July 2012 brought us to Hope Lake Trail, and July 2016 will hopefully bring us back. If you’ve never been to Telluride, Colorado, you have to go at some point in your life. It is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen in America, and I’m from Vermont so I know pretty. A mixture of lush forest paths, rock studded landscapes and flowery hilltop meadows makes Hope Lake a picturesque trail anyone would be delighted to take a stroll on. Click here for directions to the trailhead.
STARTING ELEVATION: 10,750′
ENDING ELEVATION: 11,880′
ELEVATION GAIN: 1,130′
DISTANCE: 4.5 miles round trip
DIFFICULTY: Moderate, due to the high altitude.
ADDITIONAL TRAIL OPTIONS: Once you reach Hope Lake you can continue up to Unnamed Pass, which adds an additional 1.4 miles to your round trip and 565′ in elevation gain. (Question: Is the pass actually unnamed? Or did some cruel person actually name it “Unnamed Pass“?)
Hope Lake Trail starts off fairly easy on a nice forest path. It’s absolutely lovely. After about 45 minutes of hiking you’ll start heading uphill, which will be a little difficult if you’re not yet acclimated to the elevation. Take your time, drink lots of water, and enjoy the views of the beautiful valley to the north.
Are you clicking on the links? They take you to some pretty funny stuff…
We don’t have any crazy stories about getting lost on this trail, becoming sick with altitude poisoning, or meeting crazy judgmental folks who hate our clothes, so I’ll just narrate our pleasant journey with some photos.
Past the tree line the summit opens up to lush meadows, which are packed with wildflowers in the summer.
And finally when you get to the summit…
Andre was pleased to find Hope Lake filled to the brim with beautiful Cutthroat Trout of all sizes, and was incredibly disappointed that we hadn’t known to bring fishing gear. Hope Lake 2016 will “hopefully” bring us back with fishing gear in hand, and we’ll have some beauties to show for it.
Telluride is home to a balloon festival, the famous Telluride Film Festival, and the less famous Wild West Fest (which looks AWESOME), but it’s also home to Hope Lake Trail, which is definitely worth checking out while you’re in town for… what ever it is you’re in town for.
– C. Egli