Celebrate Fall in Pagosa Springs

The hike to Opal Lake is a great family-friendly hike and a Pagosa Springs "must-do" in the fall.


To Get There: Take Highway 84 south from downtown Pagosa Springs for 8 miles. Turn left on Blanco Basin Road (CR326/FS 657) and continue for 10 miles. Turn right on Castle Creek Road and drive a short distance to the trailhead. The elevation is 8,400 feet above sea level.

The Hike: The trail to Opal Lake is 1.2 miles, one way, making it just over 2 miles round-trip. The trail enters the South San Juan Wilderness, Colorado's least visited wilderness area at about 1 mile in. A portion of the trail has quick elevation gain before it traverses an open meadow to the lake, passing through old-growth aspen groves. Wooded hillsides and a sheer mountain face border the lake.

Locals Tip: Follow the small trail that starts near the inlet stream. Hike up the hill. It will take you to a natural spring that feeds the lake.

Opal Lake gets its name because of the mineral deposits at the inlet that give the water its milky color.

In addition to the Opal Lake hike, Pagosa Springs is surrounded by 650 miles of hiking, biking, ATV, and horseback riding trails. There is a myriad of ways to get into the backcountry to see gorgeous fall colors up-close!
 
For more opportunities to enjoy the scenery, there are several fantastic scenic drives around Pagosa Springs that highlight area history as well! Take Park Creek Road up to the historic abandoned town of Summitville or head out McManus Road past historic Deb's School House.
 
Inside the Pagosa Springs Visitor Center
 
There's so much to see and do in the fall! If you need any tips, free maps, or "locals" advice, stop in at the Visitor Center across the Hot Springs Blvd bridge in downtown Pagosa Springs. Staff and volunteers are on-hand 7-days a week, Monday-Friday, 9am to 5pm and Saturday-Sunday, 9am to 4pm.
 
If you're ready to take the plunge, hit the button below and use our handy Itinerary Builder to plan out the perfect Pagosa Springs vacation.
 
Safe travels, and we'll see you soon!
 

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