August 24, 2017 Slideshows » Columns

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Road Trip Hike: Square Top Lakes 

Located literally right across from one Colorado's most popular 14ers, Mt. Bierstadt, the Square Top Lakes are often overlooked by hikers, and that's a shame.


Bob Falcone
The trailhead is next to the bathroom at the end of the Guanella Pass Summit Overlook parking lot, on the west side of the road at the summit.
Bob Falcone
There is a information sign and trail marker at the beginning of the trail
Bob Falcone
South Park/Forest Service Trail 600 leads to an interpretive trail, Square Top Lakes and also down Guanella Pass
Bob Falcone
After about 400', turn right at the "T" intersection. The trail drops down from here into a wide bowl. There are wooden steps and also wooden boardwalks over the next few hundred feet. The area can be wet and muddy until late summer.
Bob Falcone
With the entire trail above treeline, the views are fantastic. This is the view North, East and South, with Mt Bierstadt in the center of the photo.
Bob Falcone
Most of the trail to the first lake is a wide two track trail. At about 1.3 miles, the trail passes a small pond on the right. This is not one of the Square Top Lakes. At about 1.5 miles the trail crests a small hill, passing the 12,000' level
Bob Falcone
At just under 1.9 miles, the trail crosses a creek that is fed by the lower Square Top Lake. Although it's not visible from the trail, the lake is just a few feet away, accessible from trails to the right, just before or just after this creek crossing.
Bob Falcone
The lower Square Top Lake. The upper lake is behind the small ridge in the middle of the photo,
Bob Falcone
Continuing back on the trail, at about 2.25 miles, the South Park/Forest Service Trail 600 turns left. Bear right for the Upper Square Top Lake
Bob Falcone
At about 2.6 miles, and 12.300' elevation, arrive at Upper Square Top Lake. It is a little bit bigger than the lower lake and is surrounded by steep banks, with a wide ridge separating the two lakes. Return to the trailhead by re-tracing the trail back
Bob Falcone
The views of the lower lake and Mt. Bierstadt from the upper lake are stunningly beautiful.
Bob Falcone
In mid-August, the area around the lakes still had a large number of colorful wildlflowers
Bob Falcone
Map of the route to both lakes
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Bob Falcone
The trailhead is next to the bathroom at the end of the Guanella Pass Summit Overlook parking lot, on the west side of the road at the summit.
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