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    Upper Sand Creek Lake Hike

    This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
    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.
    11.9 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.
    599 m
    User Ratings
    These ratings are completed by users who have completed this trail and not subject to reviews by 10Adventures.
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    Directions to Trailhead

    Hiking the Upper Sand Creek Lake Trail is an incredible experience. Located in the Great Sand Dunes National Park, this adventure diverges from the quintessential dune hikes and instead immerses intrepid explorers high into the Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range. Whether it be the elevation or vistas, this trek will take your breath away!

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    Route Description for Upper Sand Creek Lake Hike

    The Upper Sand Creek Lake Hike is a must-add to your Colorado adventure itinerary, trust us. This incredible adventure boasts some of the most beautiful scenes from the alpine lake. Nestled in mountain cirque, this trek travels at high elevations, so it is important to ensure you are acclimatized to the area before attempting this feat. We recommend departing at dawn to reach the shores before noon to avoid getting stuck in an afternoon storm. A high-altitude trek like this always warrants windy and cold conditions, so wear layers and pack microspikes if the rocky terrain is cloaked with ice. Note the National Park requires visitors to purchase a pass which costs $25USD for 1-6 passenger vehicles.

    Embark on your expedition along the Upper Sand Creek Lake Trail from the Music Pass Trailhead. From here, track west along the Music Pass Trail through dense mixed pine forests. Soon after your departure, you will reach Music Pass. From here, revel in the sky-crapping peaks that encompass you from the exposed overlook. Continue west, and you will eventually reach an intersection. Veer right here, and you will be diverted onto the Upper Sand Creek Lake Trail. Follow this route northwest back below the treeline before cresting the lake.

    Carefully navigate the switchbacks up the rocky ridge, and the path will soon open to the shimmering lake, which is hemmed by looming craggy peaks. Music Mountain is in the west, Milwaukee Peak in the northwest, and Marble Mountain in the northeast. Revel in the breathtaking views and when you are ready, retrace your footing along the path back to the trailhead.

    Getting to the Upper Sand Creek Lake Hike Trailhead

    The Upper Sand Creek Lake Hike departs from the Music Pass Trailhead at the end of Music Pass Road (FS119).

    Route Information

    • Backcountry Campground

      Dispersed Backcountry Camping. Note a permit is required from the Visitors Center.

    • When to do


    • Pets allowed

      Yes - On Leash

    • Family friendly

      Older Children only

    • Route Signage


    • Crowd Levels


    • Route Type

      Out and back

    Upper Sand Creek Lake Hike Elevation Graph

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    Upper Sand Creek Lake Hike Reviews

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