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.