Hope Lake Hike

Friday we set out with some friends to hike Hope Lake. Our guide book for Southwestern Colorado hikes claimed this hike was “out of Silverton” like our last hike, but it was actually nowhere close. We drove for hours to get there and it made for a 12 hour adventure.

This was the first hike in a while where we had company and it was nice to be in the mountains with friends and their energetic puppy, Zulu.

Because the hike really wasn’t near Silverton like we thought, we ended up taking a crazy pass from Silverton to just south of Telluride. I’m serious when I say crazy – I’ve never been on anything like it. Ophir Pass was a mostly one-lane, gravel, and at times scary road straight through the mountains.




Marmot chilling on a rock

Once we got there it was cold and rainy but after 3(!!) hours of driving we were hiking that damn trail.


My husband gave me his rain jacket so I could be warm and dry. I heart him!


Garrett, Brittany, & Zulu


MHH Review

To get there: Don’t even get me started on this!! I would say the best way to get there from Durango would be to take 160 west and then CO145 towards Telluride. The actual trailhead is off of Forrest Service Road 626. Beyond that it was trial and error. The guide book’s directions were not great and the roads were not marked accordingly. We just ended up following any road we could until we found the trail head (off of Hope Lake Road, not FSR 627 as the book suggested).

Trailhead: Hope Lake Trail

Total Distance: I forgot to turn on my Garmin so I don’t have an accurate distance. Our book said it was 5 miles round trip but several websites say 7. Because of the duration I would assume we were somewhere around 6 miles (we also spent time exploring the area around the lake). With hiking, lunch, and dillydallying around, the hike took us about 4 hours total.

Difficulty: I would say this is an easy hike. There are a few switchbacks which are slightly steep, but overall I never got tired out or too terribly out of breath. Slow and steady wins the race!

Notes: I would wait to do this trail until late spring, especially if there has been rain. There was an abundance of wildflowers that really made the trail beautiful! Definitely make your way around the lake to the old mining trestle (at least that’s our guess) at the top, the views are amazing.

Overall: Although it was beautiful and fun, because of the ease and shortness of this hike, I don’t really think it was worth the near 6 hours of round trip driving. Next time we are going to pick something closer to town!


3 thoughts on “Hope Lake Hike

  1. The hope lake trail does start close to Silverton. You go through the mineral creek campground off 550 and at the end of the road is the trail. It’s 3 miles one way and beautiful.

  2. yep – if you had 2 cars you could apparently do the trip 1 way (vs out and back) there is a map “franko’s adventure guide to the san juan mountains” it includes ridgway, ouray, telluride, & silverton.

    yeah – if you drive all the way up here (the areas listed) definitely suggest a weekend or at least staying overnight. not sure what is near durango, there are definitely some kewl hikes just out of silverton (as well as ouray, however that’s another 40+ minutes)

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