Crystal Lake: A Quick Summer Escape

On July 28, 2010 by hiker
Hiking Telluride Crystal Lake Ophir Colorado

Crystal Lake is just a short drive away from Telluride and a quick hike from the top of Ophir Pass.

Crystal Lake, at the top of 11,789 foot Ophir Pass, is a summer delight. It’s the perfect, scenic spot for a short hike and a picnic. Drive the rocky, one-lane road up Ophir Pass with caution and respect other vehicles and hikers. The drive takes about a half hour, and a vehicle with high clearance is helpful. Park near the Ophir Pass sign at the top and meander up the rocky slope to your left, through two rocky points. There isn’t a defined trail, so pay attention. Once you’ve ascended this steep slope, several more distinct trails head off to the right and lead to the lake. This can take anywhere from a half to a full hour.  The turquoise lake is a lovely spot for lunch and contemplation, and is aptly named: When the sun shines on the wind-rippled lake, dancing crystals appear.

—Susan Kees