Columbine Lake and Pass

Distance: 7.0 - 8.9 miles (round trip)

San Juan National forest, near Silverton in Southwest Colorado

View toward the western end of beautiful Columbine Lake

View toward the western end of beautiful Columbine Lake


This little known hike climbs steeply through forest and beautiful alpine meadows to a stunning glacial lake set amid a backdrop of rugged 13,000-ft. peaks. Panoramic views from nearby Columbine Pass encompassing Bridal Veil basin and the Sneffels Range.
See Trail Detail/Full Description

  • Distance: 7.0 miles (round trip) to Columbine Lake
    8.9 miles (round trip) to Columbine Pass
  • Elevation: 10,346-ft. at Trailhead
    12,693-ft. at Columbine Lake
    13,094-ft. at Columbine Pass
  • Elevation Gain: 2,347-ft. to Columbine Lake
    2,748-ft. to Columbine Pass
  • Difficulty: strenuous
  • More Hikes in:
    Silverton / Ouray / Southwest Colorado

Why Hike Columbine Lake and Pass

Getting to Columbine Lake involves a steep climb and the trail to Columbine Pass some route finding skills, but it is well worth the effort. The trail is truly off the beaten path, providing a degree of solitude not often found in such a beautiful location just 3.5 miles from a trailhead.

The strenuous hike to the lake traverses dense forest and gorgeous alpine meadows with see forever views. Columbine Lake, a turquoise jewel, is tucked in a stunning glacial bowl ringed by rugged ridges and peaks over 13,000-ft.

A side trip to Columbine Pass is highly recommended for hikers with the time and energy. The pass is located on the ridge to the northwest of the lake. Views from the pass extend west to Bridal Veil Basin, Mt Sneffels (14,150-ft.) and the Sneffels Range.

Elevation Profile

Elevation Profile Columbine Lake and Pass

Best Hiking in Southwest Colorado around Ouray, Telluride and Silverton

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Trail Resources

Trail Detail/Full Description / Trail Photo Gallery / Trail Map

Basecamp(s) Information:
Silverton / Ouray

Region Information:
Southwest Colorado

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