Staunton SP

Staunton SP

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Windsor Lake, Mount Massive Wilderness

Windsor Lake, Mount Massive Wilderness
San Isabel National Forest

Date Hiked: July 23, 2011

Distance: 5 mi (RT)

Elevation Gain: 1,000ft

Elevation Max: 10,800ft

Managing Agency: U.S. Forest Service

Windsor Lake Trail Website (USFS)

Directions:  Windsor Lake is located just west of Turquoise Lake, which is west of Leadville in the Mount Massive Wilderness Area.  From Leadville, head W on Turquoise Lake Road (4) following the signs to Turquoise Lake.  Follow the road along the south shore of the lake until the fork in the road, bear left, staying on 4 which is now Hagerman Lake Road.  When the road makes a abrupt bend, you'll see a large dirt parking area and the Windsor Lake Trailhead.

The hike up to Windsor Lake is short at 1.6 miles each way, with added mileage if you traverse the shore and explore the bowl area.  The trail is steep in spots but overall not very complicated.  You'll ascend through evergreen forest, pop out at a meadow overlooking a smaller lake just before Windsor Lake, re-enter the trees, and finally emerge at Windsor Lake.  This is a popular lake for fishing or for an easy overnight backpacking trip.  While it can be a nice day hike, the easy access really beckons for an overnight visit.  Camp on the far shore of the lake and you can explore the alpine bowl that the lake sits in. The lake and the setting is absolutely stunning. There are endless possibilities for larger hikes from here, but the lake itself is a worthy destination and a great place to pitch a tent.

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