Upper Willow Lakes Adventure Hike

Intersection of Willow Lake Trail and Gore Range Trail.

Today Matt and I went on a little adventure hike to Upper Willow Lake in the North Willow Drainage of the Gore Range. On Thursday we checked the weather and it said it was going to rain all day Friday. So naturally we both slept in. Well, we got up at 8:30am and low and behold it was blue skies. But off in the horizon there was snow on top of Mt Baldy and Mt. Guyot. So we took a look at the map and Matt suggested going into the Gore’s sounded like fun, and he said Willow Lake wasn’t too far that we couldn’t make a day trip out of it. We figured we would get rained on but went for it anyways. We started at the top of the Willowbrook neighborhood in Silverthorne and began the climb. The first few miles of the trail are fairly mellow, average grade and the climb is spread out. We passed quite a few spurs off the trail for Ditches Trail, Three Peaks Trail, and the Gore Range at a few intersections. Mile 4 had the most gain (537ft) up a relentless hill. Once we climbed several hundred feet we got an amazing view of Grays and Torreys with A LOT of snow on the peaks.

Torreys and Grays and the Ridge Below with A LOT of Snow.

After about 5.5 miles we passed the spur for Salmon Lake but decided to keep going, since we weren’t too sure about the clouds. We passed a few of the lower Willow lakes until we finally arrived at the back of the drainage Upper Willow Lake just after mile 7. The Zodiac Spires above the lake are so beautiful. We stopped and ate some food, took some pictures and put our toes in the lake.

One of the Lower Willow Lakes. Looking East Towards Ptarmigan Mountain.
Matt Looking at the Zodiac Spires.
Upper Willow Lake and Zodiac Spires.

Soon the clouds started to roll in hot, and we decided to make our way down. We set a fast pace for descent which was good because a couple miles from the car we heard some loud thunder all around us and it started raining hard about a half mile before the parking lot.

Shea Hanging Out by the Lake.
Shea Hanging Out by the Lake.

Today was another spur of the moment adventure and they always seem to be the best kind. I am so glad it didn’t rain all day and we went on a hike. The total mileage was 14.3 miles in 6 hours. I love exploring in my backyard, its so cool to see the county from different perspectives. And the snow! I am even more psyched for winter now!! Can’t wait to ride some pow!

Family Photo.