July 10, 2017 Slideshows » Columns

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Road Trip Hike: Grizzly Lake 

Make your way to Grizzly Lake, located a little above 11,000' and near the ghost town of St Elmo, in the shadow of Mt Princeton in the Collegiate Peaks Range.  





Bob Falcone
About 15 miles down Chaffee County Road 162 is a parking lot on the left side of the road. This lot is primarily used for off-road vehicle trailer parking during the summer, so please park elsewhere if possible. You may be able to park just past it on the right side of the road.
Bob Falcone
Just past the parking lot, Forest Service Road 295 cuts off to the left. The Grizzly Lake trailhead is about a half-mile up the road. In the winter, FS 295 may only be open to snowmobiles, forcing you to park on CR 162.
Bob Falcone
A half-mile from the start of FS 295, the Grizzly Lake trailhead parking is on the left. A smaller turnout is also available on the right side of the road. The only sign is the "P" sign seen in the picture. Park here, if space is available.
Bob Falcone
The trail starts on the obvious old road at the parking area. All mileages were measured from this point using a GPS
Bob Falcone
About 100' from the parking lot, the foot trail cuts off to the left, while the rough, rocky road curves around to the right.
Bob Falcone
After a little less than a quarter-mile, the "Ghost House" comes into view.
Bob Falcone
There is an information sign with the history of Ghost House. The trail curls around the house and continues uphill. The next half-mile or so is a somewhat strenuous uphill climb.
Bob Falcone
There are a number of cabin remnants along the trail, including this one at just under a mile.
Bob Falcone
The trail is mostly soft tread and in the shade until about 1.2 miles, where it joins a 4WD road, and opens up with great views across Grizzly Gulch. On the Sunday when we hiked it, we didn't see any off road vehicles until we got to the lake. Since it's in the National Forest, you can let your pooch run loose, but be aware of wildlife in the area.
Bob Falcone
There were plenty of wildflowers to be seen in early July, including this cluster of columbines growing in the middle of a very rocky 4wd road.
Bob Falcone
Eventually, the trail comes even with the creek that drains off of Grizzly Lake, with spectacular views including this one, looking back to the north. The trail then turns away from the creek and back into a wooded area before coming to the lake.
Bob Falcone
After about 3.25-miles, the lake comes into view at a 4WD parking area. The trail continues to the right, and partially around the lake, with another trail that leads down to the lake.
Bob Falcone
The trail down to the lake goes through a marshy area, so choose your steps carefully. The views from lake side are pretty impressive.
Bob Falcone
The trail route.
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Bob Falcone
About 15 miles down Chaffee County Road 162 is a parking lot on the left side of the road. This lot is primarily used for off-road vehicle trailer parking during the summer, so please park elsewhere if possible. You may be able to park just past it on the right side of the road.
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