Saturday, October 2, 2010

Trail Running St. Louis Lake: Peaceful Mountain Running in the Proposed Williams Fork Wilderness

Trail Running St. Louis Lake: Peaceful Mountain Running In The Proposed Williams Fork Wilderness 

Early this morning Tara and I set out for a nice long mountain trail run. We decided to cruz up to St. Louis Lake up high on the shoulders of St. Louis Peak in the proposed Williams Fork Wilderness. This is a beautiful area that is surrounded by forests and lesser-known mountains, with little or no traffic. Approaches are long and convoluted, so your chances of seeing people are pretty slim - except on the highest of traffic days. St. Louis Peak, Bills Peak, Bryers Peak, and other bumps compose this massive uplift of mountains that has only 2 real access points. The St. Louis Creek road is the one we chose this time. 

The actual "trailhead" after 3 miles of running... 

Drive 7.5 miles from Fraser along the St. Louis Creek road until it dead ends at a gate. The gate blocks all motorized traffic into the St. Louis Creek drainage. From here, run (or bike) for 3 miles as you climb up to the actual "trailhead." Continue along the trail for another 1.5 miles to a branch, at which point you can chose to either go right to St. Louis Lake or left to St. Louis Pass. You can link up a bunch of trail from here, and eventually wind your way back to Winter Park, Berthoud Pass, Jones Pass or the Williams Fork drainage. 

The turn-off to St. Louis Lake 

The Lake is a small, serene tarn lake in a floating valley. Enjoy the solitude as you will be the only other person in the area most likely. The view from the far side of the lake back down the St. Louis Creek drainage is stellar. On this morning (a Saturday no less) I saw zero people. It took 2:22 hours with some time spent at the lake to eat and rest the feet. 

Miles of empty trails to run... 

The quiet and empty St. Louis Lake - a perfect trail destination 

The numbers for those who care....

Beginning Elevation: ~10,240 feet
High Point: ~11,600 feet
Total climbing and descending: ~2,720 feet
Mileage: ~13 miles roundtrip
Other People Factor: minimal
Time: 2-5 hours depending on how often you stop to enjoy the views...

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