Rock Lake and the Spruce Lakes…Two lakes, well actually three that you can quickly access from the Continental Divide Trail.
I always wanted to go check out these lakes and finally got the chance after a friend was in town and wanted to go on a good, long hike.
We drove up the pass and to Lobo Overlook. This allows you to skip the 800 feet or so of elevation gain from Hwy 160 up the CDT.
As you start off this hike, it’s deceptively easy since you drop about 600 feet. About a half mile in from the overlook, you merge onto the CDT.
Now we hiked this in the fall. And there’s not too many aspens along this route. But there’s still plenty of yellows and oranges. During the summer, this area is filled with wildflowers and it’s absolutely gorgeous.
At a mile and a half, you hit the Weminuche Wilderness. This is the largest wilderness area in all of Colorado at nearly 500 thousand acres.
Shortly after this you start to ascend and climb a few hundred feet. You pop out onto this ridge line that gives gorgeous views of Mt Hope which stands at 12,776 ft. And this began one of my favorite sections of this hike. You pass along meadows and forests with views every step of the way.
We ran into a couple CDT thru hikers and it made me envious of what they have accomplished.
After about five miles, you finally reach Rock Lake which sits at 11,368 ft. And it’s absolutely stunning as it sits on the edge of a large drop off of around 500 feet. I wish I could’ve flown the drone back here but you can’t since it’s in a wilderness area.
If you want to continue on to Spruce Lakes, you hike another mile to the Archuleta Trail 750. From here you head east until you hit trail 725 in a little over a quarter of a mile. Now this trail is hard to see. In fact, we couldn’t even find the path. But there is a little log formation that helps direct you. Follow that and then as you’re looking toward the north east, you’ll pick up the trail near the edge of the forest.
You climb another couple hundred feet and then descend towards Spruce Lake Number 2. A great spot to grab a lunch or throw your rod into the lake and catch some trout. Form here, it’s a hike out. You go the way you came. And all those easy descents at the start become grueling climbs after you’re tired from the day.
Overall, we hiked about 15 miles. But this always includes a couple extra to go pick up the camera after walking by it. Total Ascent was about 2,000 feet. And it took us about eight hours.
If you only want to go to Rock lake, you’ll shave off about 3 to 4 miles and quite a bit of ascent.
Hope this was super helpful for you. We aim to be your local guide to this amazing area. So be sure to check out all of the other hikes we’ve done along with fun content on local businesses and things to do in Pagosa Springs. Cheers!