Hike the Silver Dollar Lake Trail
Colorado › Silver Dollar Lake Trail
Added by Amy Kesic
Enjoy 3 beautiful lakes in one easy hike. Along the hike you'll also get great views of 14ers Mt. Evans and Mt. Bierstadt.
Guanella Pass, which connects the charming and historic town of Georgetown in the north to the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Grant to the south, is a recreational outdoorsman’s dream. Volumes could be written on what this 22-mile scenic byway has to offer.
Silver Dollar Lake Trail is just one tiny portion of the area, but this little 2-mile stretch of trail is packed with such beauty that you feel like you hit the (silver dollar) jackpot. Once you start to breach the timberline, you will catch tantalizing views of Naylor Lake down below. (Naylor Lake is private property so you won’t be able to enjoy it other than by looking at it.) You will be able to see this lake for nearly the whole hike. In addition, the creek rushing down the mountainside in the distance makes for a great soundtrack to your hike.
After about 1.5 mile, you’ll approach Silver Dollar Lake, a stunning aqua-colored alpine lake sheltered by Square Top Mountain (13,795 feet). The spillway makes an attractive little waterfall lined with wildflowers. Just beyond the lake is a high concentration of wildflowers, and those combined with views of both Naylor and Silver Dollar Lakes—and Mts. Evans and Bierstadt in the distance!—make for quite the breathtaking view.
Journey on up the hill another half mile, and you come to Murray Lake. The trail ends here, but the area is open and ripe for exploration. Argentine Peak (13,378’) is to the west of the lake, and Mt. Wilcox (13,408’) is to the north. I did not see any large wildlife on my hike, but I did see “evidence” of them, so you could be lucky. Look for mountain goats and bighorn sheep on the valley’s high walls and ridges, and elk and moose in the alpine meadows. If you are adventurous, in good physical shape with no balance issues, and have the time, you could scale one (or more) of these mountains while you’re up there.
Silver Dollar and Murray Lakes both offer excellent fishing. The beauty of this hike is that it is even more amazing going down than going up. In short, Silver Dollar is a short hike long on beauty.
Parking—The trailhead is located about 1 mile up Naylor Road, a rough dirt road lined with campsites. There is a small parking area near the trailhead. If this is full, parking is available where Naylor Road intersects with Guanella Pass. This will add about 0.7 mile and 335’ each way to your hike.
No bathrooms are available at the trailhead. The nearest bathroom is at Guanella Pass Campground. Another is at Clear Lake Campground to the north.
Day pack - Snacks - Water - Trail shoes or hiking boots - Poles (optional) - Sunscreen - Hat with brim - Lip balm - Binoculars - Camera - Book on Colorado flora if interested in wildflower species
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Backpacking, Camping, Fishing, Hiking, Photography, Running, Skiing, Snowshoeing
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This is a great hike that will give you fantastic views of the nearby 14ers from Murray Lake. Towards the top, the trail can get boggy if it is early in the season, so make sure your boots are waterproof. If you make the trek to Murray Lake, please be aware that there is no defined trail to the shore. Use caution when walking on the fragile alpine tundra and try to use stepping stones as much as possible to preserve the area!
Great hike with slight elevation gain and wonderful views of the lakes and valley. The lakes themselves are spectacularly set right up against the surrounding peaks. There aren't any aspen trees along the way, but it is still very beautiful in the fall with the changing colors. It's a very popular trail on the weekends. So to avoid crowds, I'd recommend starting out early.
Added by Amy Kesic
A mom who decided to get fit a few years ago, I took up running and hiking to keep myself moving. Since moving to the Front Range foothills a year ago, I've spent my free time discovering all the trails I possibly can. I'm in love with Colorado and the Rocky Mountains; I also like to take pictures, and I share my adventures here on The Outbound and on Instagram at @run2themountains.Follow
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