The trailhead of one of the most popular hiking trails in the Winter Park area, the St. Louis Lake trail, has very restricted access. The trail is known as one of the most beautiful wildflower hikes you can find in our valley, and due to this celebrity, it draws thousands of hikers each summer (or it used to).
About four or five years ago, the Sulpher Ranger district of the Arapaho National Forest decided that because of the extremely heavy traffic on the trail, it would be best for the health of the trail and surrounding forest to keep the the gate closed except for on three days of the summer.
The gate blocks the 3.1-mile road leading up to the St. Louis Lake trailhead. You can still hike the trail anytime of the summer, but you will have to hike up and back on the stretch of road that leads to the trailhead. You can also ride your bike on the road, as long as you leave it once you reach the trailhead that crosses into the Byer’s Peak Wilderness area.
The total round-trip distance including the road is about 14 miles. Not including the road, the distance is less than 8 miles round trip.
Announcing the dates that the St. Louis Lake Trailhead gate will be open this summer:
More Winter Park hiking trails and tips to come throughout the summer. Stay tuned!
Chris June 8th, 2010