area located on the right, and an additional parking area on the left. In the right parking lot, there is a 4WD road that continues .06 miles to the trailhead. I had a Subaru Forester and made it but it is not recommended for 2WD.
Popular trail and can become crowded for parking so come early! Not a long hike so you may be able to wait a couple of hours and spaces will open up. Summer months being the most popular.
Most of this hike is above the treeline and winds, lightning, and rain/snow is very possible. Come prepared for any conditions. Head for treeline when you see the weather changing not after it’s here!
The air is thin, making it a bit more challenging for some. Bring hydration tablets and come back down if feeling sick at all. Some areas are steep but in general, this is a great trail for you if you’ve hiked some and want to start doing high altitude trails.
3.3 miles out and back to Silver Dollar Lake
4.3 miles out and back to Murray Lake
Silver Dollar – 11,950′ elevation
Murray Lake – 12,178′ elevation
Camping: Guanella Pass Campground
Open to leashed dogs, horses
Nearest town: Georgetown, CO
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