Bear Lake Trail

  

Bear Lake is located north of Turquoise Lake, 1/2 mile within the Holy Cross Wilderness. The Trailhead is off of Forest Service Road 107, north of County Road 9. High clearance vehicles are needed to get to the Trailhead. You can also access Bear Lake from the western-most end of County Road 9 for a two mile, one-way hike through the Holy Cross Wilderness.

Bear Lake is one of Leadville Ranger District's Suggested Day Hikes.

At a Glance

Permit Info: Wilderness registration is required year-round:  One member of each party is required to register at the trailhead and carry a copy of the registration with them during their visit. There is no fee for the permit and there is no limit on permits per trailhead. Local wilderness users who have multiple visits each week can either register at the trailhead or pick up a monthly permit at the Leadville Forest Service Office. The permit requires information on the dates the trip starts and ends; the point of entry, destination and exit; the party leader’s name/organization and ZIP code, and the number of people, stock and dogs. There are also boxes to indicate use by outfitters, educational groups and clubs if appropriate. Registrants also are asked to list expected destinations/camp locations, and the number of nights they expect to spend at each site.
Usage: Medium-Heavy
Restrictions: Wilderness regulations apply
  • Camping and fires are prohibited within 100 feet of water and trails;
  • Groups are limited to 15 people per group with a maximum combination of 25, including pack and saddle animals;
  • Dogs are required to be on a leash;
  • Bicycles are prohibited;
  • Organized groups are required to obtain approval from the  Forest Service Office in advance; and
  • Shortcutting switchbacks are prohibited.
  • Thousands of people enjoy climbing Colorado’s peaks. To protect natural resources and preserve the experience for others, please visit http://www.lnt.org/programs/principles.php to become familiar with Leave No Trace techniques.
Closest Towns: Leadville, CO
Water: None
Restroom: None
Information Center: Leadville Ranger District

General Information

General Notes:

The wilderness takes its name from 14,003-foot Mount of the Holy Cross. The famous photographer William H. Jackson embellished the peak's reputation by doctoring his 19th-century photographs of the perpendicular snow-filled gullies, or couloirs, on the mountain's east face. Jackson's additional white touches enhanced the already strong resemblance of these couloirs to a cross.

Holy Cross represents the archetypical Colorado wilderness area - soaring ridges and peaks built of 1.7 billion-year-old schist and gneiss tower over immense, U-shaped glacial-carved valleys whose headwaters contain placid emerald lakes. The streams run full of fish, and the area's remote valleys offer refuge for deer, elk and a multitude of other solitude-loving creatures, such as black bear, bobcat and lynx. In fall, hikers sniff crisp air foretelling of winter and shuffle through leaves fallen from the ubiquitous aspen groves, blazing golden amidst dark forests of spruce and fir.


Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

Activities


Climbing

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Mountain Climbing

General Info:

Overview/Background

The wilderness takes its name from 14,003-foot Mount of the Holy Cross. The famous photographer William H. Jackson embellished the peak's reputation by doctoring his 19th-century photographs of the perpendicular snow-filled gullies, or couloirs, on the mountain's east face. Jackson's additional white touches enhanced the already strong resemblance of these couloirs to a cross and drew countless thousands of pilgrims in subsequent years. This fourteener is by no means the only high peak in the northernmost extension of the Sawatch Range; more than twenty-five peaks over 13,000 feet in elevation dot the wilderness.

Holy Cross represents the archetypical Colorado wilderness area - soaring ridges and peaks built of 1.7 billion-year-old schist and gneiss tower over immense, U-shaped glacial-carved valleys whose headwaters contain placid emerald lakes. The streams run full of fish, and the area's remote valleys offer refuge for deer, elk and a multitude of other solitude-loving creatures, such as black bear, bobcat and lynx. In fall, hikers sniff crisp air foretelling of winter and shuffle through leaves fallen from the ubiquitous aspen groves, blazing golden amidst dark forests of spruce and fir.


Permits & Regulations

A free, self-issued wilderness permit is required year-round. The back of your permit will list regulations pertaining to the wilderness, such as:

Camping and fires are prohibited within 100 feet of water and trails;

Groups are limited to 15 people per group with a maximum combination of 25, including pack and saddle animals;

Dogs are required to be on a leash;

Bicycles are prohibited;

Organized groups are required to obtain approval from the Forest Service Office in advance; and

Shortcutting switchbacks are prohibited.

Thousands of people enjoy climbing Colorado’s peaks. To protect natural resources and preserve the experience for others, please visit http://www.lnt.org/programs/principles.php to become familiar with Leave No Trace techniques.


Safety Information

Lightning storms build rapidly and occur almost daily throughout the summer. Turn around at the first sign of thunder and lightning.

At this altitude, sunlight is much more intense, and the air is much drier. Wear sunscreen and a hat, and drink plenty of fluids. Carry a topographical map and compass and know how to use them.

Combat altitude sickness by acclimating gradually and staying hydrated. If symptoms do occur (headache, dizziness, or nausea), immediately descend to a lower elevation.



Hiking

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Nature Viewing

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https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/psicc/specialplaces/recarea/?recid=12448&actid=38