Native Lake / Highline Trail


Native Lake Trailhead is about 3 miles up the Hagerman Pass Road (Forest Service Road 105), with parking on the south-side of the road. The trail immediately enters the Mount Massive Wilderness. Be sure to follow all posted Wilderness guidelines.

The trail takes you to Native Lake (4.2 miles) and to the Leadville National Fish Hatchery (9.4 miles). Although much of this trail is below tree line, there are segments above tree line with high exposure. Be aware of afternoon thunderstorms common in the area. Native Lake fishing is catch and release only. Continue south on the trail an additional 5 miles and you will arrive at the Leadville National Fish Hatchery.

Native Lakes is one of the recommended Day Hikes.

At a Glance

Closest Towns: Leadville, Colorado
Water: None
Restroom: None
Information Center: For more information on Mount Massive Wilderness and Leave No Trace Principles, go to:

General Information


From Leadville, follow signs to Turquoise Lake. Take the southern lake route (Lake County Road 4) to the junction of Forest Service Road 104. The trailhead is about 3 miles up the Hagerman Pass Road (Forest Service Road 105), with parking on the south side of the road.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information



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Mountain Climbing

General Info:


Mount Massive (14,421 feet), Colorado's second highest peak, and other mountains of the Sawatch Range have two distinctive characteristics: great height, and a huge, sloping bulk that makes them relatively easy to climb. Nowhere along the Continental Divide does the ground rise higher than the Sawatch Range, the crest of this continent. Just south of the Wilderness stands Mount Elbert at 14,443 feet, Colorado's highest summit. The divide marks the western boundary of this area, with the Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness immediately to the other side. Dry lodgepole pine forests, typical of the eastern slopes of the divide, cover much of the lower elevations and give way to spruce and fir higher up before all trees yield to alpine tundra.

The Leadville National Fish Hatchery, managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, comprises approximately 2,500 acres. The majority of the Fish Hatchery lies within the boundary of the Mount Massive Wilderness. The hatchery land inside the Wilderness boundary is co-managed by the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS). The U.S. Forest Service is the principal land manager, protecting the Wilderness resources. The USFWS manages the fishery and water resources to protect and perpetuate native fish species.

Permits & Regulations

Thousands of people enjoy climbing Colorado’s peaks. To protect natural resources and preserve the experience for others, please follow Leave No Trace hiking techniques:

Remember, you are within the Mount MassiveWilderness. As such, special regulations apply, including:

  • Campfires are prohibited within 100 feet of water and trails;
  • Group size is limited to 15 people per group with a maximum combination of 25, including pack and saddle animals, in any one group within wilderness;
  • Dogs must be under physical restraint of a leash at all times;
  • Bicycles are prohibited;
  • Organized groups are required to obtain approval from the Forest Service, Leadville District Office (719-486-0749);
  • Short-cutting switchbacks is prohibited.

Safety Information

Mountain weather is unpredictable and can change quickly. Be prepared with rain gear and extra layers of warm clothing. Thunderstorms occur frequently in the afternoons, so plan your trip accordingly. Also, keep in mind thunderstorms build rapidly, so keep an eye on the weather and get below timberline at the first sign of a thunderstorm.

Combat altitude sickness by acclimating gradually and staying hydrated. If symptoms (i.e. severe headache, dizziness, or nausea) occur, immediately descend to a lower elevation. At this altitude, sunlight is much more intense, and the air is much drier. Wear sunscreen and a hat, and drink plenty of fluids. Always carry a map and compass, and know how to use them.

Seasonal Information

Snow, rain and lightning storms are common. Daytime temperatures range from 40-70 degrees in the summer months. Be prepared for changing weather. Carry rain gear and extra layers of warm clothing.


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