ATTRACTIONS AND CONSIDERATIONS:
Copyright: USDA Forest Service
Gilpin Lake, Mount Zirkel Wilderness
This area was affected by a large tree blowdown. Contact the Hahns Peak/Bears Ears Ranger District for current conditions.
Gilpin Lake, named for Governor William Gilpin, is one of the most popular destinations within the Mount Zirkel Wilderness. It offers a 29 acre, deep, blue alpine lake of magnificent beauty and views of the near by Sawtooth Range. Heavily shaded, the trail winds through thick forests of conifer trees, wildflower meadows and avalanche paths following Gilpin creek most of the way up to the lake. Due to the popularity and easy accessibility of this trail, this area receives some of the highest use of any area in this wilderness. This trail is not suggested if you are seeking solitude. Overuse and abuse have led to implementing special regulations in hopes for revegetation. Regulations prohibit camping within 1/4 mile of the lake. Please camp elsewhere using low impact techniques or visit Gilpin Lake on day hikes.
PLEASE NOTE: Gilpin, Gold Creek, and Three Island Lake trails are the most heavily used areas on the district. If seeking solitude, please refer to trails less heavily used.
NARRATIVE: Once you have started up the trail, it will quickly fork; stay left to continue towards Gilpin Lake. Continuing with the 1161 trail, you will enter the Mount Zirkel Wilderness after 1.6 miles (from the trailhead). Once the lake is reached, the trail continues up and over the saddle dropping down to connect with the Gold Creek Lake Trail #1150. If you continue right (downhill) on the 1150 this will take you back to the Slavonia Trailhead, completing a 9 mile loop.
LEAVE NO TRACE
As humans, we must minimize our impacts to help preserve this resource for present and future generations.
Directions from Steamboat Springs: Take HWY 40 west of town and turn right on to County Road 129. Travel north about 18 miles to the Seedhouse Road (Forest Road 400; also County Road 64) and turn right. Continue for about 10 miles to parking.
Summer through Fall
(NOTE: Accessibility depends on snow depth and weather.)