Timberline Lake

First view of Timberline Lake in August.


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  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Type: Out and Back
  • Distance: 5.5 round-trip
  • Elevation Gain: ~900 feet

After just over an hour’s hike through a wonderfully dense forest, the trees open up and over the hill sits Timberline Lake, appearing as if the curtains had just been pulled.

Timberline Lake sits at the base of a rigid mountain bowl about 10 miles west of Leadville, Colo. and is perfect for both day hikers and overnight backpackers.

Timberline Lake Trail is well-marked and is mostly shaded by the dense forest. A small, cold creek flows alongside you as you wind up the mountain. The trail is single track and is mostly cleared of difficult rocks or roots. The most difficult spot will be the last half-mile as you gain most of your elevation here, but I’m telling you: The view is spectacular over the hill!

I was surprised at the absence of people, considering it is do-able for any type of wanderer; whether you’re a trail runner, an avid backpacker or a take-your-time walker.

Timberline Lake Trail is a perfect test run for beginner backpackers. The one burst of steep incline at the end of the trail gives you a taste of carrying your pack against gravity. Although you’re just 2.5 miles out of town, it feels like you’re way out in the sticks.

Finding a destination near water, such as Timberline Lake, is typically a gold star on every backpacker’s list in case of the need for more drinking water. However, keep in mind that your bodily fluids (or solids) should be rid of at least 200 feet away from any water source, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

The trail can easily be conquered in a half-day, but this area is an easy escape from the city for a weekend and a remote area to practice outdoor skills.

FollowMyBootPrints to Timberline Lake and experience the wonder of this hidden Colorado gem!

Know Before You Go:

  • No bathrooms at the top so brush up on your backcountry bathroom etiquette.
  • Dogs must be on-leash.
  • Plan for wet shoes as you continue the hike around the lake.
  • Fishing is allowed by catch and release.
  • Overnight visitors must have a permit for each person. Find it here.

Getting There:

From Leadville, head south on Harrison Avenue. Turn right onto West 6th Street. Turn right onto County Road 4 and follow signs to Turquoise Lake. Timberline Lake trailhead is at the western end of Turquoise Lake.


  1. Wow, what a blog, I love how you found something that you were passionate about, and are able to take us to these places. The imagery and set up of your blog really stands out as the back round color meshes well with the photos. I like how you take us with you on your adventures and encourage the audience to go and explore the nature and places of Colorado. This makes me want to go out and discover these places myself. Very well done.


    1. Hi Anthony! Thank you! I am really happy to give you the encouragement to explore what Colorado has to offer. I hope my stories help you if/when you decide to go, and I’d love to hear about your experience too! Thank you for the feedback!



  2. Leslie,

    It appears that you have previous experience with blog creation. The visual elements of you blog and the posts are beautiful! The images really add to everything you write, and you have included a ton of additional elements, such as tags, search bars, advertisements, and so on. I wouldn’t change anything about the visuals on your blog. It all works really nicely.

    You chose a popular blogging niche. Hiking, especially in Colorado, is something that people do internet searches on all the time. I personally look up new trails at least once a week, and the more detail about the trail (or personal accounts of what the trail is like) are incredibly helpful. You give stats, directions, a personal account, and give additional details about each hike. All these things make your blog sound professional and informative while also giving it a nice personal feel to it.

    I look forward to using your blog for future hiking information!



  3. Leslie I love your blog! Your layout and design is fun and creative. I can see that instead of choosing a typical white standard background, you chose a nice pastel color that isn’t distracting and paired it with a cool tone gray font that compliments it well. I noticed that you’ve reached journalistic standards and wrote it with credibility, verification, and relevancy. Your entire story was a nice and easy read, but more importantly, you opened it with an inviting spell by describing the landscape so descriptively, it was hard not to believe I have never been there. I love that you bullet pointed important information, that was something I don’t typically see so it added a nice touch. Regarding your AP style, you dated and landmarked everything correctly, and anything that needed emphasis or abbreviation you nailed it. Something I do want to mention is the fact that instead of adding just one photo, you added an entire series that the reader could flip through which made your claims that it was beautiful even stronger. You even had a header image that welcomed and introduced your story before you even started it which I believe impacted your execution. I also appreciate that on your right hand side you had a navigation toolbar which makes going through your blog feel like a breeze. At the moment I don’t see anything missing so good work!


    1. Hi Rhiannon, thank you so much for your detailed feedback! I have so so many photos to sift through that it’s impossible to pick just two or three, so why not 10?!


  4. Wow Leslie!! When we initially were talking about our blog ideas, I talked about the importance of style, design and the aesthetics of the website to me, and you have done the best job of that in my opinion. I love the logo you’ve made for your blog and the overall layout is nice as well. I also enjoyed that your posts are short and to the point. You don’t try to stretch them out, and I think that strengthens the writing.

    My only notes would be to either change the text color or possibly move the white text that appears at the top of your website. I LOVE that cover photo and your logo, and the text not only covers it up and distracts from it but it’s a little tricky to read as well. Maybe as a heading just below your cover photo or something?


    1. Hi Zach! Thank you so much for viewing my blog and leaving your feedback. I added a “tagline” (not sure what it even was) but thanks to your comment, I noticed it’s completely in the way! I’m happy the design is appealing, it took a few tries to decide on a theme but I think I’ve settled on this one. Still figuring out a few format styles and colors, so thank you for your input!


  5. The reason I chose this post is because I’m trying to get into backpacking this summer and your title really grabbed me and appealed to my interest with, “a wonderful first step to introduce yourself to backpacking.” I actually work at REI and it feels like everyone is an experienced backpacker but me, so I’m definitely putting Timberline Lake into my bucket list (in fact I already did!).
    As far as your blog goes the layout is super simple and easy to navigate and find the stories. I like that they are posted chronologically, but maybe newest should be at the top instead of oldest? Just a suggestion. The color scheme is awesome, feels very outdoorsy yet modern and relaxing. And I especially like the way the title scrolls over the opening image, very nice touch that adds an element of professionalism to the whole thing. Overall great post, all the information was super helpful and well said.


    1. Hi Aleah, thanks so much for viewing my blog! We definitely could learn a few things from each other – your stories fascinate me! Please reach out for any advice or questions and I’ll do my best to help as you begin your backpacking adventures! I hope I continue to help out with some destination ideas. You’re definitely not the only one that’s new to the backpacking life, although you could probably help me out with some ideas for different gear this summer!


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