Lily Lake - Snowshoeing
April 14, 2019 · San Isabel National Forest
The trail to Lily Lake is an offshoot of the Colorado Trail / Continental Divide Trail along Tennessee Pass in the San Isabel National Forest. It is not a difficult trail in snowshoes with a total out-and-back elevation gain of a little over 900 feet. Though for the first half of the way in it felt more like going downhill - which meant uphill for the last half on the way out.
Every now and then the Mount Massive Range would come into view, the views of the Mount Massive range are breathtaking. There is so much snow on the range and when the sky was a clear blue the snow looked like salt.
The weather was a little bit of almost everything. The day started out with clear blue skies and very few high clouds in the morning, then shifting to overcast and windy to blowing show, to no wind and light snow with big fluffy snowflakes. The trail comes in at about 8.2 miles roundtrip.
What was surprising about this trail is that I only encountered one person on the way in to Lily Lake, and he had four dogs with them. Once at the lake it was a bit overcast and I could hear a few snowmobiles in the distance once in a while. I did see one riding across the frozen lake as I was finishing lunch. Lily Lake is a fairly large lake, even though it looks fairly small on the map. The trail continues onto the 10th Mountain Division Hut and Slide Lake. On the map, Slide Lake looks like a very good choice for a summer hike.
For the longest time on the way in and for most of the way out, the forest seemed very noisy for being covered in snow. It sounded like birds chirping throughout the hike. I did see a lot of squirrels, though they were fairly quiet.
When the wind did kick up, large cakes of snow would fall down from the high branches in the trees and land with a loud thud on the snow-covered forest floor. Just as I was about to step off of the trail did I figure out what the chirping was. It was not birds, one of my snow shoe bindings had broken off and my foot was moving around on the base of the snowshoe. I had a good laugh over that, but I prefer to think it was actually birds chirping along the hike and not a broken squeaky snowshoe.
There is a lot of snow, and it had snowed the night before so there was about 3-6 inches of fluffy powder on the trail. But just below the new powder the snowpack is very hard. Because this is part of the Colorado Trail, there was something that looked like the Colorado Trial maintenance crew had setup on the trail - a swing at a junction in the trail.
Seems like it would be a nice place to take a short break, but it was covered in show, and it seems nobody who had been on the trail wanted to disturb the snow on the swing. Just beyond the swings are two huts, and I came across a family on their way up to one of the two huts - which are really big cabins that are for rent from huts.org.
It was a beautiful day on the trail, with all of the different weather and having the trail to myself. It was very peaceful. It is getting warmer, there are some signs of the snow melting and some of the trees are starting to posthole in the snow. It’s hard to say how much more snowshoeing there is before the summer hiking season starts up, but days like this are fantastic.