Gilpin Lake Loop
Steamboat Springs, CO
Gilpin Lake Loop
This loop hike can be walked in either direction, but if it is being done as a day hike I recommend you walk around the loop in a clockwise direction. That way you will have a better chance to see Gilpin Lake before the usual afternoon clouds roll in; Gilpin Lake is located in an extraordinarily scenic area. In the first few miles the trail passes by several clearings in the forest where a surprisingly large number of tall trees have been uprooted and blown over. The fallen trees are the result of the Routt Divide Blowdown, a freak windstorm in 1997 that still has scientists scratching their heads in amazement. It happened in the early morning hours of October 25. A blizzard had been raging along the entire Front Range for the previous two days, and there was heavy snowfall from Wyoming to New Mexico. The mountain tops were experiencing temperatures well below zero with wind chill temperatures as low as -60 degrees F. Then between 4:00 and 10:00 a.m. a high-altitude wind stream with a velocity estimated to be in excess of 120 miles per hour dipped down to the western side of the Continental Divide and hit the ground with devastating force. Before the wind had abated some four million trees were down along a band 4 miles wide and 30 miles long. The Routt Divide Blowdown of 1997 was the largest recorded blowdown that has ever occurred in the Rocky Mountains.
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Directions to: Gilpin Lake Loopprint directions
Trail Statistics & Information
|Nearby City||Steamboat Springs|
|Elevation Gain||2,300 ft|
|Skill Level||Well marked and well maintained.|
|Season||Midsummer through mid-fall. The higher parts of the trail are usually covered with snow from mid-November through early July.|
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