3170 East Main Street
Cañon City, CO 81212
- 5.5 miles
- 5 - 6 hours
- Trailhead Elevation:
- 8200 feet
- Elevation Range:
- 8200 feet to 11500 feet
- Elevation Change:
- 3300 feet
- Summer to Fall
The first two lakes are just below timberline, with a small pond and a waterfall between them. The upper-most lake is above timberline in a narrow steep sided valley near the top of the Sangre De Cristo range.
Both the Rainbow trail and the Bushnell trails are in good shape, but the Bushnell trail is steep.
This trail is difficult and steep; it can be done as a day-hike, but is recommended for an over-night trip. Elevation at the trailhead is 8,200’ and the lowest lake elevation is 11,500’.
The length (one way) to lower Bushnell Lake, from trailhead at the road (on the Rainbow Trail), is 5.5 miles.
Fishing success is fair at these lakes.
Map + Directions
Drive east 20 miles from Salida on U.S. Highway 50 and turn off just west of Coaldale, (turn at the sign for Hayden Creek Campground). Parking is available just below the campground please do not park in the campground area during the heavy use of the summer months. The Rainbow Trail access is on the north side of the road, before reaching the campground area. There is also an access point at the campground. The Bushnell trail junction is approximately 2.5 miles from this road junction and is not marked with a sign on the Rainbow Trail (but is an obvious trail to the southwest) you will see a Wilderness Boundary sign and a register about 25’ from the Rainbow. The Bushnell Lakes trail climbs steeply for the first 2 miles and levels out for about 1 mile just below the first (lowest) lake. This trail is moderate - difficult for hiking.