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Backpacking: Colorado > Pike and San Isabel National Forests > Leadville Ranger District

Quick Facts

Colorado Trail (Turquoise Lake to Halfmoon Creek)

Beginning Elevation: 10,000 Feet (3117.2 Meters)
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation Gain: 1,000 Feet (311.7 Meters) or less
Ending Elevation: 10,000 Feet (3117.2 Meters)
Length, One-way: 11.5 Miles (19.17 Kilometers)
Usage: Heavy

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

This section of the Colorado Trail, section #10, can be accessed in the Turquoise Lake Area. Section #10 begins at the parking lot of the Timberline Lake Trailhead and ends in the Halfmoon Creek drainage. This entire segment of trail passes through the Holy Cross Wilderness, mountain biking is therefore not permitted. Segment #10 can also be accessed from the Hagerman Pass Road (Forest Road #105) approximately 1.2 mile from it's junction with the Turquoise Lake Road. Segment #10 continues for 11.5 miles to Halfmoon Creek with an elevation change of less than 1,000 feet for moderate hiking. Approximately 1 mile south of the Hagerman Pass Road, the trail enters the Mount Massive Wilderness Area, mountain bikers will have to bypass this area.

Directions from Leadville: Northern Access: From Harrison Street in Leadville turn on to West Sixth Street for 1/2 mile. Turn right on to Turquoise Lake Road (Forest Road 104) and follow it approximately 10 miles past the dam to May Queen Campground. Follow signs to the Timberline Lake Trailhead, which is used as access for the Colorado Trail.

Directions from Leadville: Southern Access: From Leadville, travel three miles west on US Highway 24. Take Colorado 300 west 3/4 of a mile to Lake County 11. Follow signs to Elbert Creek Campground. The trailhead is just east of this campground. This is also the trailhead for the Mt. Elbert and Mt. Massive Trails.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Accessible: May through September (NOTE: Snow may obstruct the trail at high elevations.) .

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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Backpacking Colorado Trail - section #10, Turquoise Lake to Halfmoon Creek
ICON Hiking & Walking Colorado Trail (Turquoise Lake to Halfmoon Creek)
ICON Horseback Riding Colorado Trail - section #10, Turquoise Lake to Halfmoon Creek

Related Activities
Bear Lake Trailhead - The trail that uses the Bear Lake Trailhead is the Colorado Trail in segment 9, Tennessee Pass to Turquoise Lake. From this landmark the Colorado Trail leads southwest toward the Timberline Lake Trailhead.

Elbert Creek Campground - All campsites in the Halfmoon Drainage are first come, first serve. The Elbert Creek Campground has 17 sites available, and an allowance for trailers 16' and smaller.

Hagerman Pass - Visitors traveling the entire Hagerman Pass Road from Turquoise Lake Road (Forest Road 105) to Fryingpan Lakes Road (State Highway 4) drive 22.5 miles.

Highline Trail - The Highline Trail provides a half-day of moderate hiking. The elevation gain is 1,360 feet.

May Queen Campground - The following eight campgrounds surround Turquoise Lake: Baby Doe, Belle of Colorado, Father Dyer, Molly Brown, Printer Boy, Silver Dollar and Tabor. The Mayqueen offers 13 reservable sites of 27 without flush toilets and sinks.

Mt. Massive - Mount Massive is the second highest peak in Colorado and is appropriately named, with seven summits over 14,000 feet. Elevation of the highest peak is 14,421 feet.

Native Trail - This trail exists within the Mount Massive Wilderness Area. Hikers or horseback riders may use a number of different trail routes that vary in difficulty and/or length.

Timberline Trail - This trail accesses Timberline Lake in the Holy Cross Wilderness. This is open to foot traffic only.

Turquoise Lake General Forest Area - The Turquoise Lake General Forest Area provides access to a plethora of recreation opportunities. Activities on land as well as in the water can be enjoy throughout the year.

More Information

Visitor Information:

Leadville Ranger District, U.S. Forest Service, 2015 North Poplar , Leadville, CO, 80461, Phone: 719-486-0749, Fax: 719-486-0928


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