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    Timberline Lake Trail

    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.
    8.9 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.
    276 m
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    Directions to Trailhead

    Reconnect with nature as you trek the timberline Lake Trail—a stunning adventure through the Holy Cross Wilderness. Reserved for intrepid spirits, this partially maintained trail demands stream crossings and ascents through towering pines up to the shimmering blue-hued lake. Forest treks, mountain views and an alpine lake, what more could you ask for?

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    Route Description for Timberline Lake Trail

    The Timberline Lake Trail is an unassumingly beautiful adventure to a glittering alpine lake through the San Isabel National Forest. Perfect for a family-friendly nature walk, this path travels at a high altitude, so make sure you are acclimated to the area’s elevation before your hike. The charm of the Timberline Lake Hike is its primitiveness– so expect to do some bushwalking and stream crossings! Be sure to wear shoes you don’t mind getting wet, especially in the springtime. Trade your hiking boots for snowshoes to enjoy this stunning adventure year-round in the winter months. Note this route travels through the dense wilderness, so be mindful of wildlife!

    Contrary to its name, Timberline Lake is situated just shy of the timberline in Colorado’s high country. Traveling through dense woodlands, along a babbling brook, and up to an alpine lake flanked by impressive peaks, this epic adventure exhibits the diversity and beauty of the Colorado wilderness. If you are anything like us, you appreciate an exciting hike, and the Timberline Lake Trail delivers just that. Let the unmaintained terrain distract you as you travel up to the lake. This trek is one of our favorite excursions in the Sawatch Mountain Range, and if you adventure it, we know you will love it too.

    Begin your journey along the Timberline Lake Trail from the trailhead west of Turquoise Lake Road. Departing from the trailhead, track west along Colorado Trail Segment 9. Shortly after your departure, you will encounter an intersection, where you will keep right and be diverted onto the Timberline Lake Trail. The route will eventually enter the Holy Cross Wilderness, interacting with several streams. Following the curves of the Lake Fork Steam, the sounds of the gurgling waters will lull you into a state of relaxation. Enjoy the tree shade of the towering pines and revel in the beauty of the vibrant wildflowers in the summer months.

    As you near the lake, the terrain will become increasingly steep and rocky. Carefully navigate the stream crossings, following the route up to Timberline Lake. From the shores of the alpine lake, revel in the scenery of the snow-capped cliffs that hem the lake and the verdant greenery that encircles the shimmering waters. At the junction, you can choose to hike around the lake's perimeter from either direction. We trekked clockwise for clarity’s sake, keeping left at the intersection.

    Now wandering along the lake’s shore, the path is more overgrown and unmarked. Use the trail GPS and hug the curves of the shoreline to avoid getting lost. As you walk, you will pass several dispersed campsites nestled beneath the tree shade of evergreens. If you have your fishing rod, try your hand at some trout, or, if you are feeling brave, hop into the inviting blue-hued waters! When you reconnect with the Timberline Lake Trail, retrace your footing back to the trailhead—marking the end of your adventure.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Can you fish in Timberline Lake?

    Yes, you can fish in Timberline Lake assuming you have a valid Colorado fishing license. Note it is only catch and release in Timberline Lake.

    Where is Timberline Lake?

    Timberline Lake is an alpine lake located in the Holy Cross Wilderness Area of the San Isabel National Forest near Leadville, CO.

    Can you swim in Timberline Lake?

    Yes, you can swim in Timberline Lake, but it may be chilly!

    How long is the Timberline Lake Trail?

    The Timberline Lake Trail travels 8.9 km through the San Isabel National Forest.

    Insider Hints for Timberline Lake Trail

    • Pack your fishing rod and practice catch and release in Timberline Lake
    • Be mindful of bears as you trek through the wilderness up to the alpine lake
    • Check out Turquoise Lake after your trek
    • In the winter months, trade your hiking boots for snowshoes!
    • Grab a well-deserved drink at Two Mile Brewing Company in Leadville after your adventure
    • Be aware, stream crossings in the spring will undoubtedly demand you to get your feet wet

    Getting to the Timberline Lake Trail Trailhead

    The Timberline Lake Trail is accessed via the trailhead off Turquoise Lake Road.

    Route Information

    • Backcountry Campground

      Yes, dispersed backcountry camping.

    • When to do


    • Pets allowed

      Yes - On Leash

    • Family friendly

      Older Children only

    • Route Signage


    • Crowd Levels


    • Route Type


    Timberline Lake Trail Elevation Graph

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    Timberline Lake Trail Reviews

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