DIRECTIONS: From Hwy 24, just north of Leadville, head west on Route 99 following signs to Turquoise Lake. After the road curves to the South, turn right (west) at the Leadville Junction TH and cross the trail tracks onto Turquoise Lake Road. When you enter the Turquoise Lake Recreation Area, turn right and follow Turquoise Lake Road along the north shore of the lake. Three miles after the turn, turn right on Road 107 towards Uncle Buds Hut. The dirt road is about 2 miles. The road is not terrible but there are some rocky, narrow, steep areas. An AWD or 4WD vehicle is highly recommended. At the 2 mile mark, there is a parking area, the road continues but gets a bit worse, you may want to park and walk the 1,000 ft to the trailhead.
Sitting at the base of 12,800+ ft Galena Peak is St. Kevin's Lake, a small but beautiful alpine lake. Getting to St. Kevin's Lake is easy enough, as long as you can drive up the access road. The hike itself is about 3 miles roundtrip, with only 687 ft of elevation gain. The hike is short but extremely sweet. While the lake itself is an idyllic destination, the hike to get there provides shady forests, fields of wildflowers, and grand views.
The trail leaves the small parking area, crosses a creek and skirts a meadow before entering the forest. After a quarter of a mile of hiking through the forest, turn right onto the Colorado/Continental Divide Trails. After about 200 ft, look to the left for an unmarked side trail with some cairns to mark the spot. Turn left onto the St. Kevin's Lake Trail. From here, it's a straight one mile hike to the lake.
The trail gains elevation quickly, crosses meadows, and weaves through rock gardens until it reaches the base of the cirque surrounding Galena Mountain. The views of the Holy Cross and Mt. Massive Wilderness's high peaks to the southwest are incredible as you near the cirque. When you enter the cirque, the trail drops down to the lake shore. At the lake, there are terrific areas to explore, great camping spots, and some perfect spots for relaxation. Surrounding the lake are the rocky ridges leading up to Galena Mountain forming a stunning rock wall.
The hike down is just as spectacular as the hike up so enjoy the views, the cool forest, the wildflowers and the creeks. This hike is another hidden gem in the eastern edge of the Holy Cross Wilderness.
HIKES BY REGION
NATIONAL PARK HIKES
- BENT'S OLD FORT NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
- BLACK CANYON OF THE GUNNISON NATIONAL PARK
- COLORADO NATIONAL MONUMENT
- CURECANTI NATIONAL RECREATION AREA
- DINOSAUR NATIONAL MONUMENT
- FLORISSANT FOSSIL BEDS NATIONAL MONUMENT
- MESA VERDE NATIONAL PARK
- ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK
- GREAT SAND DUNES NATIONAL PARK
- HOVENWEEP NATIONAL MONUMENT
- SAND CREEK MASSACRE NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
- YUCCA HOUSE NATIONAL MONUMENT
- HIKES BY CATEGORY
- $UPPORT GHC
- INTERACTIVE MAP
Saint Kevin's Lake
Holy Cross Wilderness, San Isabel National Forest
Date Hiked: July 15, 2021
Distance: 3 mi (RT);
Elevation Gain: 687 ft
Elevation Min/Max: 11,250 to 11,894 ft
Trailhead Lat/Long: 39.29946, -106.40583
Managing Agency: U.S. Forest Service