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    Turquoise 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.
    17.7 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.
    132 m
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    Directions to Trailhead
    Turquoise Lake Trail

    Immerse yourself in nature and enjoy sights of the snow-capped Sawatch Mountain Range peaks as you venture the Turquoise Lake Trail. This impressively scenic adventure through the high country exhibits the diversity of the Colorado wilderness. Trek along the shores of the alpine lake encircled by lodgepole pines and revel in the views of the craggy summits in the background. This unique experience is a must-add to your Leadville itinerary.

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    Route Description for Turquoise Lake Trail

    The Turquoise Lake Trail is an epic, family-friendly adventure in Colorado’s high country. Sitting at about 3,000 m in elevation, this excursion presents the ideal opportunity to get acclimated to the area’s altitude prior to attempting a demanding summit hike. This revered trail is a crowd favorite, so you will undoubtedly be sharing the path with like-minded outdoor enthusiasts. If you are seeking a walk-in solitude, we suggest departing before dawn or heading to the lake in the off-season. As this path travels through the wilderness and forestlands it is important to be vigilant of wildlife—including black bears. Though the mildly undulating path is long, it can easily be customized to the hikers’ abilities by simply turning around prior to the trail’s proper end.

    If you are anything like us, then you also enjoy a lakeside stroll—especially when there are mountain views involved. The Turquoise Lake Hike is an incredible adventure that will satisfy novice and experienced hikers alike. Trekking around one of the largest bodies of water in the state, the vistas, and lush wilderness are unparalleled. Enjoy the verdant lodgepole pines and fauna along the path, whilst noticing sailboats, canoes, and kayaks dotting the glittering lake. Our favorite aspect of the hike is undoubtedly the views of the snow-dusted craggy peaks that line the horizon. Shared with bikers, you will be in the company of many outdoor lovers as you trek the Turquoise Lake Trail.

    Embark on your adventure along the Turquoise Lake Trail from the trailhead off the parking lot and boat launch. From here, track northeast along the Turquoise Lake Trail. The initial segment of the hike will guide adventurers past the numerous campsites along the shimmering lake’s eastern shore. As you wander, you will likely see visitors enjoying the waters by paddleboards, sailboats, canoes, and more. Follow along the water’s edge and the route will eventually divert west.

    As you trek west, enjoy sights of the snow-dusted peaks towering above the tree line in the south. Now weaving between the shade of lodgepole pines, the sounds of the singing birds will lull you into a state of relaxation. Intersecting with several alpine streams along the way, this stunning adventure warrants endless photo opportunities. You will meet the trail’s end when the route meets the western trailhead. From here, revel in the sights of the Mount Massive Wilderness summits, and when you are ready to head back, simply retrace your footing along the path to the trailhead. If you are seeking a change of scenery, you can loop back along the shoulder of the Turquoise Lake Road back to your starting point.

    Trail Highlights

    Turquoise Lake

    Turquoise Lake is an extremely popular high country recreation area near Leadville, Colorado. The human-made reservoir sits at about 3,048 m of elevation in the San Isabel National Forest. Ranked 13th on the list of Colorado’s biggest lakes, this body of water is pretty impressive. With over 300 campsites along the lake, this area is a frequent weekend escape in the summer months.

    Though many attribute the name to the lake’s blue-hue, it was actually named for the area’s turquoise mines. Though the lake is believed to have been naturally occurring, in the 19th century it was dammed to provide water to the mining operations. Today the lake remains managed by the Sugar Loaf Dam, which was completed in 1968. If you have time, Turquoise Lake is a must-visit when in the Leadville area.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Can you swim in Turquoise Lake, Colorado?

    Yes, swimming is permitted in Turquoise Lake, but the alpine water is extremely chilly!

    Can you drive around Turquoise Lake?

    Yes, the Turquoise Lake Road is a lovely drive through forests and along the shoreline that reveals stunning mountain views.

    Are dogs allowed at Turquoise Lake?

    Yes, dogs are permitted at Turquoise Lake and along the trails if they remain on-leash.

    How long is the Turquoise Lake Trail?

    The Turquoise Lake Trail travels over 17.0 km along the northeastern side of the lake, but the hike can be customized to the hiker’s needs and abilities.

    Insider Hints for Turquoise Lake Trail

    • On a warm day, a dip in the chilly alpine waters can be refreshing
    • Consider camping at one of the many campgrounds along the lake and be the first one on the trail in the morning
    • Grab a kayak or canoe and enjoy the shimmering lake from a different perspective
    • When the snow flies, trade your hiking boots for snowshoes or cross-country skis to enjoy this scenic adventure year-round
    • Grab a coffee and a sweet treat at City on a Hill Coffee in Leadville after your walk

    Getting to the Turquoise Lake Trail Trailhead

    The Turquoise Lake Trail departs from the trailhead off County Road 4/Turquoise Lake Road.

    Route Information

    • Backcountry Campground

      Several campgrounds near the trailhead and dispersed

    • When to do


    • Pets allowed

      Yes - On Leash

    • Family friendly


    • Route Signage


    • Crowd Levels


    • Route Type

      Out and back

    Turquoise Lake Trail Elevation Graph

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    Turquoise Lake Trail Reviews

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