"The Mormons and settlers would call them the Cathedrals of Heaven, the mountain men would name them God's Own Foothills, the Utes, Arapaho and Cheyenne would call them... "The Shining Mountains that Glisten at Dawn"
The Rocky Mountain Range extends from Central Alaska all the way to the southern part of New Mexico. Within the Rocky Mountain Range there are 54+(?) peaks which are higher than 14,000 feet and every one of them are right here in the Colorful State of Colorado!!!
On this day you will come face to face and up close and personal with Colorado's highest fourteeners of the Sawatch Mountain Range: Mount Elbert, Mt. Massive, La Plata Peak, Harvard, Princeton and Yale.
I have always wanted to hike to Native Lake and decided this would be the best time to do it. Hiking to Native Lake will be a new experience for probably all of us. The Lake is located in the Mount Massive Wilderness at the foot of Mount Massive, the second highest peak in Colorado with her big sister Mount Elbert the highest peak in Colorado sitting right next to her. This area is not heavily used. The lush foliage, flowing creeks and the extensive tundra at timberline make this an especially scenic outing.
From the parking area, we'll ascend south past a trail register and signboard. Rise through the forest and several clearings with heavy vegetation. After a number of switchbacks and creek crossing we'll arrive at a large grassy mesa at timberline. The trail here is marked with a series of wooden poles supported by rocks at their base. As the trail begins to descend we will soon see Native Lake below. The good, unambiguous trail continues down alongside the lake. A brief jaunt off trail to the left bring us to the lake. There are good campsites and picnic areas in the trees where we'll spend some time hanging out and having a picnic lunch before heading back to the trailhead.
The hike is a 7.4 - 8 mile moderate round trip with a starting elevation of 10,780 ft with a high elevation of 11, 765 ft and an elevation gain of 1, 940 ft.
To get to Leadville head west on I-70, I know there is a way to get there using Hwy 285 but I have no idea how to get there using this highway. You will be going through the Eisenhower Tunnel, by Dillon, Frisco and up to the Copper Mountain/Leadville exit. If you miss this exit there will be one more exit to turn back around. But if you miss the second exit you're on your way to VAIL!!!
New Directions to the Native Lake Trailhead: From the traffic light at 6th St. and Harrison Avenue, follow Highway 24 south to mile marker 177 and turn right onto McWethy Drive/Lake County Road 4, across from the entrance to Colorado Mountain College. Follow Lake County Road 4 to the Turquoise Lake Recreation Area. Continue across the dam and along the south side of the lake. Turn left onto Forest Road 105/Hagerman Pass Road. Follow this road for 3.5 miles to the trailhead for Native Lake. Park here, the trail begins to the south of this parking area.
If you want to camp there are camping areas at Turquoise Lake as well as Twin Lakes.
I hope you all have a great week and spend a lot of time on the trails!!!