Lake Hope is located in the shadow of towering red cliffs, many of which have been numbered not named. One of the few trails in the San Juan Mountains that travels above tree line without a steep grade, it follows an old mining road up to the pass to look down on Lake Hope and Trout Lake near Telluride.
It is possible to scale the peaks surrounding the basin. Another possible detour is up to another small lake near historic mining claims. To view the mines, stick to the road when it begins to turn right up the hill to the basin. Lake Hope can be reached by continuing west over the ridge that is visible from this point.
What Makes It Great
Copper colored mountains, verdant green meadows, and a glacial blue lake are not uncommon in this corner of the San Juan Mountains, but they are no less spectacular on the Lake Hope trail. In fact, though Ice Lakes is more popular, the view looking down onto Lake Hope cannot be beat.
Hope lake is situated above Trout Lake, which is located outside of Telluride. A connection can be made between Silverton and Telluride, but the drive is rather long to shuttle for a day hike.
You’ll remember the historic mining sites, the wildflowers, and that feeling of cresting the ridge wondering “where is Lake Hope” only to be overwhelmed by the vibrant color and grandeur of the scene.
Who is Going to Love It
Photographers, history buffs, and people who prefer to enjoy the wilderness without the company of other hikers will love Lake Hope trail. Ice Lakes draws major crowds of tourists and locals alike for its convenience and beauty. However, Lake Hope is more dramatic in its scenery and more isolated of an experience.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
To get to the parking for Lake Hope, turn left onto Mineral Creek Road a few miles outside of Silverton, CO. The first section is an easy drive, but be courteous and keep to a moderate speed. Continue through the campground and parking area for Ice Lakes. The road will curve to the left and head east – from here the road gets rougher and more uneven. Proceed cautiously.
A point will come when the road descends rapidly into a marshy area with camp spots located at the end. Park at the top near an overgrown service road with an old Hope Lake sign. No fee or permit is required. Dogs are allowed in the area, but beware of animals such as marmots, deer, elk, moose, and bears. Moose, though rare in Colorado, have been spotted diving in the marshy ponds just below the trailhead.