Best Lakes in Salida on Monarch Pass

Colorado is home to some of the most beautiful lakes in the country, and Salida is no exception. It is home to more than 100 lakes, with fishing, hiking, and stand-up paddleboarding as popular activities. There is no better place to experience the majestic views of some of Colorado’s highest peaks in Chaffee County, Colorado. Each destination offers beautiful views of nature and allows you to enjoy everything your vacation in Colorado has to offer. 

Best Lakes in Salida, Colorado

In Salida, Colorado, several lakes offer a variety of recreational activities, including hiking, fishing, and boating. Creekside Chalets is located on Monarch Pass which has some of our state’s most beautiful and pristine lakes. Here are some of the best lakes in Salida, Colorado:

Waterdog Lakes

Waterdogs Lakes Colorado

With the Waterdog Lakes hiking trail, you’ll enjoy a bit of a challenge but some great rewards in the way of scenery. It has an elevation gain of 1,180 feet with a top elevation of 11,394 feet above sea level. So if you’re not used to high elevations, you probably want to avoid this one. The trail is a moderately strenuous three miles roundtrip with some steep, rocky sections. However, you’ll also come across beautiful streams and forests along your journey before arriving at the picturesque lakes.

The lake is named for the Tiger Salamander also known as the“waterdog” native to the area. Recognized by their smooth skin, long tail, 4-toed feet, and speckled bodies, you may be lucky enough to spot one but please be sure to leave them in their natural habitat.

Colorado Waterdogs Tiger Salamander

From Creekside Chalets & Cabins: Head west of Highway 50. After you pass Monarch Mountain Lodge, continue on for 2.3 miles. (If you get to Monarch Mountain, you’ve gone too far.) You’ll see a dirt pullout on the left side of the highway. Park here and you’ll find the trailhead across the highway from the pullout.

Hunt Lake

Boss Lake Hiking Trail

As with most alpine lakes, Hunt Lake is beautiful and peaceful. You’ll be treated to some breathtaking valley views as you make your way up the trail, which makes it a great spot for an afternoon picnic. Along the way, you’ll pass by Boss Lake, which is yet another picture-perfect lake. This is a great choice especially if you’ve brought your dogs along as they’ll love swimming in those clear waters. Only catch and release fishing with flies and lures is allowed at Hunt Lake as they’re presently working to recover the endangered Greenback Cutthroat trout.

The hike is 4.6 miles out and back if you have a low clearance vehicle and you’re unable to drive up to the trailhead. There are some steep sections in the first mile or so, but it gets much easier after those. Otherwise, from the trailhead, it’s 2.4 miles with a modest elevation gain of about 500 feet.

To get there from Creekside Chalets and Cabins: Head west on Highway 50 for about 6 miles and then turn right on Forest Road 230. Continue on for 1.5 miles. You’ll see a snowmobile shop where you can park and hike to the trailhead if you don’t have a high clearance 4×4 vehicle. If your vehicle can easily make it over some rough and rocky sections of the road, you can drive right up to the trailhead.

Billings Lake

Billings Lake Colorado

If you are looking for something off the beaten path Billings Lake is the spot to indulge in your high-altitude adventures. Known for its rocky trails for ATVs, and Jeeps this high alpine lake is also loved by local anglers. Billings Lake is shallow and has a healthy population of small cutthroats. Casting is easy around most of the lake and remains a peaceful place for hiking as well. 

This route can be really rocky and bumpy, so those using stock vehicles should be cautioned. You’ll mostly move within trees until you reach the North Fork Reservoir, and the road’s final stretch is wide enough to fit a single car. Billings is a stunning mountain lake for fishing and camping, and you can still camp at different spots along the route, including near McCoy Creek.

Notably, unlicensed automobiles are only allowed beyond the forest boundary, and the trail closes during winter due to the snowy conditions.

Book With Us During Your Stay in Salida, CO

After a packed day of hiking, fishing, and stand-up paddleboarding enjoy our private cabins with all the comforts of home including private hot tubs in each chalet which is a great reward after your mountain adventures. Creekside Chalets is located in the heart of Chaffee County, just a short drive from Bunea Vista and Salida, Colorado. If you want more information on locations, driving directions, and other necessary information, please visit our site for information and to reserve accommodations during your visit.