Hike to Lily Pad Lake

    4.8
    3.2 miles 400 ft gain  - Out-and-Back Trail

    Added by Johnathan Valdez

    A fairly flat and easy trail that will take you into the Eagle's Nest Wildernest just a short drive from Silverthorne, CO. This lake is the perfect spot to enjoy a picnic on the trail. 

    Lily Pad Lake is a well known destination just outside of Silverthorne and in the Eagle's Nest Wilderness. The trail may be heavily trafficked on the weekends, but solitude can still be found in the early mornings or during the weekdays.

    The trail starts at the Lily Pad Lake Trailhead, just to the south of the Buffalo Cabin Trailhead. Be advised that these two trails start at different trailheads just mere yards apart. The trail starts on a service road with an immediate uphill climb. Thankfully the service road (and the incline) are short lived, as you will soon reach an open clearing with spectacular views of Silverthorne and Lake Dillon. Enjoy the view while you have it, because soon you will be entering a thick, old growth forest. Also, it should be noted that for the most part, the incline is already out of the way. The trail is pretty level from here on out.

    Not far after entering the forest you will come to the Eagle's Nest Wilderness boundary. From here on, no mountain bikes are allowed. If you are hiking with your dog, please be courteous and bag your pet's poop as well as pack it out with you. 

    After passing the boundary sign, you will soon reach a large beaver pond on the right. Keep your eyes peeled as you just may catch a glimpse of moose, deer, or elk. Continue on the trail to reach a long log bridge crossing over the marshy outlet of the pond. 

    The trail will meander through the forest, sometimes passing through thick undergrowth, tall lodgepole stands, an occasional creek crossing, and few open clearings. 

    At about a mile from the trailhead you will reach the junction with the Salt Lick Trail. Bear to the right to continue on your way to Lily Pad Lake. The trail here levels out at it's highest point and will travel along a smooth path. It's only half a mile more before you reach Lily Pad Lake.

    The trail will descend slightly before dropping out at the shore of the first lake. Here is where the biggest and most abundant lily pads reside. If you hike this trail in mid to late June, the lilies will be in fully bloom. The vibrant yellow blooms make a great setting to relax and enjoy a snack. 

    The trail will continue onwards between the two lakes and will eventually lead you to a small "beach" on the shore of the second, and much larger lake.  Here the water is much more open, plus you will have a great view of Buffalo Mountain to the west.

    Fishing is permitted in the second lake with a valid Colorado fishing license. There are many social trails that circumnavigate the lake and lead to many openings that are suitable for casting a line. Backpacking is also permitted on this trail; however, no campfires are allowed within a quarter mile of either lake, so plan accordingly. Please practice Leave No Trace ethics when camping in the backcountry.

    If you wish to lengthen your adventure, the Lily Pad Trail will continue south towards the Meadow Creek Trail junction. This will add an additional one-way length of 2.6 miles. 

    Read More
    Fitness
    Chillin
    Fishing
    Photography
    Running
    Snowshoeing
    Backpacking
    Hiking
    Beach
    Dog Friendly
    Easy Parking
    Family Friendly
    Food Nearby
    Forest
    Lake
    Wildflowers
    Wildlife

    Go Pro.

    We're committed to building a better, more inclusive home for the modern outdoors. Go PRO to support our mission and get benefits like gear deals, no ads, and more!

    Learn More

    Reviews

    Rate this Adventure
    Explorer

    🥇Top Contributor

    about 1 year ago

    Frozen lake and stunning views

    After being in higher elevation for a week, this hike was still a good challenge. If it wasn't for the higher traffic of hikers compacting down the snow to make a visible trail, it's a bit harder to follow in the snow. The most difficult part is the first ascend and after that, the trails moved up and down, but not as steep as the first hill. After the view of Lake Dillon you'll still get peeps of the surrounding mountains in several clearings and beautiful forest light. I had three group of returning hikers tell me about the moose ahead, so keep an eye for the wildlife! In this time in early November, the lake has frozen over, but the view from the next lake was still incredible with Buffalo Mountain shining! I absolutely loved this hike!

    Beautiful but NOT "easy" unless you're acclimated

    Gorgeous, quiet & scenic but know that if you're visiting from sea level like we are, this one will challenge you at the outset with a pretty immediate elevation gain. We had smaller kids with us and they had a pretty rough time of it.

    Mellow and scenic--what more could you want?

    The description is pretty spot on. The incline at the start is the most that you'll see throughout the hike, making it a great option for visitors to Summit County and higher elevation. The trail is well kept and peaks in and out of forests and through meadows until finally reaching your destination. The lake wasn't covered with lily pads as I would've expected--in fact it was almost entirely bare except for a small grouping close to shore--but the water was calm and managed a beautiful reflection of the surrounding peaks and blue sky. Great hike for all ages of people and pups!

    Minnesotan

    Perfect. Great hike. Did it with my girlfriend the day after Thanksgiving when it was about 45 degrees and sunny. Great walk through the woods and exactly as described. I would recommend going past Lilly Pad lake once you've had a change to apres hike and walk a little further. There's a sweet overlook of the Dillon reservoir and a babbling brook that's neat.

    Leave No Trace

    Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

    We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

    Stay Nearby

    Silverthorne, Colorado

    Mon Chateaux: Mountain Condo W/ Pool & Hot Tubs

    From $164/night

    Silverthorne, Colorado

    Treehouse Condo W/ Pool & Hot Tubs

    From $73/night

    Silverthorne, Colorado

    Updated Treehouse Condo W/ Heated Pool & Hot Tubs

    From $112/night

    Silverthorne, Colorado

    Top Floor Treehouse Condo W/ Pool & Hot Tubs

    From $127/night

    Nearby Adventures

    Hike to Old Dillon Reservoir

    4.7
    1.7 mi / 137 ft gain

    Sunset Shots at Lake Dillon

    4.3

    Hike to South Willow Falls

    4.6

    Hike Red Buffalo Pass, Frisco to East Vail

    13.2 mi / 3400 ft gain
    More Nearby Adventures

    Inspire Your Fall Aspen Trip!

    Autumn days in Aspen are filled with sunshine and nights with crisp cool air. Watch the mountains and valleys turn gold with the changing Aspen trees. Take in the scenery while enjoying scenic drives, hiking through forests, road biking, and exploring our IMBA Gold Level Ride Center recognized mountain bike trails. 




    Learn More