Three Lakes Trail

Three Lakes Trail

Quick Facts

  • Closest town: Crested Butte, CO
  • Trail Name: Three Lakes Trail
  • Trailhead: Park in this parking lot for free (GPS coordinates: 38.870997, -107.208927) and then just walk a short distance to the trailhead.
  • Distance: 3.4 miles round trip
  • Dog Friendly


From the town of Crested Butte, take Gunnison Country Road 12 west towards Keebler Pass. (Note: This road is not paved and is closed during winter). Take this road for about 40 minutes and then take a left on CO Road 706 towards the Three Lakes Trailhead. Drive another 10-15 minutes and then park at the free parking lot mentioned above.

The Deets

Once you’ve parked in the lot mentioned above, walk a short distance to the campground and up to the first lake, Lost Lake Slough. (Note: if you choose to park at the campground, you’ll have to pay a fee for parking.) Once at the lake, skirt the right side of it to find the trailhead. It’s not super obvious as the sign is set back a bit from the beginning of the trail, so use the gps coordinates if needed! Another thing to know about this trail is that it’s a loop, so you won’t end where you started. The loop will take you around the right side of Lost Lake Slough, then to Lost Lake, and then finally to the third and final Dollar Lake (hence the name of the trail!).

Once you’re on the right trail, you’ll see this wooden trail sign. After 0.7 miles you’ll make it to Lost Lake, pictured on the right above. There were some beautiful and fearless gray jay birds on this trail; see the photo on the left below of one that decided to model for me! As you leave Lost Lake and head towards Dollar Lake, there will be an opportunity to veer on the trail a very short distance for a waterfall- definitely worth checking out! Soon after, you’ll have a view looking back at Lost Lake Slough.

After about a mile, you’ll arrive at Dollar Lake! This lake is the smallest and, in my opinion, the prettiest of the three. In early October, the fall colors were just beautiful! We hung out here for a while and enjoyed a snack. Can you spot the cute photobomb in the photo of Sam below?

After taking in the views, head back down towards the main trail you came from. Watch carefully for a trail to the right that you can take to complete the loop back to Lost Lake Slough. From here, you can either follow signs to the campground and walk the road back to your car, or you can meet up with a trail that will take you all the way back to the parking lot (I don’t recall the name of this trail- use your gps and navigation skills on this one). Enjoy the beautiful drive back to Crested Butte!

As aways, please practice Leave No Trace and leave this beautiful place better than you found it!

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