If you’re looking for a quick hike with lots to see and quick access from downtown Silverthorne, Lily Pad Lake is it. This is a wonderful family-friendly hike is filled with views, wildflowers, water crossing, and tall pines on your way to a small lake covered with lily pads.
Getting there: You can hike to Lily Pad Lake from Silverthorne or Frisco. In Silverthorne, you get to Lily Pad Lake #50 trail from the trailhead off of Ryan Gulch Road. There is a small parking area, but it’s also for people hiking Buffalo Mountain. Go early to get a spot or take the Wilderness Loop bus.
Trail Stats: Hike is 3.3 miles on an out-and-back trail. In full sun initially then plenty of shade. It is a very popular hike. Since you’re close to water for much of the trail, make sure you have bug repellent.
This is a hike I’ve done multiple times and each time I’m reminded how wonderful it is. Since it’s only 3.3 miles round trip, it’s a hike that doesn’t take up the whole day. This time I did it in between rock climbing and paddle boarding. The hardest part of the hike is the 0.1-mile incline on the fire road. It looks a lot more intimidating from the bottom than it really is. When the trail flattens out as you enter Eagles Nest Wilderness and crosses a meadow you get a wonderful view of Dillion Reservoir and Blue River Valley.
When you enter the forest, you’re pretty much in the trees for the rest of the hike to Lily Pad Lake. You cross two boardwalks that are pretty close together not too far into the hike. There were tons of wildflowers when I did the hike. The tall pines are amazing.
When you get to the Salt Lick Trail junction, you’re almost to Lily Pad Lake, which you see first through the trees. The small lake is covered with lily pads.
There are actually two lakes. The other lake is larger and doesn’t have as many lily pads. It’s a great spot to enjoy a little time along the water’s edge. Have fun on this easy hike packed with beauty and fun!
Author Jennifer Broome has traveled and hiked extensively in Colorado. Check out the Explore Colorado section for more ideas like Cool Colorado Lakes and for easy and family friendly hikes, check out Waterton Canyon and Paradise Cove.