The Rockies: Abyss Lake Trail, Colorado

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Abyss Lake Trail

Today I drove up toward Guanella Pass to join a Meetup Hiking Group at Abyss Lake Trail, also known as Scott Gomer Trail, to enjoy the Colorado fall colors which a peaking early this year due to the dry weather.  I was already up in the area, and the group was coming from Denver, so I planned on meeting them at the trailhead at 8:45.

I ended up being fifteen minutes late, so with two cars in the parking area, I thought I missed them a jumped on the trail quickly.  I started up the path on the brisk morning and met Karen, a lady from Boulder, who also planned on meeting the group from Denver.  It turns out, we must have been ahead of them, so we hiked together.

Karen was retired from Sun Micro Systems and a strong Democrat.  It was interesting to hear her political views.  In fact, just living in a swing state has been somewhat eye opening with the barrage of political ads…it’s insane.  I saw a state the other day that people over 40 or 50 in Colorado will vote Democrat and people under will vote Republican: opposite of norm.  Hmmm.  Well, my blog isn’t about politics…it’s about travel, and all my travel has been to the mountains before the cold comes…then I’ll go some place else!

The Abyss Lake Trail, Number 602 winds 8 miles through the Mount Evans Wilderness to the Abyss Lake, located high in the mountains between two fourteeners, Mt. Evans and Mt. Bierstadt.  The trail is rated difficult, begins at an elevation of 9,620 feet, and gains 3,030.  The group only planned a 7 mile hike, so I was curious to see where the turn around point was going to be.

Karen and I climbed path upward that followed along the Scott Gomer Creek and that got prettier and prettier as we passed through multiple groves of golden aspen trees.  The aspens lined both sides of trail that was also dotted with yellow leaves that had already fall to the ground.

We crossed the creek three times as Mt. Bierstadt, rock cliffs, and the multi-colored mountainside came into view.  Eventually we reached a large meadow skirted by beaver ponds on one side where we sat to enjoy a quick lunch.  This seemed to be the half-way point where the Abyss Lake Trail crossed the Rosalie Trail, number 603.

Instead of turning around or following the Abyss Lake Trail up multiple switchbacks, we followed the Rosalie Trail toward Guanella Pass until it took us into an expansive open space.  At this time, I turned around, as I had already hiked a few miles farther than I had planned and Karen continued on.  Another beautiful hike, another 4 miles longer and couple hours longer than planned! ETB


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Beth Bankhead

Former public finance professional turned award winning travel blogger and photographer sharing the earth's beauty one word and image at a time.

9 thoughts on “The Rockies: Abyss Lake Trail, Colorado

  1. That you for the pictures. My wife and I are taking the horses up the trail in the morning. I am even more excited about the ride.

    Donie, Tx.

    P.S. On our honeymoon riding our horses.

      1. Hello! Man, what a trail! We had a blast doing it but it wasn’t something we will repeat.

        We unloaded the horses at about 11 and set off. The first bit was pretty easy on our our geldings and we didn’t have many problems at all after the 2nd river crossing (Maurice’s gelding said NO). After that we got into that hard stretch of rock that climbed up and holy cow!! The horses were convinced we had lost our minds, and I’m not so sure we hadn’t. I patted Grey’s neck and told him to seek his inner moutain goat moe than once. Once we got up above that stretch it was pretty easy going other than trees over the actual trail that we had to find our ways around. Beautiful country and a quite enjoyable ride. We picnicked by the lake at about 11,800 ft according to the GPS before comig back down which was an ordeal in itself. All of us (ourselves, the horses and our dog) were absolutely exhausted by the time we got back to the trailer, but I have to admit that it was one of our trips highlights.

        On a side note, do you have any pictures of that hard rock stretch just after you cross the river the second time? We were so busy praising our horses for giving us all they had that we didn’t have a chance to take any and no one will ever understand or believe us when we tell them about it.

        Thanks! See ya down the trail,
        Meagan Rivard

      2. Thank you very much! Great pictures on there of some beautiful country. I think we plan to return next year, with the horses of course.

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