The Powderhorn Lakes are the centerpiece of the Powderhorn Wilderness Area, a 60,100-acre preserve that in 1993 became Colorado’s first BLM-managed wilderness. Like the rest of the San Juan Mountains, the geology of the Powderhorn Wilderness is volcanic, but here the topography is very different. Instead of the high, rugged peaks normally associated with the San Juans, the terrain in this area is comprised mostly of huge, flat mesas topped with treeless meadows that extend for miles across the alpine tundras. The mesas are the result of a vast amount of volcanic debris-up to 5,000 feet deep in some places-that was deposited in the area between 10 and 35 million years ago. The scenic Powderhorn Lakes are situated in a deep pocket 700 feet below the eastern side of one of the mesas.
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Directions to: Powderhorn Lakesprint directions
Trail Statistics & Information
|Elevation Gain||1,100 ft|
|Skill Level||Generally well maintained and easy to follow.|
|Season||Midsummer through mid-fall. The higher parts of the trail are generally covered with snow from mid-November until mid-July.|
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