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A Day Hike to Highland Mary Lakes, Silverton, Colorado
Silverton is one of the most beautiful little mountains towns I have ever visited. It is connected to nearby Durango by the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Train. Many people stay in Durango and only spend an afternoon in Silverton before returning on the train. Silverton is small so you might think that is all the time you need to enjoy the shops, museum, and restaurants. This is most certainly not the case.
Silverton is surrounded by trails just waiting to be explored. You could easily spend weeks in the nearby Weminuche Wilderness, but there are plenty of worthwhile day hikes that only take an afternoon.
Highland Mary Lakes
If you're not sure where to find a good trail, stop by the field station along the main street. Maps of trails cover the walls, and the rangers will be more than willing to talk to you and help you find the perfect trail for your needs. They also have hiking guides you can take with you that have maps and other hiking information.
If you are feeling up to a challenge, Highland Mary Lakes is well worth the 2,000 ft. climb it takes to get there. It's a bit of drive from Silverton and the last few miles are narrow and steep. The trail starts out at a steady climb and stays that way. Parts of the trail are rocky, and you need to be sure you are wearing sturdy shoes. The trail is absolutely magnificent. The sharp peaks of the Rockies, vibrant wildflowers, and pristine cascades accompany you the entire length of the trail.
Just when you start to wonder if there actually any lakes and think you're ready to turn and head back, you arrive near the tree line and the scenery shifts. Cascades and evergreens are replaced by clear mountain lakes and fields of wildflowers. Even though it's summer, there are still a few patches of leftover snow. As if this isn't enough, if you look around you are rewarded with a panoramic view of the Rocky Mountains that will blow your mind. This view only gets better when you continue on to Verde Lakes. There's just something about being at an elevation of 12,500 ft. that makes you literally feel like you're on top of the world.
Speaking of the elevation, this is not a hike to take lightly. There is a 2,000 ft. elevation gain over four miles. The elevation starts at around 10,500 ft. If you're not acclimated to higher elevations, this hike will be rough even if you're in pretty good shape. Always know your limits when you're in the wilderness.
Highland Mary Lake trail is part of a loop. It connects to the Cunningham Gulch trail. The entire loop is 9.1 miles. After you pass Verde Lake, the trail also connects for a short time with the Continental Divide trail. Camping is permitted along the trail.
Once you get back from your amazing grueling hike, you will need a place to stay. The Wyman is charming little Bed and Breakfast in Silverton with unique, comfortable rooms and mouthwatering breakfast dishes. The staff is friendly and serve wine and cheese every afternoon for guests. If you are looking for some alone time, they have a private caboose with its own courtyard. The caboose even has a hot tub.
Silverton is a great little get away and is easily one of my favorite places!
Other Hiking Hubs by brenda12lynette
- A Hike to Trapper Lake in Grand Teton National Park
The hike to Trapper Lake along the base of the mountains in Grand Teton National Park is a great is a little hike without much elevation change. The view of the Tetons is amazing,
- A Hike Down Firehole Meadows Trail in Yellowstone National Park
The trail to Firehole Meadow leads you to a lovely isolated meadow in the heart of Yellowstone National Park.