Silver Dollar Lake Trail #79

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.

Silver Dollar Trail Glacial Lake

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.

Guanella Pass Road

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.

Silver Dollar Lake Trailhead

Guanella Pass Rd near Silver Dollar Lake parking

Restrooms only available at nearby campground.

Other hikes nearby that you may enjoy:
Sporting Times Trail
Rosalie Trail
Square Top Lakes Trail
Mt. Bierstadt Trail

19 thoughts on “Silver Dollar Lake Trail #79

  1. Renntenn

    I have to tell you, the biggest thing this site is missing is ANY indication of how long or short a hike is. It seems so bizarre that isn't anywhere on the site for any entries.

  2. marynorton

    Hi. And thanks for your comment. There are several hikes here with exact mileage i.e. There are others however that do not have exact mileage because they are either one way (not a loop hike), and/or they are described for each individual to decide how far to hike according to his or her ability. We designed this site with the idea that hikers may want to hike a trail for 15 minutes or for a couple hours. There are different trails for this criteria.
    If you would like exact trail mileage for your hikes, try the USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Region at

    Hope this helps!

  3. Nybor_

    Hiked this yesterday.  Please note that there are a great deal of trees blown across the trail for the 1st qtr mile. 

  4. Jay

    this trail is actually more like 2.4 miles from the lower lot. Classify the grade as easy if you want, but it’s pretty rocky and rough for much of it, and you’ll climb somewhere around 1000 verticle feet to get to Silver Dollar Lake. A great trailthough that is still highly recommended.

  5. Cas

    4th of July 2012. Wonderful day for a hike, the wild flowers were in full bloom, even the pink elephants! I pulled out my topo to check the mileage from the lower lot and my trusty ruler says the it’s abount +/- 2.4 miles to Silver Dollar Lake, total mileage is 4.8 round trip. The fish were biting today as we saw a couple of guys proudly carrying out their catch of the day which looked like about 8 – 12″ trout.

  6. Nicole

    Fabulous hike! Nice temperature drop from denver to the mountains – always a plus. Things of notes: directions to take 10th off of Rose, don’t actually work (or there is another 10th somewhere in georgetown that i couldn’t fine!!!), just take rose till it hits Guanella Pass road. Also – hike is 1.75 from the second parking lot! 2.24 from the parking lot by the road. Beautiful scenery, definitely a do again! Thank you for posting your hikes!

  7. Pingback: Silver Dollar Lake Hike @ Nicole Wilker

  8. B.RAD

    Who tricked out’ the road (truely a scenic biway)?–IT’s amazing. The trail is even more special. It would be hard to find a similar, private cirque lake without hiking a much greater distance. I can’t wait to bring my family back to free some of those trout from that tiny swimming pond.

    • Mary Norton Post author

      Guanella Pass Road IS so much better than it used to be! Good luck with those fish. And send us a picture if you can, we’d love to see what kind of fish are in those lakes.

  9. Jessie Pipal

    beautiful hike… if you continue the trail up over the ridge beyond silver dollar lake, it will take you on a short but steep hike to murray lake which i definitely recommend

  10. Becky Davis

    This was a beautiful hike, but the gentleness of the first 1/2 to 3/4 miles after the trailhead is a slight misnomer. It’s more steep than gentle unless of course you’re used to climbing the Himalayas. I recomment driving to the trailhead parking lot as well. Its a real steep jeep trial but my Chevy Cavalier could have made it, had I tried it!!. It’s also more like 1/2 mile from the paved parking lot to the trailhead. It is a fabulous hike with great vistas of the valley you climb through. I’d give it a 5 star rating, if I could have figured out how to make the star thingy work for me. This hike also doesn’t take all day so it’s a great mornign activity.


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