(Last Updated On: July 11, 2017)
Crested Butte is a hiking mecca. But, some of the best hikes have good end destinations, like a lake. Who doesn’t enjoy the serenity of a peaceful alpine lake? The nine hikes described below either end at a lake before retracing your tracks on the return, or pass by a lake (or lakes) on a loop. These are the best lake hikes in Crested Butte.
Three Lakes Trail
Distance: 4.5 miles
This loop has easy route finding and and moderate steepness. The loop can be shortened by only hiking to Dollar Lake and back, or by excluding the “off-shoot” to Dollar Lake from the loop trail. Three Lakes is a fantastic family hike. Fishing is common in Lost Lake Slough.
Distance: 13.5 miles
The Oh-Be-Joyful trail that leads toward Blue Lake is not steep until you reach the end of the valley. Steepness increases for the last two miles of travel to the lake. But, the hiking is not difficult. The difficulty, for many, is the actual length of the trip which is about 6.7 miles one-way. Some people may choose to do this hike as an overnight. Camping is common by Blue Lake, although signs state to stay a certain distance away from the lake. Trout still live in Blue Lake and many like to fish here.
Distance: 10 miles
The hike to Copper Lake begins as a very easy gradually ascending hike. The trail is wide and views are nice. But, after crossing the Copper Creek the second time, the trail narrows a bit and begins ascending with moderate steepness until reaching the lake.
Distance: 9.5 miles
The route to Yule Lakes has moderate steepness. The challenge is the route finding. While a trail leading in the right direction is easy to find at first, it eventually fades and becomes more difficult to find. Having a GPS and/or a map will be beneficial in ensuring you don’t miss the lakes!
Distance: 6 miles
If you get tired of the bumpy drive, you could always find a place to park the car and walk along the road until you reach the trailhead. However, this will make the hike longer.
Though well-defined usually, this trail is fairly steep most of the way and passes through some occasional tight over-grown willow patches. There is minimal exposure on this trail. But, it does pass through some streams. So, your feet might get wet.
Green Lake by Ruby
Distance: ~ 5 miles, depending on where you park your car (high clearance vehicles can make it closer, lower clearance vehicles will have to park further away)
Don’t confuse this Green Lake with the other “Green Lake trail” that is closer to the town of Crested Butte. To distinguish this Green Lake from the other, many call it “Green Lake by Ruby” (the peak) or Green Lake by Irwin (another lake and town). The route to the lake is of moderate steepness and largely on an old mining road.
Distance: 4 miles
The trial to Copley Lake is unmarked. But, if you follow the directions in our hiking guide, you will find it easily. But, make sure you have the directions! The route to Copley Lake largely travels on an old mining road that passes through a narrow valley. Flowers can be good along the hike sometimes, and the panorama from the lake is wonderful.
Meridian Lake, also called “Long Lake”
Distance: 1 to 2.5 miles depending on hiking route
The typical trail to the lake is only about a half mile long, but it is very steep. But, the lake can be accessed by walking on a longer, but less steep, old dirt road, which is about a mile long between the trailhead and the lake. The whole thing can be made into a 2.5-mile loop.
Distance: 16.5 to 17.5 miles, depending on ascent route to Hasley
The length of this hike is the hardest part. But, there are a couple of tricks to the route finding and also some relatively steep parts to the hike as well. Having a map for route finding, at a minimum, is highly recommended.
These lake hikes are great for late spring, summer, or early fall. Now, it’s time to get out and enjoy he best lake hikes in Crested Butte!
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