Trailhead: Grizzly Gulch Trailhead (Near St. Elmo)

Activities: Hiking, Camping, Skiing, Snowshoeing

Closest City / Town: St. Elmo, Colorado

Driving Directions:

  • From Nathrop travel west on County Road 162 for about 16 miles to the Grizzly Gulch parking area.
  • The gravel parking lot is located on the left side of the road right before the old renovated mining town of St. Elmo.
  • This is the best area to park if you are going to make the hike up to Grizzly Lake.  Although the road is vehicle accessible, it is extremely difficult to drive.  There is a major vehicle obstacle located approximately .5 miles up the road.

Hiking Distance: 5.6 Miles (roundtrip)

Description: This is one of those hikes where hikers simply have to ignore vehicles all the way up and down the trail.  Once you park at the Grizzly Gulch parking area, you will reach a junction with County Road (CR) 295.  Take a left onto this road and continue on it for .2 miles.  In .2 miles you will hit Forest Road (FR) 296.  FR 296 will take you all of the way up to Grizzly Lake.

The views of Grizzly Lake, the mining cabins leading up to the Lake, and the wildflowers tucked into the talus slopes are definitely worth the trek.  Grizzly Lake sits at 11,200′.  You will gain 1,300′ in elevation climbing up to the Lake, as the trailhead rests at 9,900′.  Grizzly Lake is located in San Isabel National Forest.  Please pay attention to Forest Service rules and regulations.

Worth Noting: Take a gander at the columbines that line the trail all the way up to Grizzly Lake.  Grizzly Peak, which sits due south of Grizzly Lake, is one of Colorado’s highest 13ers at 13,988′.  If you do decide to drive up, be sure to only attempt it if you have a high-clearance vehicle!  The road is a bit rocky.  It is definitely worth stopping in the historic mining community of St. Elmo, Colorado.


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