One of the greatest benefits of living in Summit County is the ready access to an astounding variety of outdoor activities and amazing scenery. The many local lakes provide a wide range of recreational activities, from boating and fishing to hiking, viewing wildlife, and picnicking by the water.
Eagles Nest Wilderness Area northwest of Silverthorne is home to several lakes, including Upper Cataract Lake. This moderate trail starts at Surprise Trailhead and is approximately 10.5 miles roundtrip with an elevation gain of over 2,500 feet. Along the way through the sublime meadows and forest, you will catch glimpses of Surprise Lake through the trees and wonderful views of Cat Lake. Once you’ve reached Upper Cataract Lake, relax and enjoy the incredible view of Eagles Nest Peak!
For a more family-friendly lake visit in this area, Lower Cataract Lake is a half mile walk from the parking lot. Get in a little fishing or wade in the water as you view Cataract Falls across the lake. The 2.25-mile trail loops around the lake with only a slight incline, taking you through meadows and pine forest and across a bridge over the lake’s main inlet.
Lily Pad Lakes, also in the Eagles Nest Wilderness, is another great family-friendly day trip. Roundtrip from Buffalo Mountain–Lily Pad parking area is 3.2 miles with little elevation change, found mostly at the start of the trail. You’ll hike across an open meadow with stunning views of Lake Dillon and Silverthorne, before entering the old-growth forest where several beaver ponds are seen. The first Lily Pad Lake is smaller and covered in marvelous large lily pads, while the second Lily Pad Lake is larger and more open, making it more suitable for fishing. There are paths around each lake if you’d like to do further exploring while taking in the view of picturesque Buffalo Mountain.
Just south of Breckenridge is Spruce Creek Trailhead, which provides access to Mohawk and Mayflower Lakes. As you hike the moderately difficult 5.2-mile roundtrip to Mayflower Lakes, you’ll revel in the beautiful forest, skirt a large marshy meadow, view the spectacular Continental Falls, pass a dam and small reservoir, and even see mining and homestead ruins. Mayflower Lakes are actually one larger body of water surrounded by several smaller ponds and pools.
If you’re up for a bit more, keep following Spruce Creek Trail to Mohawk Lakes. This will make the in and out round-trip 6.7 miles and add about 800 feet more in elevation, but it will be worth it! From the main trail, side trails offer not-to-be-missed close up views of Continental Falls. After a bit more of a climb, you’ll reach Lower Mohawk Lake and find yourself in a lovely glacial valley below Mt. Helen. Here there are plenty of shorelines if fishing is on your itinerary. To reach Mohawk Lake, follow the trail around the lake to the rocky trail that climbs along Spruce Creek. Mohawk Lake sits in a basin surrounded by steep mountain ridges and offers a glorious view of the valley below.
If watersports are on your list, Lake Dillon is your destination! With easy access from all around Summit County, Lake Dillon provides an abundance of water activities including sailing, canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing, and more. If you don’t have your own toys yet, rentals are available at the Frisco Bay Marina and the Dillon Marina.
If you are looking for a little more excitement and fun for the whole family, Green Mountain Reservoir is on the Blue River just a few minutes north of Silverthorne. Water skiing and wakeboarding are popular activities here as it is the only lake in Summit county that allows swimming. Anglers enjoy the lake as its ecosystem includes Cutthroat, Rainbow, and Brown trout among other species.
When you’re ready to call Summit County home and enjoy all of this breathtaking beauty in your own backyard, begin your property search with Coldwell Banker Mountain Properties. We are proud to be your comprehensive source for the finest mountain homes and properties in Summit County.
By Coldwell Banker