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Boulder Lake via Fossil Ridge Trail

Crested Butte



One of the most accessible hikes in the beautiful Fossil Ridge Wilderness.

Hiking Difficult

11 km
636 m
636 m
3-4 hrs
Low Point
3.1 km
High Point
3.5 km
Boulder Lake via Fossil Ridge Trail Map

If you are looking for a hike that will challenge your stamina and reward you with stunning views, the Boulder Lake via Fossil Ridge hike is a great option. This 7.1-mile out-and-back trail near Gunnison, Colorado, takes you through a diverse landscape of forests, meadows, and rocky slopes to a serene lake nestled in the Fossil Ridge Wilderness.


The trail starts at the Fossil Ridge Trailhead and follows the Fossil Ridge Trail northwest. You will soon encounter an intersection, where you will keep left and continue climbing steadily through a dense forest of lodgepole pines. The trail is rocky and steep in places, so be prepared for some strenuous sections.

After about 3 miles, you will reach a junction with the Boulder Lake Trail, which branches off to the right. Follow this trail as it ascends more steeply through open meadows filled with wildflowers in the summer. You will also enjoy some spectacular views of the surrounding peaks and valleys as you hike.

The final stretch of the trail is the most challenging, as it traverses a rocky ridge with some exposure and loose gravel. Be careful and watch your footing as you make your way to the lake. You will be rewarded with a stunning sight of Boulder Lake, a clear and cold alpine lake surrounded by rugged mountains. You can relax by the shore, have a picnic, fish, or explore the area before retracing your steps back to the trailhead.

Source: Boulder Lake via Fossil Ridge Hike, CO | 10Adventures. https://www.10adventures.com/hikes/sawatch-mountain-range/boulder-lake-via-fossil-ridge-hike/.



Hiking trails where obstacles such as rocks or roots are prevalent. Some obstacles can require care to step over or around. At times, the trail can be worn and eroded. The grade of the trail is generally quite steep, and can often lead to strenuous hiking.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.


3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

between June and October


  • Water features

Guidebooks in this area