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Hiking & Walking: Colorado > White River National Forest > Sopris Ranger District

Quick Facts

Avalanche Lake Trail

Average Time: 1 -2 Days
Beginning Elevation: 7,310 Feet (2278.7 Meters)
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation Gain: 3,500 Feet (1091.0 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 10,695 Feet (3333.9 Meters)
Length: 11 Miles (18.33 Kilometers) one way
Other Maps: Trails Illustrated 128 Maroon Bells, Redstone, Marble
Recommended Season: Summer to Fall
Trail Number: 1959
Usage: Heavy
USGS Maps: Redstone and Capitol Peak




Satellite and Topo Map




General Description

View of Avalanche Creek along the Avalanche Creek Trail
Copyright: Zander Higbie-Interactive Outdoors, Inc.
View of Avalanche Creek along the Avalanche Creek Trail
This trail runs along the cold, clear waters of Avalanche Creek for 11 miles and ends at Avalanche Lake. It is an enjoyable two or three day trip and yet some folks have been known to do it in one day. This route is moderately to heavily used and runs through aspen and conifer stands with flower-filled meadows throughout the trip. Periodically the vistas of Capitol, Clark and other peaks of the Elk Mountains will come into view. There are fine camping spots all along the route (stay 100 ft. from trail, streams and lakes) and fishing for native cutthroat trout is possible in the lake and the creek. The final 2 miles to Avalanche Lake is steep and camping is better right below the lake than at it. If you want to get to Capitol Lake, you will find the trail junction approximately 1/2 mile after you climbed the switchbacks. From the junction it is a steep 1 mile climb to Capitol Lake. To get to Silver Creek Pass, take the trail junction to the right a little more than 1/4 mile from the lake. The first mile is very steep but there are great views once you get up there.

Directions from Carbondale: Travel south on Highway 133 twelve and a half miles past Carbondale to Avalanche Creek. Turn left and proceed three miles along the road to the parking area at the far end of Avalanche Campground.



Current Conditions & Trip Reports

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Filed By: Bob Rankin (Carbondale, CO)
Time of Day: noon
Length of Time: 3 hours
Difficulty: Moderate
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: neat water crossing/bridge about 2 miles in.
Conditions: a little mud. this a well used trail and drainage tends to follow the trail
Suggested Accessories: fishing is not great. access is difficult but its worth a try.

Filed By: Julie Norman (Grand Junction, CO)
Time of Day: 10-4 each day
Length of Time: 2 days out, 2 days back
Difficulty: Moderate
Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: The two days up to the lake are mostly moderate--but the last three miles is difficult, especially with a full pack. Lake is awesome--we camped right at the head almost because every other spot was full--had the best "kitchen" area of all! Good camping across the meadow near the river in Duley Park. BEAUTIFUL LAKE VIEWS!
Conditions: It was humid, and of course it rained at the lake every afternoon, but otherwise the trail was in good shape and easy to follow.
Water Availability: We started with full 2 liter camelbacks every day and crossed plenty of streams.
Recommended Clothing: Weather was fine for pants and short sleeves, or shorts. 50s was as low as it got at night.
Suggested Accessories: Definitely need trekking poles for the loooong switchbacks.

Filed By: Benjamin Kelley (Denver, CO)
Time of Day: I began at 11:00 am on the 5th
Length of Time: About 6 hours both ways, including a long lunch.
Difficulty: Easy
Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: I made it to Duley Park in about 1hr 45min. It's a beautiful meadow and a great place for lunch. There's a lot of flys, but not many mosquitos here. Be prepared for several switch-backs within the last mile and a half for the climb up to the lake. I didn't see any Mtn. Lions, but this is a popular area for them. Know what to do if you encounter one. This is a beautiful hike, and the lake is an adequate reward. It's a deep emerald green and surrounded by steep granite peaks. Beautiful!
Conditions: Trail was in good condition. Lot's of flies and mosquitos. Afternoon storms are very common in this valley.
Water Availability: I brought 4 litres which was enough. If you want to carry less water and bring a filter there is pleanty of water available.
Recommended Clothing: Shorts/Light pants, a windbreaker/raincoat.
Suggested Accessories: A hiking stick was nice to have.

Time of Day: Afternoon
Length of Time: 5 hours
Difficulty: Easy
Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Just past Hell Roaring Creek there is a rock outcropping up to the left. Great place for a break. Nice vistas from there.
Conditions: Warm, dry mostly shaded
Water Availability: One liter each, which was plenty for the 9 mile hike (about half the way to Avalanche Lake before we returned).
Recommended Clothing: T-shirt and shorts, hiking boots.

Time of Day: Afternoon
Length of Time: 5 hours
Difficulty: Easy
Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Just past Hell Roaring Creek there is a rock outcropping up to the left. Great place for a break. Nice vistas from there.
Conditions: Warm, dry mostly shaded
Water Availability: One liter each, which was plenty for the about 9 mile round trip.
Recommended Clothing: T-shirt and shorts, hiking boots.

Filed By: Bob (Carbondale, CO)
Time of Day: 8:00 AM
Length of Time: 2 hours
Difficulty: Easy
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: We actually walked up Bulldog creek which branches to the left off of the access road before the trailroad. We walked about 2 miles up the creek to an old mining camp. Great early morning local hike for aspen residents or visitors.
Conditions: Water across the access road where bulldog creek crosses.

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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Backpacking Avalanche Creek Trail
Yes
ICON Hiking & Walking Avalanche Creek Trail
Yes
ICON Horseback Riding Avalanche Creek Trail
Yes



More Information

Links to other sites:
Forest Conservancy - Current Information from Local Volunteers: Closings and Conditions

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