Blue skies this morning....but a chance of storms later in the day. Jumped in the Jeep and headed towards Gunnison on part of the Silver Thread Scenic Byway to catch a dirt road up to the trailhead for Powderhorn Lakes. The lakes are in the Powderhorn Wilderness area. The docent at the visitor center in Lake City said it would take about 1 1/2 to get to the trail head. He was dead on. The 10 mile dirt road wasn’t the passenger friendly road outlined in the guide book, though. I was glad I had a 4WD high clearance.
This was a much easier hike than the last few we have taken. While there was some elevation gain, there was also elevation loss but over all nothing as strenuous as our Cataract Lake hike. The guide books said the trail would be about 4 1/2 miles to the upper Powderhorn Lake. It was actually five miles to the lake according to the GPS, making this a ten mile day, although fairly easy.
Marshy area on the way to Powder Horn Lake
Lower Powderhorn Lake
On the way from Lower Powderhorn Lake to Upper Powder Horn Lake
The upper lake was a typical large alpine lake nestled in a bowl circled by huge granite walls on three sides and trees on one side. The granite cliffs are the drop offs for the largest alpine mesa in the lower 48 states. There are no trees for miles. We did not get up on mesa but did skirt. We saw several hunting parties, but they they told us they had been unsuccessful at bagging any elk. There was evidence of hail still frozen on the ground and the temperature was cool. We managed to escape rain until about the last 3/4 mile of trail then it rained and hailed. Once we got to the car the hail and rain continued all the way back to our camp. The road became pretty muddy and seemed much rockier going down than when we drove up.