Oh Be Joyful Trail

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This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
22.4 km
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
697 m
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Directions to Trailhead
Oh Be Joyful Trail

The Oh be Joyful Trail is a wonderfully scenic, long distance hiking route in the Elk Mountains of Colorado that will take you up to a charming lake. While out walking the trail, you will pass through a valley that is flanked by rugged mountain peaks, as you follow the Oh Be Joyful Creek up to the tranquil shores of Blue Lake. This route and the surrounding area are not accessible in the winter months, due to snowy and dangerous conditions.

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Route Description for Oh Be Joyful Trail

The Oh Be Joyful Trail is a lengthy route leading into the Elk Mountains that features a fairly gradual climb, but the terrain is still quite rugged. Be sure to wear proper hiking boots for this adventure. Additionally, for those looking to break this into a multi-day hike, there is a campsite at Blue Lake; however, it is usually very busy and will require you to arrive early or pick an alternate spot if full. Lastly, you can drive further from the trailhead if you are looking to shorten the overall distance of the route, but you will need a 4x4 vehicle.

While the climb may be a gradual one, that doesn’t mean that the scenery along this hike won’t be exciting! As you work through the valley alongside Oh Be Joyful Creek, you will enjoy views of rugged mountain peaks flanking you in every direction, before arriving at the charming shores of Blue Lake. This is a great route to pair with a fun weekend of camping in the Elk Mountains.

Setting out from the trailhead, make your way southeast on Oh Be Joyful NFSR 754 and follow it for 0.6 km to reach the Oh Be Joyful Recreation Area. Heading right at the fork in the road, you will cross over the Slate River and pass the campground, keeping right along the trail to make your way northwest and into the valley.

After 1.9 km from the campground, you will keep right along the path and continue on to the northwest, enjoying views of Mount Emmons to the south and Peeler Peak to the west. From here, you will gradually climb uphill through the valley alongside Oh Be Joyful Creek over the course of the next 5.7 km. Here, you will arrive at a fork in the path.

Heading to the left here, you will cross over Oh Be Joyful Creek and continue climbing further uphill, where you will quickly come to another junction, with the right path leading up to Oh Be Joyful Pass. Do not take this route. Instead, take the path on the left and follow it uphill for 1.5 km, taking some time to appreciate the views of the rugged mountain peaks surrounding you before arriving at yet another junction in the trail.

Turning right here, you will quickly come to the beautifully scenic shores of Blue Lake, where you will be able to relax at the water’s edge while being surrounded by views of Afley Peak to the northwest, Purple Peak to the southwest, and Carfield Peak to the east. After exploring the terrain surrounding the lake, simply head back down the same trail to return to your vehicle having completed the Oh Be Joyful Trail.

Trail Highlights

Mount Emmons

Located in the Elk Mountains Range to the northwest of Crested Butte, Colorado, Mount Emmons is a rugged mountain peak that stands at 3,780 m above sea level. The peak was named after Samuel Franklin Emmons, a geologist who was in charge of the Colorado division of the United States Geological Survey.

Insider Hints for Oh Be Joyful Trail

  • Wear proper hiking boots with good support.
  • This is a great trail to pair with a weekend of camping at the Oh Be Joyful Campground near the trailhead.
  • You can park further up from the trailhead; however, you will need a 4x4 vehicle.

Getting to the Oh Be Joyful Trail Trailhead

The trailhead for the Oh Be Joyful Trail can be found at the Oh Be Joyful Horse Trailer parking lot on Slate River Road.

Route Information

  • Backcountry Campground

    Oh Be Joyful Campground, Blue Lake Campsite

  • When to do


  • Pets allowed

    Yes - On Leash

  • Family friendly


  • Route Signage


  • Crowd Levels


  • Route Type

    Out and back

Oh Be Joyful Trail Elevation Graph

Weather Forecast

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Oh Be Joyful Trail Reviews

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