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Abyss Lake Trail

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Basics
Location:
Southwest of Denver
Setting:
Mountainous
Length:
17.6 mile roundtrip
Difficulty:
Difficult
Time:
1 to 2 days
Trailhead Elevation:
9600 feet
Elevation Change:
-3000 feet
Season:
Summer - Early Fall

Description

The Abyss Lake Trail is a popular hiking trail, which terminates at Abyss Lake. The lake is nestled in a high glacial cirque between Mt. Bierstadt and Mt. Evans. The rocky slopes surrounding the lake are home to bighorn sheep and mountain goats.

The elevation gain, together with the round trip distance of 18 miles makes this a strenuous day hike. The lower portion of the trail is sometimes incorrectly referred to as the "Scott Gomer Trail" because of its location along Scott Gomer Creek. This trail, in combination with the Threemile and Rosalie Trails, offers some interesting extended hikes through other portions of the Mt. Evans Wilderness. You should be alert to the possible development of summer afternoon storms with their accompanying lightning, particularly above treeline. Because the trail is almost entirely in designated wilderness, Wilderness regulations apply.

The first half of the trail heads in a northeasterly direction up the Scott Gomer Creek drainage. Shortly after the first crossing of the Scott Gomer Creek, Mt. Bierstadt will come into view ahead and on your left. After the third crossing of Scott Gomer Creek you will reach a trail junction with the Rosalie Trail. Here the Abyss Lake Trail joins the Rosalie Trail and turns to the northwest. For the next short distance you will be on both the Abyss Lake and Rosalie Trails. Note that from here on this portion of the trail is not located as it appears on the "Photo-revised 1974" copy of the Mt. Evans quad map. At the next junction, the Rosalie Trail continues up to Guanella Pass, and the Abyss Lake Trail bears right across several small streams, then begins a series of fairly steep switchbacks, bearing again in a northeasterly direction. The trail leaves the trees and enters thick willows just to the southwest of the small lake labeled as "11730" on the quad map.

After leaving the lake, you will continue up the valley through the willows until you cross the Lake Fork stream draining out of Abyss Lake. From this point the trail begins to head in a more westerly direction across the tundra. The remnants of an airplane crash were visible for many years along this portion of the trail, until they were hauled out by packstring in late 1996. The trail terminates at Abyss Lake.

Location:
Southwest of Denver
Setting:
Mountainous
Length:
17.6 mile roundtrip
Difficulty:
Difficult
Time:
1 to 2 days
Trailhead Elevation:
9600
Elevation Change:
-3000
Season:
Summer - Early Fall
Useful Map(s):
USGS Quads: Mt. Evans
Basic Directions
Drive southwest from Denver on US 285 approximately 40 miles to Grant. Turn right (north) onto Park County 62 (towards Guanella Pass), and drive 5.5 miles to the trailhead. The trailhead is on the east (right) side of the road and is located just south of Burning Bear Campground. There is a large parking area at the trailhead.

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