Silver Dollar Lake Trail #79by Mary Norton
DifficultyModerate - some uphill climbing over rocks. Approximate elevation gain 1,000 ft.
Trail LengthApproximately 4.8 mile round trip
The Silver Dollar Lake Trail begins at the first parking lot just off Guanella pass road (a new paved parking lot with plenty of spaces provided you get there early)- the first ¼ mile of the hike is a four-wheel drive road that leads to a second parking lot and the trail head.
This quiet hike is a continuous, gentle incline up to the lakes. It begins in an area of lodge pole pine forest, then through some willow scrub and eventually opens up with fewer trees and open hills. The surroundings are breathtaking as you come out above the forested area. The high snow-covered mountain peaks and boulder fields and forest around the lower lake are very beautiful. It can be cool and windy even in mid summer.
If you hike this trail before July, plan on hiking through some snow in shady areas. (We went in June and lost the trail several times because of the snow). One difficulty with this trail is that it is not clearly marked with signs so look for the dirt path and indicators of foot traffic if you lose the trail in the snow.
We chose to hike only to the first lake (Naylor Lake) because of the steep boulder field leading to Silver Dollar Lake. Eating on the top of the hill overlooking Naylor Lake was quite beautiful and refreshing with the sun and the brisk wind. Naylor Lake is private property so look for the signs indicating where the boundary is.
Restrooms only available at nearby campground.
DirectionsClick Map Below. Take I-70 out of Denver west approximately 35 miles to Georgetown. Exit Georgetown (exit #228). Turn left onto 15th St and then immediately take the 1st right onto Argentine St. Next, take the 1st left onto 11th St. Then take the 1st right onto Rose St.. Follow Rose St until it turns into 2nd St/Co Rd 381. Continue to follow Co Rd 381/Guanella Pass Rd. for about 9 miles (just past the Guanella Pass campground) to the trailhead. Parking lot is split on both left and right sides of the road. For Guanella Pass Seasonal Road Conditions and Closure times click Colorado Dept. of Transport
AttractionsGeorgetown offers an old historic main street with shops and restaurants.If you want a sweet treat, be sure to try the ice cream at the Georgetown Valley Candy Factory.Try the steam locomotive that travels from Georgetown to Silver Plum and back again. Get tickets in town or at the depot.Need a place to stay near this hike? Try Hotel Chateau Chamonix in the histroic, Victorian town of Georgetown: Rose Street Bed and Breakfast, Silver Queen Bed and Breakfast, OR The Horstmann House Bed and Breakfast.
About Mary Norton, Contributor of this Hike
Mary grew up hiking in Colorado, so she knows all the best places to go! With a family of 6 children and no lack of enthusiasm for the outdoors, Mary is well qualified to give you tips and hike spots that will challenge you as well as delight your whole family. Whether you have kids, dogs, or are just looking to enjoy nature by yourself, Mary will show you where to go to find what you are looking for.Check out my Google+ page