Hike the Zirkel Circle (Gilpin Lake Loop)

11 Miles Round Trip - 2390 ft gain - Loop Trail

Slavonia Trail Head - Search Nearby - Added by Nick Esares

A 45-minute drive from Steamboat Springs, this loop hike offers some of the best views of jagged peaks in the area as well as two alpine lakes. The highlight of the hike is the stunningly blue Gilpin Lake which provides a magnificent photo opportunity from the top of the ridge and high point of the loop, sitting 450 below.

The Slavonia trailhead is easily accessible from Steamboat Springs. The drive up CR 129 passes through beautiful ranch land before turning on to Seedhouse Road. Follow Seedhouse Rd to the end. There are several turn offs and dispersed camping in this area, however, the main road goes to the trailhead.

From the parking lot, trail 1161 to Gilpin Lake quickly intersects with trail 1150 toward Gold Creek Lake. You can choose either direction for your loop. Turning right toward Gold Creek Lake completes the loop in a counter clockwise manner. The climb to Gilpin lake is longer and more gradual. You will first pass Gold Creek Lake before climbing to Gilpin lake. Your first view of Gilpin Lake will be stunning from the top of the ridge before you descend the switchbacks. If you stay straight toward Gilpin Lake to complete the loop clockwise you will get to the lake sooner however the last mile or so before the lake is steep. It's also possible to make the trip an out and back this way saving a few miles. If you make the trip an out and back you should still climb the clearly visible switchbacked trail to the saddle for a stunning view before turning around.

Allow ample time to take pictures and enjoy lunch / snacks at either lake. For much of the hike you are near creeks and water. There are a few water crossings where you can hop across rocks and one log crossing. Much of the hike is also shaded as you are walking through forest including aspens. There is great wildflower viewing on this hike as well.

Tags

Hiking
Easy Parking
Forest
Lake
River
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Details

11 Miles
2390 ft elevation gain
Loop Trail

Stay Nearby

Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Steamboat Springs KOA

Craig, Colorado

Craig KOA

Laramie

Laramie KOA

Estes Park, Colorado

Estes Park KOA

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