“A gradual climb to Avalanche Lake - a stunning destination deep in the Elk Mountains.
— Jason Smith
Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Swimming · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
This is a highly worthy trail experience, particularly if you can make it the entire way up to Avalanche Lake. Don't expect the most buff surface, but only a few shorter steep sections & decent trail quality keep this outing moderate.
Almost entirely runnable, but expect moderate to heavy horse and human traffic during the peak months of summer.
Avalanche Lake Trail (#1959) begins from the parking lot and ascends through aspen groves, intersecting with the Hell Roaring Trail after about 2.5 miles. Keep straight here as the trail crosses Hell Roaring Creek (may be dry late in the season) before descending a few hundred vertical toward Avalanche Creek. If you are going out and back, pace accordingly as climbing back out of here can be a bit of a grind.
After 5 miles, the trail crosses a beautiful meadow called Duley Park before entering groves of ginormous aspens. After another 2 miles or so, look for the intersection with East Creek Trail.
Keep straight, preparing for a notably steep but beautiful segment to the intersection with Capitol Creek
Trail after 10 miles. Stay right and you'll arrive on the shores of the stunning Avalanche Lake.
Flora & Fauna
Wildflowers will likely be going off during mid-summer on the upper half of the trail.