Silverthorne is a hiker’s dream! Whether you’re looking for a friendly stroll or a heart-thumping summit, we’ve got it all. You can check out some of our favorite hikes below or visit the Dillon Ranger District website for a complete list of area hikes.
*Silverthorne trailheads can be very busy during the summer months, especially during peak times including weekends and holidays. Try arriving at trailheads early in the morning or later in the day; or take the free Summit Stage to the trailhead if possible. If the trailhead parking lot is full, please do not park on town streets. Parking on town streets is prohibited, vehicles will be ticketed and towed. *
|Best Family Hikes||Best All Day Hikes||Best Fall Hikes||Best Wildflower Hikes||Three Less Traveled Hikes|
|Blue River Trail||Buffalo Mountain||Eaglesmere||Lower Cataract Lake||Elliott Ridge|
|Lily Pad Lake||Salmon and Willow Lakes||Ptarmigan Trail||Acorn Creek/Ute Peak||Acorn Creek/Ute Peak|
|Lower Cataract Lake||Ptarmigan Peak||Angler Mountain||Ptarmigan Peak
Silverthorne Area Trails
The Blue River Trail, open to bikers and walkers, is Silverthorne’s link to the county-wide paved trail system that connects Silverthorne to Dillon, Keystone, Frisco, Breckenridge, Copper Mountain, Vail Pass, Vail and Glenwood Springs. In Silverthorne, the Blue River Trail runs 3.5 mi from the Silverthorne Elementary School and North Pond Park through downtown and climbs about 250 ft. to the Dillon Dam, where the trail connects with the Summit County Recpath with trails to Dillon, Keystone and Frisco.
Maryland Creek Park Social Trail is a social loop trail at the new Maryland Creek Park in Silverthorne. This trail offers beautiful views of the Gore Range mountains and easy access for walkers, bikers and strollers. In the winter, the trail can be used for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
Nordic Ski Trails at the Raven Golf Course. These groomed and maintained trails are open to cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. For more information including trailhead location and parking click here.
USFS and Dillon Ranger District Trails
Cataract Lake Loop (easy) is a family-friendly 2 mile loop trail highlighted with a spectacular waterfall above the southwest end of the lake. The hillsides around the lake offer some of the best wildflower viewing in Colorado, particularly between May and mid-July. The lake is also popular for fishing and picnicking.
Lily Pad Lake (easy) is a 1.4 mile (one-way) mostly flat, family friendly trail to a beautiful lake tucked amidst the evergreen forest only minutes from downtown. Kids will adore the beaver ponds while parents will soak up the majestic views of Buffalo Peak from the lake’s shoreline.
Oro Grande Trail (easy) is a scenic trail that delivers jaw-dropping views of Lake Dillon and surrounding peaks. One of the rare “flat” trails in Summit County, it’s also a favorite among dog owners and families.
Boulder Lake - Lower (easy to moderate) offers marvelous views of the Gore Range and often offers glimpses of water fowl, osprey and moose along this 2.7 mile (one-way) trail. The total elevation gain on this trail is only about +830 ft. as you must re-climb a ridge along the Gore Range Trail between the Rock Creek Trailhead and Boulder Lake on your return trip.
Mahan Lake Trail System (easy to moderate) is a 2 mile round trip hike that provides excellent views of Elliot's Ridge and the Gore Range. Mahan Lake is a 12-acre alpine lake with good fishing.
Mesa Cortina to South Willow Falls and Trail System (easy to moderate) offer a variety of trails with close proximity to town. The trail to South Willow Falls is 4.2 miles one-way, with great views of the Dillon Reservoir and the entire Blue River Valley.
Salt Lick Area Trail System (easy to moderate) is a popular group of trails with a variety of routes passing through lodgepole pine and aspen stands. Lily Pad Lake can be accessed from the Salt Lick Trailhead.
Willow Creek Trail System and Willow Falls (easy to moderate) is a perennial favorite, with easy access to the Eagle's Nest Wilderness and close proximity to town. The trek to the falls is 5 miles round trip, and hikers also have the option of connecting with additional trails like the Mesa Cortina or the Gore Range Trail to Red Buffalo Pass.
Acorn Creek Trail (moderate) is a 3.7 mile (one-way) trail that offers outstanding views of the Gore Range. The lower 2 miles are easy to moderate and provide excellent snowshoe or cross-country ski opportunities in the winter. At the end of the Acorn Creek trail, users can access the Ute Peak Trail (#24), a 1.2 mile long trail that is faint and difficult, to summit Ute Peak.
