Alta Lakes

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4.1/5 (15 reviews)
Ophir, Colorado (San Miguel County)
Last Updated: 12/13/2023
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Alta Lakes is another in a long list of off-road trails in the Telluride area, which will stun you with its incredible beauty and easy access. Being that the beginning of the trail is a few feet off the highway, it is easily reached by anyone in the Telluride/Silverton area, and it should not be missed. As the road climbs to the Alta Ghost Town, it pops out of the trees every now and again to reveal breath-taking views of Wilson Peak, Lizard Head, Sunshine Mountain, and the Wilson Mesas. As you pass the Alta ruins and old mill site, the number of camping spots increases significantly. Although there are not many big camping areas, you will find countless double tracks traveling into the bushes, most of which are well worth exploring. The lakes themselves offer a great place to fish, paddleboard, swim, or camp. Although Alta Lakes Road is decently short (just about 5 miles), it is gorgeous and well worth the drive, especially if you are attempting to find a great dispersed campsite.

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Trail Reviews

4.1/5 (15)
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Seasonal Closure
Visited: 12/01/2023

Snow has closed the road to wheeled vehicles for the winter season. Seasonal Closure begins 12/31 anyway.
Rated 3/5
Visited: 09/23/2023
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Ran up it today looking for fall colors. Road is rocky and rough especially if you don't air down. No trees turning yet. I ran this years ago, in the 80's, and it wasn't as rough as today. I probably won't do it in the future.
Rated 4/5
Visited: 10/15/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Nice trail to run after coming in from Ophir pass to keep the day going. Scenic and easy. Didn't go up to camp, but was a nice place to stretch our legs before heading back down.
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Rated 5/5
Visited: 09/09/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Beautiful campground and a popular spot so get there early, the sites were full by 5:00. I arrived about 1:30 and got the last site on the Lake. The trail to Alto Lake is rutted but easy, and if leaving early in the morning watch out for the deer.
Trail Review: Alta Lakes - Terry More
Trail Review: Alta Lakes - Terry More
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Rated 4/5
Visited: 07/14/2021

Alta Lakes offered some pretty scenery and a fairly short drive to the top. There used to be a lot more sites than there are now, but almost all of them are closed for revegetation, so make sure to only camp in the allowable areas. The bummer part of this trail and the reason it gets 4/5 from me is that the designated spots are packed so close together and almost all the spots were taken by the time we got there at 5 PM on a Wednesday. We ended up taking a camping spot covered in puddles, which is probably why no one else had taken it. It wasn't a big deal for us with the roof top tent luckily. I'd recommend to get here early if you plan on camping, otherwise it is a nice scenic drive up to the lakes. You can watch our experience at Alta Lakes during the second half of the video posted below.

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