Silver Dollar Lake, Guanella Pass - Silver Dollar Lake Trailhead, Summit County - Eagle County - Clear Creek County, Colorado

Silver Dollar Lake - 3.3 miles

Guanella Pass - Silver Dollar Lake Trailhead

Silver Dollar Lake

Silver Dollar Lake

Round-Trip Length: 3.3 miles (add 1 mile roundtrip to Murray Lake)
Start-End Elevation: 11,235' - 11,950' (11,967' max elevation)
Elevation Change: +715' net elevation gain (+772' total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Moderate
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: Yes
Related Trails:

Silver Dollar Lake - 3.3 Miles Round-Trip

Silver Dollar Lake (11,950') is located 1.65 miles from the Silver Dollar Lake Trailhead off Guanella Pass Road, 9.9 miles south of the I-70 Georgetown exit (#228). It lies above treeline in a broad alpine valley framed by Square Top Mountain (south), and Mount Wilcox (north).

Trail Map | Photo Gallery

The Silver Dollar Lake Trail continues .5 miles to Murray Lake just below the Continental Divide. Visitors will enjoy open alpine landscapes and excellent fishing at Silver Dollar and Murray lakes:

The trail climbs steadily through the vestiges of treeline to a ridge over Naylor Lake (.6 miles : 11,605'), which is private property. Short, steep intervals continue through open tundra to Silver Dollar Lake (1.65 miles : 11,950').

The lake perimeter is generally obstacle-free and easy to explore. Anglers will have ample room and easy access, and backpackers will find soft ground all around the lake.

A well defined trail continues steeply over Silver Dollar Lake to Murray Lake (2.15 miles : 12,178'), centered in the upper valley with excellent views of surrounding peaks.

Mount Wilcox (13,408') is a challenging but non-technical summit from this point. Square Top Mountain (13,794') is a more ambitious climb, and arguably an easier route is available from Square Top Lakes in the adjacent valley.

Mountain goat and bighorn sheep inhabit the valley's high walls and ridges, while elk and moose frequent the alpine meadows below. Binoculars are highly recommended on this trail.

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N39 36.574 W105 43.065 — Guanella Pass Road Parking Lot
  • N39 36.396 W105 43.651 — 0.0 miles : Silver Dollar Lake Trailhead
  • N39 36.288 W105 44.014 — .4 miles : Trail sign, bear left
  • N39 36.094 W105 44.399 — 1.0 miles : Clear treeline, valley opens
  • N39 36.096 W105 45.127 — 1.65 miles : Silver Dollar Lake
  • N39 36.308 W105 45.505 — 2.15 miles : Murray Lake

Worth Noting

  • This is a popular trail with limited parking at the 4WD trailhead. Arrive early to secure space and avoid crowds, especially on weekends.

  • Much of this trail is above treeline and fully exposed. Be mindful of changing weather and aim for treeline before storms develop.

Camping and Backpacking Information

  • Contact the Clear Creek Ranger District (303.567.3000) for the latest on weather, trail conditions and trail-specific usage guidelines when planning your trip.

  • Dispersed backcountry camping is permitted in the Arapaho National Forest.

  • Camping is prohibited within 100' of any lake or stream. Group size is limited to 15 individuals.

  • Campfires are permitted for dispersed backcountry camping, with potential seasonal and elevation restrictions.

  • One member of each party is required to register at the Mt Evans Wilderness boundary board and carry a copy of the registration with them during their visit. There is no registration fee.

  • Camping is limited to 14 consecutive days in one location. After 14 days, the campsite must be moved a minimum of three miles.

  • The Clear Creek Ranger District maintains eight developed campgrounds. All are accessed from the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway, Guanella Pass Scenic Byway, I-70 and Colorado Highways 40, 103, and 119. Operating seasons vary, however most range from mid-May through mid-October. Contact the Clear Creek Ranger District for availability and detailed information on each.

Fishing Information

  • Fishing is permitted in Silver Dollar Lake and Murray Lake with a valid Colorado state fishing license. Naylor Lake is private property and fishing is not permitted.

Rules and Regulations

  • Dogs are permitted on the Silver Dollar Lake Trail. Dogs must be leashed at all times.

  • Naylor Lake is private property. Respect property lines around the lake.

  • Bikes, mechanized vehicles, and hunting are not permitted.

Directions to Trailhead

The Guanella Pass - Silver Dollar Lake Trailhead is located 9.9 miles south of Georgetown, CO on Guanella Pass Road.

From I-70, exit #228 for Georgetown and follow signs through town for Guanella Pass Road. Follow Guanella Pass Road 9.9 miles south to the Silver Dollar Lake parking area on the right. A 4WD road continues .6 miles to the trailhead. While some 2WD vehicles can make the drive, it's not recommended.

Parking on Guanella Pass Road adds 1.2 miles and +335' to the roundtrip hike.

Contact Information

South Platte Ranger District
19316 Goddard Ranch Court
Morrison, CO 80465
303.275.5610 (phone)
303.275.5642 (fax)
Office Hours:
Monday - Friday, 8 am - 4:30 pm (excluding National Holidays)

Clear Creek Ranger District
101 Chicago Creek Road
P.O. Box 3307
Idaho Springs, CO 80452
303.567.3000

Comments

"Snowshoeing with hiking buddy. Beautiful area in winter. High winds that day, and three live trees were down on the lower part of the trail (before Naylor Lake). Hike to Naylor was otherwise beautiful and uneventful. Except for the poor guy who was only wearing boots (no snowshoes) and post-holing. He was exhausted. There is a reason for snowshoes. Due to high winds, severe gusts caused us to have to stop and crouch down to avoid blowing snow and getting knocked over. We stayed about 600 to 700 feet above Naylor Lake to head toward Silver Dollar Lake - we probably should have skirted the lake to stay down low and stay out of the gusty winds longer. But made it over to Silver Dollar Lake and then descended to Naylor Lake via Silver Dollar Lake drainage and then back to trailhead. Views are amazing, great and manageable hike in calm weather, but please be safe and prepared for whatever nature throws your way. "
Dan Snyders  -  Conifer  -  Date Posted: February 12, 2017

 

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