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Windsor Lake

Even the shortest of hikes can turn into adventures, especially when you think you are on a different trail than you are actually following. This was how I discovered Windsor Lake in the Holy Cross Wilderness. The trailhead is located at the eastern outlet of the Carlton water tunnel, west of Turquoise Lake. Just follow 6th Ave west out of Leadville toward Turquoise Lake, the trailhead is located on the first switchback in the road. There is a fork in the trail approximately one half mile from the trailhead, bear left at the fork. The short one and a quarter mile hike is steep, but rewarding.

The best time of year to make this short trip is late July, when the Colorado wildflowers are in full bloom in the high country. There are two lakes on the trail, the first is unofficially dubbed "Lower Windsor" lake. Here you will find a lush semi-marshland teeming with wildflowers; Purple Elephants, Colorado Columbine, Paint Brushes, and many others. For the fisherman, both lakes hold wild Brook Trout and the native Greenback Cutthroat Trout. Windsor Lake hold the same selection of Colorado trout, wild and hungry. Camping is permitted near the lake, but a back country camping permit is required.

This is one short hike that will place you far away in one of the state's great wilderness areas.