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Grizzly Lake
Chaffee County, Colorado
San Isabel National Forest
Salida Ranger District
View this on the Colorado Trailheads Map

Forest Service Road: 296
Trail Type: Out and Back
Nearby Towns: Buena Vista, Johnson's Village
Nearby Trails: Iron Chest, Mount Antero, Boulder Mountain, Tincup Pass, Mount Princeton, Hancock Pass, Pomeroy Lakes
Trail Length: 2.5 miles
Elevation: 11,266 feet

It might not be the easiest trail to find but it is worth looking for. It's in a residential area, so please be considerate of private property when you make your way up to Grizzly Lake.

You pass a few houses and immediately find yourself at a fork in the road. The left fork goes down to a creek crossing and a rock obstacle, where the right fork goes up along the trail. Take the left fork through the creek (the right fork will dead end).

Once you cross the creek you may want to let your tires dry a bit before tackling the biggest obstacle on the trail. It is an ever-changing rock climb with areas of stacked rock and places where tires have dug holes in the dirt. Wet tires only make it more challenging. There is no way around this obstacle, and it gives the trail its high rating.

After making it over this obstacle you will climb a short distance to a rock obstacle almost parallel to the trail. The bypass takes you around it a little further, but the obstacle itself is worth trying. If you can get a little sideways on the trail you can climb up the rock head on instead of at an angle, making it easier.

After conquering these two obstacles you are faced with a long, steep hill of loose rock. It climbs to what seems to be the top, only to make a left turn and climb some more. You may want to leave some distance between you and the vehicle ahead of you, just in case they get stuck (you don't want to have to stop). Keep a steady pace without spinning your tires and you should be fine up this hill.

After the hill there are some shelf roads. Don't get too close to the edge as the rocks are pretty loose.

You'll spend the rest of the trail in and out of the trees. Some places are pretty tight and brush will touch your vehicle. There are more creek crossings and even a muddy water patch (it has a bypass).

It takes less than two hours to reach Grizzly Lake, an impressive lake framed by mountains. The fishing is good and the view is amazing. If you time it right this is a great place for lunch!

Return the way you came, leaving some room between vehicles on the steep hill down. This is a little-used trail with some fun obstacles, and great to run with other trails in the area.

Information last updated on October 6th, 2015.

Member Reports

Driving Directions

Take Highway 285 from Denver to Route 162 near Nathrop. Take 162 west 15 miles to turn left on Hancock Road 295. You will pass one driveway on your left, then come to a second left with a right turn across from it. Take this left turn into a residential area, passing the houses to find the trail. There are "no trasspassing" signs but they refer to the property on each side of the trail.

Meeting Places

Meet in Conifer on Highway 285 at the Bradley gas station. Those coming from Colorado Springs will want to meet at Johnson's Village instead and not come that far north.

Low-End Rating: 7
High-End Rating: 8
Rock Crawling:
Dirt & Mud:
Water Crossings:
Cliffs & Ledges:
Climbs & Descents:
Other Activities:
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Trail Photographs

The Obstacle Rocky Turn Grizzly Lake

Maps and Coordinates
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Trail in Red
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291 KB

Grizzly Lake (GPS Exchange File)
Grizzly Lake Track (Google Earth Track)
Grizzly Lake Trailhead (Google Earth Placemark)
Grizzly Lake (Google Earth Placemark)

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Trail information is only accurate on the date posted. Trails may have changed or closed since that date. Use this information for historical purposes only. Contact the Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management for up-to-date trail information.

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