Location: Guanella Pass, CO
Distance from Denver: ~55miles (1.5hrs) ♡ ♡ ♡
Hike: ~5mi ♡ ♡
Difficulty: Moderate ♡ ♡
Parking Situation: Small-ish lot and all along the side of the road ♡ ♡
Parking Fee: N/A
Hey hey, everyone! Happy Tuesday! How was your weekend? It sure was a hot one here in town and we spent half of it hiking and half of it running errands. By far, the highlight of the weekend was our hike to Square Top Lakes. We spent the week looking forward to getting out by Guanella Pass since we had never been in the area before. The hike was even more fun because our friend Debbie joined us!
We drove up to the trailhead, which is located off of I-70 & Georgetown. You drive up Guanella Pass Road for about 10 miles and you will start to see all the cars parked on the side of the road. Literally we all just said "WHOA" at the same time because of the sheer number, but we didn't see quite as many people on the hike as there were cars.
The trail up is called the "South Park 600 to Square Top Lakes Trail"; it starts behind the outhouse and starts you in the meadows before beginning an ascent up the mountain.
The views are gorgeous from the get-go! The trail is easy to follow and for the majority of it is a steady incline. There are parts that can be "steep" but nothing that requires trekking poles. You for sure feel the altitude; our calves weren't necessarily killing us but we could feel our lungs working in overtime.
The first "lake" is quite dried up (BOO global warming) but you can still appreciate how large it is. It's crazy to see the runoff path and it was so sad that it had dried up! When you reach this part, it marks the 3/4 point: there is one last uphill push and then you are by the first Square Top lake! Note that there are many parts of the path that are overrun with bushes; my friend Debbie and I were completely engulfed in them!
The lake is absolutely stunning! There are so many doggies around & they loved splashing in the water. The water is shallow in some parts, and even though the pups splash around in it, it somehow retains its pristine quality. We sat here for a bit, eating our snacks and talking about the types of dogs we would eventually want to get.
What we found mindblowing about the lake was that up close, it appears to be this beautiful greenish teal color but the farther up the trail we went, the more blue it seemed! How cool right?!
As you hike up the path past the first Square Top Lake, you have a decision to make: you can either go to the second, or you can climb the insane incline to get to the top of Square Top Mountain.
We chose just to go to the upper lake and relax for a bit. The path was pretty muddy when we went and Debbie and I totally got our shoes and socks SOAKED in muddy water! YUCK! Brandon was unscathed given he was wearing sturdy hiking boots. Smart man.
The upper Square Top lake is a gorgeous mint color and is nestled high in the alpine wilderness. Both of these are considered "cirques" (just like Bierstadt Lake!) and are gorgeous in their own right.
But our most favorite view of the hike was the overlook from upper Square Top Lake to lower Square Top lake. You are surrounded by the mountains and the endless landscape really took our breath away!
We were so lucky to have the plateau all to ourselves for the better part of two hours! Brandon took the time to nap while Debbie and I chatted non-stop. What more do you need than good friends and the great outdoors?
The styles above contain affiliate links, which means we receive a small commission if you click a link or make a purchase. While clicking these links won't cost you any money, it will help keep this blog running and free of pesky ads! As always, all opinions are our own. Thank you for your support!