Distance: 8.2 miles (round trip)
Uncompahgre National Forest, near Lake City in Southwest Colorado
A stiff ascent through aspen groves, forest and meadows leads to pretty Crystal Lake set against the eastern slopes of Crystal Peak. Fine views encompass the vast tundra-clad plateaus to the east and the high peaks towering above Henson Creek to the south
See Trail Detail/Full Description
- Distance: 8.2 miles (round trip) to Crystal Lake
- Elevation: 8,875-ft. at Trailhead
11,760-ft. at Crystal Lake
- Elevation Gain: 2,885-ft. to Crystal Lake
- Difficulty: moderate-strenuous
- More Hikes in:
Lake City / Southwest Colorado
Why Hike Crystal Lake
Crystal Lake, set beneath the eastern slopes of Crystal Peak (12,933-ft.), is the goal of this hike reached by a steady, moderately-steep climb through forests and intermittent meadows. Views along the way encompass the high tundra-clad plateaus to the east. As you near the lake vistas open to the high peaks rising to the south of Henson Creek.
This hike offers a great workout and is a good option if weather is threatening the high peaks to the west. It is particularly nice in the fall when the leaves are changing.
Extend the hike by climbing to the summit of Crystal Peak, which adds 2.0 miles and close to 1,200-ft to the elevation gain to the day. From the summit enjoy fine views of Uncompahgre Peak (14,309-ft.), Redcloud Peak (14,034-ft.) and the sea of peaks filling the horizon to the west/southwest.
Buy the Book
This opinionated guide includes all the hikes in the Ouray, Telluride, Silverton and Lake City sections of the website plus info on local services and nearby attractions.
Trail Detail/Full Description / Trail Photo Gallery / Trail Map
Other Hiking Regions in: