Opal Lake Trail

Beautiful hike up through aspen groves and across meadows to Opal Lake.
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Beautiful hike up through aspen groves and across meadows to Opal Lake.

Please note that this is an out-and-back hike, but the track only records one way.
Minerals give this lake a milky color, hence its name. The trail to Opal Lke is 1.2 miles long. The first part is fairly steep, climbing up through spruce and fir woodlands, and, higher up, aspen groves. There are often wildflowers and wild berries, including poisonous baneberry, and some mushrooms.
A short distance from the trail head, you'll see a small bog on the right. After passing through a grove of tall aspen, the trail traverses several meadows, then another wooded area, before crossing the creek and continuing up to the lake. Wooded hillsides and sheer cliffs border the small lake.
Be prepared for summer thunderstorms and even hail at these high elevations. Following or during rains, crossing the creek may not be advised - better to cut short your hike than get stranded on the other side. This rocky, steep trail can be treacherous when wet. Watch your step and use hiking poles if you have them. Contact the Pagosa Ranger District, 970-264-2268 if uncertain about weather or conditions. Snow can linger here as late as July.

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 1.8

Waypoints

Trail head

Location: 37.203931, -106.762327

04-AUG-10 11:32:39AM

Small bog

Location: 37.203752, -106.759818

04-AUG-10 11:37:01AM

High point

Location: 37.202717, -106.758549

04-AUG-10 11:41:18AM

Stream crossing

Location: 37.200834, -106.756039

04-AUG-10 11:50:02AM

Aspen groves

Location: 37.19945, -106.756124

04-AUG-10 11:57:27AM

Small meadow

Location: 37.197576, -106.755662

04-AUG-10 12:05:09PM

Larger meadow

Location: 37.197263, -106.7552

04-AUG-10 12:06:18PM

Intersection

Location: 37.19697, -106.754628

04-AUG-10 12:07:37PM

Creek crossing

Location: 37.195895, -106.753914

04-AUG-10 12:21:41PM

Opal Lake

Location: 37.194237, -106.751618

Other side of creek

Location: 37.195399, -106.753764

Overlooking the bog

Location: 37.203637, -106.759622

Logs over a stream

Location: 37.200715, -106.756082

Aspens

Location: 37.199706, -106.756039

Summer wildflowers

Location: 37.198236, -106.75635

Crossing the meadow

Location: 37.197484, -106.755363

Baneberries

Location: 37.198988, -106.756243

These berries are poisonous.

Rain-swollen creek.

Location: 37.19586, -106.753775

Mushrooms

Location: 37.196595, -106.754365