Colorado, Cataract Lake Trail

State: Colorado
Location: Gunnison National Forest
Length, One-Way: 3.5 miles
Trail Type: Out and Back
Minimum Elevation: 9600 feet
Maximum Elevation: 12100 feet
Elevation Change: 2450 feet
Best Season: Summer, Fall
Usage: Lighth

Animas Forks Ghost Town

Trail Information

The Cataract Lake Trail (# 475) is a direct path to Cataract Lake. The trail begins at the Cataract Gulch Trailhead, which is about 0.5 miles west of the Sherman townsite on County Road 18X. You should expect to wade through Cottonwood Creek to begin this hike. After this creek crossing, the trail climbs into Cataract Gulch. The trails switchbacks climb the gulch quickly. After hiking for about one mile, hikers will now be following the comparatively gentle grade following Cataract Creek.

The Cataract Lake Trail follows and crosses Cataract Creek for the next two miles. During this portion of the hike, the trail ascends moderately to 12,000 feet. The trail enters Cataract Basin, an area of high alpine tundra below the Continental Divide. There are three lakes in this basin with the largest sitting under the highest point on the ridge.

The Cataract Lake Trail is popular with motorcyclist and horseback riders. This area also provides good opportunities for dispersed camping.
From Lake City:
Drive 2 miles south on Highway 149 and turn right on the Cinnamon Pass Road (County Road 30) toward Lake San Cristobal. Continue following Cinnamon Pass Road to the Sherman townsite fork. Take the left fork (County Road 18X) to Sherman. The marked trailhead is approximately 0.5 miles after the bridge.

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