Hike to Square Top Lakes

    Rate this Adventure 4.3 miles 1080 ft gain  - Out-and-Back Trail

    Added by Haley Baker

    Avoid the crowds from Mount Bierstadt and hike to two stunning alpine lakes.

    Starting from Guanella Pass, right across from the Bierstadt trailhead, Square Top Lakes is definitely a hidden gem. Most people here are attempting to do the 14er, but if you've already bagged that one (or are just looking for some high altitude hiking to get you ready for it), Square Top Lakes is perfect.

    The hike begins by immediately descending a few hundred feet into a small valley. From there, you wind your way along the valley floor, slowly working your way back uphill. There are lots of willows close to the trail, so plan on having to walk through some dense brush. The trail also follows the outlet stream closely, so be prepared to get your shoes wet, as there are quite a few creek crossings. 

    When the trail starts to get noticeably steeper, you are getting close to the first lake. This lower lake is about 1.8 miles from the trailhead, and you can't see it until you're almost right on it. This is a great spot to take in the views east of you, where you can see Bierstadt and Evans towering over the landscape. 

    The trail splits a few tenths of a mile past the first lake, with the left fork taking you up Square Top Mountain and the right fork taking you to the upper lake. This section of trail can have snow cover, so be aware of your steps. It eventually levels out, offering great views of the lower lake and (again) Bierstadt and Evans. 

    The upper lake is nestled at the base of Square Top Mountain, and has ample space to spread out and relax. Take your shoes off and cool down in the lake itself, enjoy a snack, and take in those views.

    This hike is entirely above treeline, so make sure you have sunscreen and that you are aware of the weather - storms roll in quickly at this altitude. It's a good idea to get here early, too, since the Bierstadt Trailhead is so popular. Technically, this hike has it's own lot, but it fills up when all of the Bierstadt parking is taken.  

    Read More
    Dog Friendly

    Go Pro.

    We're committed to building a better, more inclusive home for the modern outdoors. Go PRO to support our mission and get benefits like gear deals, no ads, and more!

    Learn More


    Have you done this adventure? Be the first to leave a review!

    Leave No Trace

    Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

    We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

    Stay Nearby

    Idaho Springs, Colorado

    West Chicago Creek

    Evergreen, Colorado

    Echo Lake

    Dillon, Colorado

    Secluded Condo With Deck, Pool & Hot Tub

    From $120/night

    Keystone, Colorado

    New Home W/Pool & Private Hot Tub, Walk To Gondola

    From $209/night

    Nearby Adventures

    Hike 14er Mount Bierstadt

    7 mi / 2850 ft gain

    Watch the Sunrise at Guanella Pass

    1 mi / 100 ft gain

    Capture the Sunrise from Guanella Pass

    Hiking Bierstadt, Evans, and The Sawtooth

    10.25 mi / 3900 ft gain
    More Nearby Adventures

    Inspire Your Fall Aspen Trip!

    Autumn days in Aspen are filled with sunshine and nights with crisp cool air. Watch the mountains and valleys turn gold with the changing Aspen trees. Take in the scenery while enjoying scenic drives, hiking through forests, road biking, and exploring our IMBA Gold Level Ride Center recognized mountain bike trails. 

    Learn More