Sunday, August 26, 2012
Square Top Lakes, Pike National Forest
Square Top Lakes
Pike National Forest
Date Hiked: August 26, 2012
Distance: 4.3 mi (RT)
Elevation Gain: 1,000ft
Elevation Min/Max: 11,587 to 12,375ft
Trailhead Lat/Long: 39.597210 N; 105.713087 W
Managing Agency: U.S. Forest Service
Square Top Lakes Trail Map (Google Maps)
Directions: From Denver, head west on I-70 to Georgetown. Drive through historic Georgetown to Guanella Pass Road. Follow Guanella Pass Road to the summit of Guanella Pass where there is a parking area and the trailhead for Square Top Lakes.
This is a wonderful, high alpine hike to two scenic lakes with wonderful views of Mt. Bierstadt and Mt. Evans to the East. From the trailhead, you follow the rolling tundra approaching ever closer to Square Top Mountain. The trail is easy to follow, which is helpful because you will be hard pressed to keep your eyes focused on the trail with such amazing scenery around and behind you.
The first lake is about 1.8 miles from the trailhead. Take a few moments here but don't stop, the upper lake is less than 1/2 a mile further. Follow the trail to the left of the lake and the sign pointing to Square Top Lake. This climbs the ridge behind the 1st lake to the upper Square Top Lake, your destination. This is a wonderful lake to sit and stare at Mt. Bierstadt. If you are feeling particularly adventurous, you can continue up to the summit of Square Top Mountain, if not, relax, enjoy the landscape, and head back the way you came when you are ready.
This is a true high alpine adventure and as such, be wary of getting a late start, Thunderstorms can roll in quickly and there is no shelter on this trail. That being said, this hike is simply a must do.