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Cross-Country Skiing or Snowshoeing: Lily Pad Lake (Sun, 02/16) [INTERMEDIATE]

This hike provides one of Colorado's easiest access point to a true wilderness trail. It begins from the Ryan Gulch Road and then passes along the lower slopes of Buffalo Mountain in the Eagles Nest Wilderness. The Wilderness rules exclude snowmobiles. 

The trail skirts the southern portion of the Gore Range. It goes south and slightly southwest beginning a minor climb to a stand of pine trees before flattening soon to wind through a frozen wetland of beaver ponds and small lakes, framed in a forest of aspen and lodgepoles. 

The route is wide and gentle as it descends through the trees with clearings here and there. After the Salt Lick Trail joins in from the left, the trail to Lily Pad Lake drops slightly into a mixed grove of aspens and conifers. One more little rise and you reach the first lake. The second is not far beyond.

WHERE: Eagle Nest Wilderness, Lily Pad Trail

WHAT: Cross-Country Skiing or Snowshoeing

LENGTH: Just under 3.5 miles out-and-back with snack/turnaround at Lily Pad Lake.

TRAVEL TIME: 70 min from Denver

CARPOOL LOT: Woolly Mammoth Parking Lot Section KK or JJ (exit I-70 #259) , 80401, CO

CARPOOL TIME: (9.15 am & wheels up at 9.30 am)


FOOD: Somewhere in Summit County (optional)

FITNESS LEVEL [Intermediate]: You should have been snowshoeing or cross country skiing more than once and have the proper clothing. We will stick together, as a group or as subgroups of the larger group, and always communicate with other members of the group. Never hike alone in the winter.

Trail Details

• Trailhead: 39°37'1.17"N,106° 6'37.27"W, 9620 feet

• Distance: just under 3.5 miles out-and-back

• Avalanche hazard: Moderate (on specific terrain features)

• Elevation: 9,620 ft - 9,915 ft (high pt is 10,000 ft)

Elevation gain: 315 ft (net), 900 ft (cumulative)

• Dogs: Wilderness act requires dogs be leashed

Directions to Trailhead: Exit I-70 at exit 205 and take Colorado 9 north (about a block) to the traffic light at Wendy's. Turn left onto Wildernest Rd., just in front of the 7-11, and continue 3.5 miles to the final loop at the end of the road. (Wildernest Rd. turns into Ryan Gulch Road) At the top of the loop you will see a parking area on your left. A dirt road across from the parking area leads up the hill to the trailhead. The trail of 1.6 miles leads to two lakes - Lower Lily Pad Lake and Upper Lily Pad Lake. 

Road Conditions:  The trailhead is in a residential area and plowed.

Lily Pad Lake Trail Google Earth KML



If this is your first meetup with Hiking With Pride, RSVP and then complete the short form following the link below. Organizers need to keep your emergency contact's information on file in case of an accident or other emergency.

RETURNING MEMBERS: If your contact information has changed, please email your organizer.

EVEN MORE DETAILS: I can answer your questions too. Email me your questions or if you prefer a time to chat over the phone or coffee. You can also post your questions directly in the comments below.

DISCLAIMER: Part of the fun in a group is learning new things about the outdoors. We share stories, tips and happily share our knowledge of gear and trails with others. Though we care about your well being is true, your personal safety is 100% your responsibility on a trip. The trip organizer provides an opportunity for everyone to enjoy the event together and has no responsibility or liability for the safety of participants.

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  • Larry

    Hello. Just arrived at the lot. See you soon.

    February 16, 2014

  • Jeremiah M.

    Hi everybody I'm running behind I had no idea the 6th Avenue was closed so I'll see you soon

    February 16, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    My doctor advised that I not play in the snow, or anywhere else for that matter, for one week so I'll have to miss this outing. Have a great time tomorrow!

    February 15, 2014

  • Jeremiah M.

    Hi Everyone. The weather forecast looks fine and dandy. You can call or text me at threezerothree[masked] with any last minute questions. Otherwise see you in the morning!

    February 15, 2014

  • Simi

    Guys, I'm a maybe. I have two friends in from out of town and it depends on their energy level after skiing all day Saturday. I will gladly relinquish my spot to someone willing to commit if this meetup fills up. thx.

    February 14, 2014

    • Jeremiah M.

      Hope you can make it but there will be more!

      February 14, 2014

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