Backpack to Upper Slate Lake

28 Miles Round Trip - 1386 ft gain - Out-and-Back Trail

Rock Creek Trailhead - Search Nearby - Added by Matt Huber

This hike is roughly 8 hours each way, with Incredible views. This is a traditional Backpacking trip, not just a day hike.

Starting from the Rock Creek Trailhead parking lot, it is an up and down trek to Upper Slate Lake. The trail map states 10 miles each way, but accounting for switchbacks it ends up being closer to 14 long, hard miles.

You will be among aspens and pines for the first half as you have a few moderate elevation gains and losses before you come to the Slate Lake Trail at a clearing. At the old burned down cabin, take a left onto the Slate Lakes Trail. From here you will follow the Slake Creek drainage area though meadows for about 4 miles. Next, you will encounter a sharp elevation gain over the next "1 mile." (Note: contrary to most reports, there isn't a well defined trail down to Lower Slate Lake if you're looking stay there first to break up the hike). The next mile to Upper Slate Lake will gain about 1200 feet and leave you cranky and thinking WHEN DOES THIS THING END?!?!

When it does end..... one of the most beautiful lakes you'll ever see. Nestled under some of the "alphabet peaks" of the Gore Range, the views are mesmerizing. There are plenty of places to camp around the lake.

If you're up for a day hike, follow the lake clockwise, staying high (light trails can be spotted/followed) all the way to the waterfall. Follow the waterfall up a bit and there are a few points to cross over safely. Once in the meadows you can find a nice rock to nap on, or venture back further. From these meadows are where most of the entry points are to summit some of the peaks overlooking the lake.

Even on the hike out, you will still have multiple steep gains, so don't think you'll have a lovely stroll back to the car.

Tags

Rock Climbing
Camping
Fishing
Photography
Swimming
Backpacking
Hiking
Dog Friendly
Forest
Lake
River
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Details

28 Miles
1386 ft elevation gain
Out-and-Back Trail

Stay Nearby

Breckenridge, Colorado

LOGE Breckenridge

From $125/night

Frisco, Colorado

West Lake Lodge

From $119/night

Frisco, Colorado

Bridge End

From $117/night

Frisco, Colorado

Telemark Lodge

From $125/night

Nearby Adventures

Hike to Lower Boulder Lake

5.4 Miles Round Trip - 1000 ft gain

Hike to Lily Pad Lake

3.2 Miles Round Trip - 400 ft gain

Hike to Old Dillon Reservoir

1.7 Miles Round Trip - 137 ft gain

More Nearby Adventures

Tours

More Tours

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Be Ready to Grind!

This hike is truly demanding. The number of ascents and descents will leave you wondering how you'll ever make it back to your car. That said, this hike will lead you through some of the most beautiful backcountry Colorado has to offer. We hiked for over five miles without passing a single person on a Saturday. The solitude is unparalleled, and the beauty of Slate lake is worth the haul.

Rewarding Test

Truly is a difficult and demanding hike. It seems like it's never ending. Whenever you start to question what on earth are you doing this for - it shortly after rewards you with a beautiful sight to keep you pushing forward. The end result at the upper lake is a little bit of heaven and peace on earth.

Summer, a season not to be missed in Aspen!

"I came for the winter, and stayed for the summer," is a phrase you'll often hear around town.  The weather is one of the highlights. During the day the temperature hovers in the 70's and 80's, and by evening the mercury will drop into the 60's. Arts & culture enthusiasts will be just as fulfilled as the adventure junkie during summer in Aspen.  The events calendar abounds with activities for everyone, from cultural events to athletic pursuits.

Experiencing all Aspen has to offer is as easy as opening the front door. Join us for a summer adventure that’s anything but ordinary.

Advertisement