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Three Lakes Trail

A spectacular trail with a new wow around every bend.
Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 4.5 miles
Duration: 1-3 hours
Family Friendly

Overview :  This is an amazing trail,one that is well worth the trip to its remote location. This trail is packed full of beauty and excitement,... more »

Tips:  The Lush Underbrush and abundant lakes come with a price, Mosquitoes. Consider long pants / shirt and don't forget your bug spray.

... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Trailhead

The trail starts at Lost Lake Campground on the shores of Lost Lake Slough. (Slough Means an area of soft, muddy ground; swamp or swamplike region)

To reach the campground
From Paonia, travel east on Hwy 133 for 16 miles to Gunnison County Road 12, (Kebler Pass Rd.). Follow CR12 for 14.5 miles to Forest Road #706, (Lost Lake Rd.). Follow F... More

2. Wildflower Identification

Shaded by old growth aspen this lush trail is abundant with wildflowers. There are over 70 species of wildflowers in the area. The forest floor is covered with fern, wildflowers, and moss. This gives the trail a "tropical alpine" feel that is reminisant of the northwest.

The pictures below were all taken on this trail. Look at the photo... More

3. Views of Ruby Range

As the hike gets started it is easy get distracted by the wildflowers and miss some great views of the Ruby Range with Lost Lake Slough in the foreground.

You will be looking at the tallest peak in the Ruby Range, Mount Owen, which reaches up to 13,058 feet. You will also see the lesser known Ruby Peak(12,641 ft) a little to the right.

The... More

4. Lost Lake & Middle Creek Crossing

After about 0.7 miles of hiking you will reach Lost Lake at an elevation of 9,870 ft.

If the creek is not to swollen you can cross hear by rock hopping or wading. If runoff has the creek raging or you just want to hike around the lake follow the trail to your right along the shore of Lost Lake

Lost Lake offers the best fishing of the three... More

5. Lost Lake Campsite

Odometer 1.4 miles
Shortly after crossing middle creek (on the opposite shore of lost lake), you will find a nice backcountry campsite. The site has room for a couple of tents and is situated between the shore of the lake and a nice little pool in the stream.

The site has some beautiful views of the ruby range across the lake.

6. Middle Creek Falls

Odometer: 2.1 miles
Elevation: 9970

Along the trail there is a nice waterfall that is easy to access. Be careful as the rocks around the falls are very slippery.

If you are adventurous you can follow the creek in an off trail scramble up to a second and more spectacular falls. Beware this requires hands on scrambling on some very loose and... More

7. West Elk View

Odometer: 2.4 mi
Elevation: 9880

You will break through to a clearing with spectacular views of the West Elk Mountains.
The West Elk Mountains offer seclusion and ruggedness that are hard to come by in Colorado.
Volcanic activity has produced long lava flows, sometimes pushing mud before them. Ridges were crumbled and carved by wind and water ... More

8. Trail to Dollar Lake

Odometer: 2.6 miles
Elevation: 10000 ft.

This is a short .2 mile side trip to Dollar Lake. Unless you hate lakes it is worth the minimal effort.

On your return trip from dollar lake don't miss the right turn to continue your decent to Lost Lake Slough

9. Dollar Lake

Dollar lake is the third alpine lake you will see today. It is lush and beautiful with East Beckwith Mountain standing tall over it.

There is a really nice campsite situated on the shore of Dollar Lake. The campsite has room for 2-3 tents.

10. Beckwith Pass Trail Junction

At the junction with Beckwith Pass Trail, continue straight towards Lost Lake Campground

11. Middle Creek Crossing

Towards the end of the hike you will cross middle creek one last time. This time there is a metal bridge to help you cross