Location: Georgetown, CO
Distance from Denver: 55mi (1.5hrs) ♡ ♡ ♡
Hike: ~3mi RT ♡ ♡ ♡
Difficulty: Depends on when you go! It was moderate with the snow, but we think it will be easier in the spring ♡ ♡
Parking Situation: It’s a large lot, and we had no problem on a snowy Sunday morning but we have seen it fill up considerably during the summer months on our hike to Square Top Lakes ♡ ♡
Parking Fee: N/A
Happy hump day, people of the internet! We hope that everyone is having a great week so far! We are pretty excited to share this hike with you, as it was our first hiking-in-the-snow experience! (we didn’t call it snowshoeing because we didn’t have snow shoes). This was a treat for us, as we wanted to hike to Silver Dollar Lake and Murray Lake, and we were surprised when we first stumbled upon Lake Naylor on the trail up! According to AllTrails, Lake Naylor is private property so you can’t go to the lake banks. However, the view from the trail is pretty magnificent so we weren’t too disappointed that we couldn’t go right down by the water.
To get to the trail-head, you drive up I-70, get off at the Georgetown exit, and drive up Guanella Pass until you pass the campground. As we drove up the mountain, we noticed the cars in front of us had come to a screeching halt and we both prayed that it wasn’t traffic (the last time we drove this road was to hike Square Top Lakes and both sides of the road were filled with cars!) To our wonderful surprise, traffic was halted because the CUTEST flock of sheep were licking salt off the road!
I mean look at these little guys! They were sooooooooo close to us and they just looked at us like “hey, are you going to steal our salt?” These babes were in no hurry to leave the road, nor were we in any hurry to move past them, so we got to spend a good 10min with them before another car tried to usher them off the road. (The last time we saw these dudes were up at Glacier). We then proceeded up to drive up the remainder of Guanella to the trail-head’s parking lot. To note, there is a “lower” parking lot and an “upper” parking lot. In the summer months, you can shave up to a mile each way of the hike by driving to the “upper” parking lot, but in the winter months, they close it down so you have to park in the “lower” parking lot.
Per usual, B tried to throw snowballs at me (like he did here, here, and here), which resulted in a mini-snowball fight :) There was PLENTY of powder here, and we were so thankful that the snow hadn’t yet turned into ice. Most of the trail was covered in the soft, pillow-y powder which was great because we didn’t have snow shoes on. There were parts of the trail that had iced over, but when we went, this was literally one or two short sections. Nevertheless, it was a challenging hike, because the snow made it harder to climb the incline but it gave us a good workout to where we were peeling off some of our layers! We saw people with poles and cramps on their boots, which we thought was a good idea to help with extra points of contact/traction.
You guys, the views were unbelievable! We were in an evergreen forest for a majority of the hike, but honestly in the winter it didn’t detract from the experience. Instead, it felt like we were walking in a ~magical wonderland,~ somewhere like Narnia rather than Colorado.
You then get to this little overlook that offers your first glance at Lake Naylor. It is nestled among the high mountains, and boy do we want to know how we can purchase this gorgeous piece of land. There is this ledge that perfectly overlooks the lake, and for a short hike, we 100% recommend eating your snacks/lunch here before calling it a day.
We thought that we could continue on the path towards Silver Dollar Lake, but it became too steep for us and we decided to turn back. We didn’t regret this decision one bit (after all, safety first!) and can’t wait to come back here in the spring!
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