• Activities:

    Photography, Backpacking, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Summer

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    10 Miles

Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Forest
Hot Springs
Lake
River
Scenic
Wildflowers

Copper Lake offers amazing mountain scenery and a chance to set up camp with some solitude. Although this is a stop for folks heading to Conundrum Hot Springs, you can still find a quiet spot to yourself.

Looking for a wildflower hike, we decided on Copper Lake in the Maroon Bells Wilderness as a place to base camp for 4 nights. It is 5 miles from the Trailhead, which is off Gothic Road above Crested Butte (2WD Accessible).

Copper Lake is this beautiful alpine lake, situated right at treeline, with several established campsites. This is apparently a popular stop on the way to Conundrum Hot Springs, so we did have hikers at the other campsites as well, but it was far from crowded. The hike itself is fairly easy, aside from about the last mile, which gets pretty steep!

Copper Lake is also situated near several trails, so we had some great options for dayhikes. Now, many “hardcore” backpackers will do a loop where you pack up your tent every day and move sites, but I have to say, I’m a big fan of the basecamp trip, and this was the perfect location to come home to each night!

On your first day, hike over East Maroon Pass, to East Maroon Creek. Start off on a ledge trail up above Copper Lake and immediately you'll enter into fields of gorgeous wildflowers.

The next day, hike back the way you came in, just a bit, to the Triangle Pass Trail. This is the longest hike of the trip, and features the most breathtaking scenery as well.

For more details, see my longer blog post.

Pack List

  • The usual backpacking supplies
  • Tent
  • Sleeping Bag / Sleeping Pad
  • Rain Gear
  • Stove and Fuel
  • Water Treatment
  • Bear Vault (check as this may now be required in Maroon Bells Wilderness)
  • First Aid Kit
  • Toilet Kit - Trowel, TP, Ziploc Bags
  • Warm Clothes for evening - fleece pants/jacket, hat, gloves
  • Sunscreen/SPF Chapstick
  • Bug Spray (seasonal)
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Community Photos

+ Add Photos

Reviews

Overall rating:  Rate this Adventure

Leave a Review

Have you done this adventure? Leave a review!

Leigh Wilson

Recently relocated to Tucson after a 3-month road trip from my hometown of Chicago! I blog about outdoor adventure travel, dog-friendly destinations and anything else travel-related that catches my interest! https://campfiresandconcierges.com/

Are we missing something? Suggest an edit

Nearby Adventures

Hike the Sugar Bowl Loop in Kings Canyon NP

Tulare County, California

First and foremost, to get to this trailhead you need to drive down a 2-mile, one lane dirt road that is quite steep.

7 Saves

Hike to Ehukai Pillbox

59178 Ke Nui Road, Hawaii

This hike starts directly across from Banzai Pipeline, the famous barreling wave at Ehukai Beach.

7 Saves

Winter Hike to Calypso Cascades

1046 County Highway 115, Colorado

While most people go snowshoeing near the Bear Lake or Glacier Gorge area in RMNP, Wild Basin is a much less trafficked option.

5 Saves