This is one of the most popular hikes on the western side of the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness Area. For me, the thing that makes it so special is a magnificently situated waterfall that plunges 150 feet into the eastern side of Willow Lake. The best time to photograph this picture-perfect scene is in the late afternoon when the sun is low in the west. If you are fortunate enough to be there at that magical late afternoon moment when the lake is in shade but the fall is still in full sunlight, and when the water is calm, you will be treated to a prize-winning view of the fall’s reflection off the lake. It is rare, however, for the water to be calm at that time of day. Another reason people are drawn to Willow Lake is that it is a popular staging area for the assent of Kit Carson Peak (14,165 ft.) and Challenger Point (14,081 ft.). Both of these fourteeners, along with Columbia Point (13,980 ft.) are located on the ridge directly above the south side of the Willow Creek drainage.
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Directions to: Willow Lakeprint directions
Trail Statistics & Information
|Elevation Gain||2,700 ft|
|Skill Level||Well used, well maintained trail.|
|Season||Midsummer through mid-fall. There is generally snow at Willow Lake from mid-November through early July.|
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