Eaglesmere Lake, Eaglesmere Trailhead, Summit County - Eagle County - Clear Creek County, Colorado

Eaglesmere Lake - 7.2 miles

Eaglesmere Trailhead

The first of two Eaglesmere Lakes

The first of two Eaglesmere Lakes

Round-Trip Length: 7.2 miles
Start-End Elevation: 8,737' - 10,397' (10,460' max elevation)
Elevation Change: +1,660' net elevation gain (+1,885' total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Moderate
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: Yes
Related Trails:

Eaglesmere Lake - 7.2 Miles Round-Trip

The Eaglesmere Trailhead is located 25.2 miles north of Silverthorne, .3 miles north of the Cataract Lake Campground and Surprise Trailhead. Eaglesmere Lake is comprised of two small lakes separated by an isthmus, both ringed by thick timber and open marsh.

Trail Map | Photo Gallery

While the lake is rather nondescript, the Eaglesmere Trail is compelling for views over Lower Cataract Lake, Cataract Falls, surrounding peaks and abundant aspen. Summer flowers and fall colors are exceptional, even by Summit County standards.

Moderate grades clear of deadfall are ideal for backpackers, families, runners and winter recreation:

The narrow-cut trail begins in a thick aspen forest and verdant, overgrown understory. Columbine are particularly abundant on the first half mile. The trail climbs steadily to a broad, open hillside with terrific views over Lower Cataract Lake and Cataract Falls (.75 miles : 9,157’).

Grades moderate across intervals of grassy slopes and aspen groves to the Eagles Nest Wilderness Boundary (2.1 miles : 9,945’). Look for wildlife, especially bears, in this fecund habitat.

Eagles Nest ridge (13,091’) stands prominently to the south, while the Williams Fork Range frames the eastern horizon. Tipperary Lake can be seen across the valley at about 2.7 miles.

Tall conifers with an old growth feel gradually displace aspen as you approach the Gore Trail split (3.0 miles : 10,262’). Despite beetle kill damage, the trail itself is well maintained and obstacle free.

The trail crests at 3.25 miles (10,454’) and dips to the spur for Eaglesmere Lake (3.5 miles : 10,388’). The spur leads to the NE corner of the first and smaller Eaglesmere Lake (3.55 miles : 10,397’).

Follow social trails left to the isthmus separating the two lakes (3.6 miles), which provides simultaneous views and access. This level space has established campsites, and is an ideal spot to picnic. Exploration of the lake vicinity is otherwise limited by thick timber and boulders.

Social trails continue around the left (SE) side of the second lake to a large, open marsh on the inlet. Several established campsites can be found along these trails.

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N39 50.373 W106 18.828 — 0.0 miles : Eaglesmere Trailhead
  • N39 50.385 W106 19.328 — .5 miles : Steady climb in thick aspen forest
  • N39 50.229 W106 19.837 — 1.0 miles : Intervals of open hillsides and aspen groves
  • N39 50.140 W106 20.339 — 1.5 miles : Conifers join predominate aspen
  • N39 49.693 W106 20.379 — 2.1 miles : Eagles Nest Wilderness Boundary
  • N39 49.359 W106 20.626 — 2.5 miles : Trail passes through open slopes and tall aspen stands
  • N39 49.065 W106 20.890 — 3.0 miles : Gore Trail split
  • N39 49.004 W106 21.370 — 3.5 miles : Spur trail to Eaglesmere Lake
  • N39 48.972 W106 21.441 — 3.55 miles : Eaglesmere Lake #1
  • N39 48.912 W106 21.496 — 3.6 miles : Eaglesmere Lake #2

Worth Noting

  • Mosquitoes can be a nuissance on this trail. Repellants and longs sleeves are highly recommended.
  • The Eaglesmere Trail features exceptional fall colors, and compares favorably in this regard to other vicinity trails (Surprise Lake, Tipperary Lake, etc).
  • Falling trees can be a hazard in this area, especially with high winds. Camp safely away from standing dead trees whenever possible.
  • The Eaglesmere Trail passes through bear habitat. Secure food and scented items at all times.

Camping and Backpacking Information

  • Dispersed backcountry camping is permitted in the Eagles Nest Wilderness Area, including Eaglesmere Lake. No permit is necessary. Group size is limited to 15 individuals.

  • Due to heavy use and deadfall, campfires are strictly prohibited at Eaglesmere Lake.

  • Campfires are otherwise permitted for dispersed camping in the backcountry, with potential seasonal restrictions. Campfires are not permitted above or within .25 miles (440 yards) of treeline, or within 100' of any lake or stream in the Eagles Nest Wilderness Area.

  • Camping is permitted only within designated campsites at the Cataract Lake Campground. Dispersed-Backcountry camping is not permitted in the Lower Cataract Lake vicinity.

  • Contact the Dillon Ranger District (970.468.5400) for the latest on weather, trail conditions and trail-specific usage guidelines when planning your trip. The office is open M - F from 8am - 4pm.

Fishing Information

  • Fishing is permitted with a valid Colorado fishing license on all lakes and streams within the Eagles Nest Wilderness Area unless otherwise posted.

Rules and Regulations

  • Dogs are permitted on the Eaglesmere Trail, and within the Eagles Nest Wilderness Area. Dogs must be leashed at all times, on a leash no longer than 6'.
  • Horses are permitted on trails leading to Mirror Lake. Hay and straw are prohibited. Pelletized feed and rolled grains only.
  • Bikes and motorized vehicles are not permitted on this trail. There's a $525 minimum fine for bike violations.

Directions to Trailhead

The Eaglesmere Trailhead is located 25.2 miles from Silverthorne, CO within the Dillon Ranger District of the White River National Forest.

From I-70, exit #205 at Silverthorne and head north on HWY 9 for 17.0 miles to Heeney Road (Road 30). Turn west on Heeney Road and travel 5.6 miles to Cataract Road and turn left. Cataract Road is an improved dirt road suitable for most 2WD cars in good condition.

Continue 2.3 miles on Cataract Road to the Eaglesmere Trailhead sign and bear right. The trailhead is located .3 miles from the split, on the far side of the cul de sac.

Contact Information

Dillon Ranger District
680 Blue River Parkway
Silverthorne, CO 80498
M - F from 8am - 4pm

White River National Forest
900 Grand Ave.
P.O. Box 948
Glenwood Springs CO 81602

Trip Reports

There are no trip reports on this trail.


"From the pace of changing scenery along the way, to the sudden arrival at the twin lakes, this trail and destination is remarkable. Feels like a field and stream magazine cover. I really enjoyed this hike from beginning to end. "
Flatlander  -  Lincoln, NE  -  Date Posted: November 7, 2014


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