Lily Pad Trail #50 Professional Reviews and Guides
"Lily Pad Lake is a very popular destination reachable from two different trailheads. This hike description starts on the Meadow Creek Trail near Frisco, which provides the most diverse scenery and wildflowers. Lily Pad Lake itself contains only a few lily pads (yellow pond lilies), but a nearby smaller lake contains many, especially along the shore. Buffalo Mountain towers above the lake. Good views of the Frisco area can be seen along the trail. When you arrive at Lily Pad Lake, the bigger of the two lakes, you might wonder why it has so few water lilies on it. The lake used to be smaller, but beavers built a dam and enlarged it. (Look for the old beaver lodge near the southwest shore.) The yellow pond lilies did not like the enlarged lake, perhaps because of the change in depth or water fl ow. They prefer shallow (no more than 6 feet deep) and quiet water. The pond lilies’ leaves (pads) are connected to a stem that is attached to a rootstock (a rhizome with roots) that grows sideways."
--Maryann Gaug, Best Hikes Near Breckenridge and Vail (Falcon Guides).
"Less than an hour and a half from the Denver Metro area is a short hike that reaches into the Eagles Nest Wilderness Area. Along the way, over 50 species of wildflowers line the trail, ending at a pair of evergreen-surrounded lakes, one of which has many of the yellow pond lilies blooming in July. The Meadow Creek Trail access to Lily Pad Lake and its adjacent, but much smaller sibling, gains about 800-vertical feet in just over a mile. Wildflower Alert: This trail offers lovely sego lilies and yellow pond lilies in mid-July."
--Pamela & David Irwin, Colorado's Best Wildflower Hikes: The High Country (Westcliffe Publishers).
"This hike takes you to a delightful series of small lakes and ponds in Eagle’s Nest Wilderness on a path that is lavishly decorated with wildflowers in the early summer. Few hikes offer this much beauty with such easy access and minimal effort."
--Alan Apt and Kay Turnbaugh, Afoot & Afield: Denver, Boulder, Fort Collins, and Rocky Mountain National Park (Wilderness Press).
"Of the three routes to Lily Pad Lake, north of Frisco in the Eagles Nest Wilderness, the most scenic goes by way of the Salt Lick Trail. The last half of this trek, however, becomes rather steep. Nordic skiers may require climbing skins, but snowshoers should be fine. Due to the relatively low elevation and considerable exposure to the sun, this outing should be best in February and early March when the snowpack is likely to be deeper."
--Dave Muller, Colorado's Quiet Winter Trails (Colorado Mountain Club Press).
"Whether you walk the Lily Pad Lake Trail in its entirety, with a car shuttle at the other end, or simply as a lake destination, returning via the same route, this is a delightful day hike for every hiker."
--Maureen Keilty , Best Hikes with Kids Colorado (The Mountaineers Books).
"This is a popular trail for Nordic skiers and snowshoers in the Dillon and Silverthorne area. Because it enters the Eagles Nest Wilderness Area, no mechanized vehicles or snowmobiles are allowed. Ideal for beginners, the trail is pleasant for even the most inexperienced skier and snowshoer. The Lily Pad Lake Trail is short, has the gentlest of grades, and meanders through meadows and in and out of stands of spruce and aspen to wind up at the pristine, frozen lake. Lily Pad Lake is ideal for picnicking and picture taking. Surrounded by beaver ponds, the area was a favorite of fur trappers in the early 1800s. Gold was reported to the north in the Salt Lick Gulch area by a pioneer who told everyone that he had found “gold dust” in the mouth of a deer he had just shot for food. When the word got around, hordes of miners arrived, and the Salt Lick Gulch area became an important mining center. Like so many of the reported “get-rich-quick” mining areas, those who came and mined the Salt Lick went home licking their financial wounds. Today the area is a novice skier and snowshoer’s paradise."
--Andy Lightbody and Kathy Mattoon, Winter Trails: Colorado-The Best Cross-Country Ski and Snowshoe Trails (Falcon Guides).
"This gentle climb to pretty Lily Pad Lake is a treat for the
whole family. The trail passes through typically dry lodge-
pole pine forest with sparse vegetation. Several ponds, a
creek, and other wet areas produce tall grasses, willows, and
wildflowers. A smaller lake is almost covered in pond lilies,
while the larger lake supports a few of the plants along with
an old beaver lodge."
--Maryann Gaug, Best Easy Day Hikes Vail (Falcon Guides).
"There are several routes to Lily Pad Lake. This one is quite popular. It begins from the Ryan Gulch Road and then passes along the lower slopes of Buffalo Mountain in the Eagles Nest Wilderness. The Wilderness rules exclude snowmobiles. The narrow trail winds mostly through the forest and is marked by tree blazes. There are few vistas until you reach the lake."
"Lily Pad Lake is a very popular destination especially from the Lily Pad Lake Trail #50 trailhead (see Option 2). Hiking the complete trail from Frisco to Ryan Gulch provides the most diverse scenery and wildflowers. The Summit Stage bus provides a nice shuttle opportunity with just one vehicle. Lily Pad Lake is actually two lakes, with Buffalo Mountain towering above. Good views of the Frisco area can be seen along the trail from the Meadow Creek trailhead. This trail section also contains the best variety of wildflowers. The hike from Ryan Gulch is easy and popular year-round. When you arrive at Lily Pad Lake, the bigger of the two lakes, you might wonder why it has no lily pads on it. The lake used to be smaller, but beavers built a dam and enlarged it. The yellow pondlilies did not like the enlarged lake, perhaps because of the change in depth or water flow. The smaller lake is probably a kettle pond left over from glacial times, and sports a large quantity of yellow pondlilies. Watch closely for duck families that enjoy swimming among the lilies. The little ducklings appear to be walking on water as they waddle across the green pads."
--Maryann Gaug, Hiking Colorado's Summit County Area (Falcon Guides).
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