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Alta Lakes - Telluride area

SUBMITTED BY:   Dawn Russell


ELEVATION:  11,200 ft


Head west from Durango on Hwy 160. Go 20 miles, turn right on Hwy 184 at Mancos intersection. Go 15 miles, turn right at Hwy 145, towards Dolores. Go approximately 50 miles on Hwy 145, thru Rico, and past the Ophir Needles. Turn right onto Road 64F (Alta Lakes Road), 2.8 miles north of Ophir Road. Go approximately 5 miles to the lakes.

ROAD CONDITIONS:   (mark yes if applies)

      PAVED: Hwy 160, Hwy 184, & Hwy 145


       DIRT: Road 64F. (Alta Lakes Road)

       ROCKY: Last 1-1/2 miles


ACCESSIBILITY:      (Mark yes if applies)



       4x4 VEHICLE: Preferred


BEST TIME OF YEAR:        May into October, before first snow.

BEST TIME OF DAY:        Best in afternoon and sunset. Mountains

CAMERA EQUIPMENT / SETTINGS SUGGESTIONS: Medium range zoom lens. Possible close-up lens for photographing flowers. Polarizer would be useful for haze. Extreme wide-angle zoom may be useful to enlarge flowers in close foreground of mountain shots and provide adequate depth-of-field.

HIKING INFO: Describe specifics of the hike. How far, degree of difficulty, best sun angle. 

NOTEWORTHY INFORMATION:                     

There are three small lakes nestled at the base of the mountains on the north/back side of the Telluride Ski Area. You will go by the Alta Townsite ghost town midway on Alta Lake Road. Parking is at the first lake. There is a nice easy trail connecting the three lakes.

The first lake at the parking lot allows, kayaking, canoeing or paddle boarding. Overnight camping is also allowed at the first lake. The other two lakes are an easy hike from the first lake. Maybe 1-1/2 miles looped trail.

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