The lightly used trail to Josephine Lake wanders through forest, passes two large parks and then travels along a ridge with fine views of the Elk Mountain Range and nearby 12,000-ft. peaks. (full description)
The off-the-beaten-path hike to Josephine Lake is a good option if you are looking for solitude, good views and the chance to see some wildlife. The lake, located in the Holy Cross Wilderness, is nestled beneath 12,000-ft. peaks in the Sawatch Range. Trailhead access is via a long, scenic car ride up the Hunter Fryingpan Road out of Basalt.
The hike starts with a steep climb through aspen and then spruce-pine forest, passing two large meadows, Henderson Park and Coffeepot Park. Beyond Coffeepot the trail climbs to and then travels along a high ridge to a trail dropping down to Josephine Lake.
As you attain the ridge the trees give way to meadows and views open to a panorama stretching across the rolling hills of the Hunter Fryingpan Wilderness to the Elk Mountain Range in the south. On clear day you should be able to pick out Mt Sopris, Capitol Peak, Snowmass Mountain, the Maroon Bells and Pyramid Peak. Near at hand are the unnamed 12,000-ft peaks filling the skyline to the north.
An optional off-trail side trip continues up the ridge to the top of Peak 12191 with great views of the nearby peaks and lakes.
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