Angler Mountain (moderate) gains 1,200 feet in 2.5 miles as you pass through multiple ecosystems on this popular mountain trail. After several creek crossings, the trail climbs through aspen groves and wildflower meadows with stunning views of the Gore Range.
Eaglesmere Lakes (moderate) winds through aspens and wildflower meadows with some marvelous views of the valley to the south for 3.45 miles (one-way). Tipperary Lake is seen across the valley. At 2.8 miles in a deep forest, the Eaglesmere Trail meets the Gore Range Trail. This hike is especially beautiful in the fall.
Elliott Ridge Trail (moderate) starts at 11,153 ft. and gradually rises above the tree line to 11,935 ft. over 5 miles (one-way). This trail offers great views of the Gore Range and surrounding peaks and valleys. At the end, the trail intersects with the Mirror Lake/Upper Cataract Trail (#63). Wildflowers usually peak on the ridge in mid-July.
Rock Creek Trail (moderate) is a popular destination for both winter and summer users. From the summer trailhead it is about 1.3 miles to an old mine in a meadow to the left of the trail. The trail then steepens and ends at the abandoned Boss Mine at 10,242 ft. At the Boss Mine stopping point there are excellent views of the upper valley and the Gore Range. In the winter, most cross country skiing and snowshoeing groups turnaround at the first mine. From the winter trailhead, it is 4.8 miles to the Boss Mine.
Tipperary Lake (moderate) is a beautiful 4.5 mile (one-way) trail perfect for wildflower viewing. Starting at the Eaglesmere Lakes Trail, the trail maintains a steady climb through aspen and pine forests offering spectacular views of Lower Cataract Lake. At the Gore Range Trail intersection, turn left (south) for 1.5 miles to the Tipperary Lake Trail. After turning left on the Tipperary Lake trail, it is 0.1 miles to the lake.
Gore Range Trail (easy to more difficult) connects most of the trails in the Eagles Nest Wilderness between Route 9, north of Silverthorne and I-70 west of Silverthorne. The northern terminus of the 54.5 mile (one-way) trail is in the Spring Creek area north of Green Mountain Reservoir. The trail then climbs over Uneva and Eccles Passes, ending to the south at the Copper Mountain exit off I-70. Elevations attained on the trail range from 9,795 to 11,960 ft. Additional information on this iconic trail can be found here.
Surprise Lake (moderate to more difficult) is a 6 mile round trip hike that climbs almost 1,500 ft. and takes approximately three to four hours. In the lower meadows, hikers can expect to find diverse wildflowers. As many as 100 species of wildflowers have been found among the aspen trees near the valley, making this one of the best hikes in Colorado for wildflower enthusiasts.
Willow/Salmon Lakes (moderate to more difficult) can be accessed from the Rock Creek summer trailhead, which allows overnight parking, facilitating camping at the lakes. Salmon Lake is 6.9 miles from the Rock Creek trailhead and 4.4 miles from the Willowbrook trailhead. Upper Willow Lake is 1.2 miles past Salmon Lake. No overnight parking is allowed at the Willowbrook trailhead.
Boulder Lake - Upper (difficult) begins on the north side of Boulder lake. A faint, unmaintained trail continues 2.9 miles (one-way ) to Upper Boulder Lake, which is difficult to follow.
Buffalo Mountain (difficult) tops out at nearly 13,000 ft., and is Silverthorne’s most iconic climb. At 2.8 miles one way and 2,996 ft. elevation gain, locals know it as a moderate hike with massive views of the county from the top. While this is a popular hike for people who live in Summit County, you might be sharing the view with another unexpected local - the mountain goat.
Cataract Lake - Upper (difficult) is a 6.1 mile (one-way) trail that climbs through aspen groves into fir and spruce forest, and intersects with the Gore Range Trail (#60) after about 3 miles. The lake is spectacularly nestled against the rocky cliffs of the Eagles Nest ridge which soars above at over 13,000 ft. A hike of another half mile with a descent on the Mirror Lake Trail takes you to Mirror Lake at 10,559 ft. Both Upper Cataract Lake and Mirror Lake have good fishing.
Ptarmigan Peak (difficult) is a 12-mile round trip hike that gains more than 3,400 vertical feet as it climbs to the summit of 12,498-foot Ptarmigan Peak. The peak’s broad, flat summit rewards hikers with panoramic views across the Williams Fork, Gore, and Ten Mile ranges.