Lily Lake (12,385′), Sangre de Cristo Range
This trail is one of the more beautiful in the state with lots of bang for your buck. The trail starts out at 10,400 feet, hiking in an beautiful valley surrounded by huge mountain scenery, and is virtually flat. So if you don’t want to make the climb up to Lilly Lake you still have amazing views and really great creek fishing with lots of good camping options on the valley floor.
If you make the hike up, you can see Mt. Lindsey, Mt. Blanca, Mt. Ellingwood, and the Iron Nipple from Lilly Lake. From the Valley you can see all but Lindsey. Lilly Lake offers amazing views, an alpine environment just above treeline, and great fly fishing in the lake.
GPS Route with Elevation
From the trailhead, follow clear signs to the Lily Lake Trail (there are no other trails at this TH). Head south and walk through a large meadow. From here, you can see the Blanca Massif straight ahead, with the Iron Nipple (13er) across the basin to its left. Hike one mile on mostly flat, clear terrain before coming to a trail junction with a sign for Lily Lake. Stay right (left will take you up Mt. Lindsey).
Continue up through the forest on excellent trail. You’ll continue to gain little elevation – just 1,500 ft over almost 3 miles from this point on. For most of the hike, Huerfano River will be on your left. At about 3 miles from the trailhead, at 11,600 ft, cross it and come to a large clearing with some boulders ahead and to your right. Loop up and back to your right, dipping briefly back into the forest. Just before the lake you come to a headwall just below the lake. Continue up and reach the lake at around 12,385 ft.