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    Molas Lake to Animas River 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.
    12.9 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.
    649 m
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    Directions to Trailhead

    The Molas Lake to Animas River Hike is a great outdoor adventure in the San Juan Mountains that will take you through a variety of terrain with scenic mountain views. While out hiking the trail, you will make your way through meadows and forests as you descend alongside Molas Creek, eventually arriving at the peaceful banks of the Animas River. Hikers should make sure to bring bear spray and exercise all precautions along the trail, as bears are sometimes spotted in the area.

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    Route Description for Molas Lake to Animas River Hike

    If you are after a fun adventure in the San Juan Mountains that offers a good amount of difficulty, a variety of terrain, and scenic views of the picturesque Colorado landscape, then the Molas Lake to Animas River Hike will be a great route for you to explore.

    Setting out from the trailhead, you will head to the south across the open meadows and descend the hillside until you arrive at the banks of Molas Creek. Here, you will turn to the east and make your way further downhill along a series of switchbacks through a mixture of meadows and forest, where you will eventually come to the edge of the Animas River.

    Here, you can explore the area surrounding the riverbank, cross a bridge over its rushing waters, and take in the amazing views of the surrounding landscape, before heading back along the same trail. After climbing up the steep switchbacks and working your way through the meadows and forests, you will keep right at a junction that will take you on an alternate route to the trailhead past the shores of Molas Lake.

    Getting to the Molas Lake to Animas River Hike Trailhead

    The trailhead for the Molas Lake to Animas River Hike can be found at the parking lot off US-550, just beside Molas Lake.

    Route Information

    • Backcountry Campground

      Molas Lake Campground

    • When to do


    • Pets allowed


    • Family friendly

      Older Children only

    • Route Signage


    • Crowd Levels


    • Route Type


    Molas Lake to Animas River Hike Elevation Graph

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    Molas Lake to Animas River Hike Reviews

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