Hiking Project Logo

Music Pass Trail to Upper Sand Creek Lake

Difficult
 4.6 (5) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

Hike over the saddle, into a beautiful valley, and up to a high mountain lake that is full of trout.


Your Rating:      Clear Rating
Your Difficulty:
Your Favorites: Add to Favorites · Your List
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

8.4

Miles

13.5

KM

Out and Back

11,739' 3,578 m

High

10,690' 3,258 m

Low

1,858' 566 m

Up

1,858' 566 m

Down

8%

Avg Grade (5°)

35%

Max Grade (19°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Fall Colors · Fishing · Lake · River/Creek · Swimming · Views · Wildlife

The Music Pass Road up to this trailhead is a challenging 4x4 road (but I got my Volvo XC90 up it, if that is any indication). The lake is frozen from winter through to June. Early season hikers (i.e. May - June) will likely see deep snow along the upper elevations of this trail.

Overview

This hike is only for the adventurous. A remote and quiet hike up to a beautiful valley and high mountain lake will make the climbs on this hike well worth the effort.

Need to Know

The Music Pass road is tricky, but doable by high clearance vehicles with AWD or 4WD. There is no water on this trail until about mile 2.4, and then you'll need a filter for the creek and lake water. Bring a camera. And your fly rod.

Description

To get to this trailhead, you'll have to get to Westcliffe (a cool little Colorado town), drive a ways south, and then drive up a somewhat technical mountain pass. This hike climbs up and over a ridge into the beautiful Sand Creek basin, the northern "preserve" portion of the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. There are no Sand Dunes in this part, but there are a ton of trout. There are trout in the stream, and in both of the spectacular lakes at the end of each trail. Definitely bring a fly rod on this adventure. Thank me later.

The trail starts by climbing the first mile to the top of Music Pass on Music Pass Trail. You'll climb through the woods for about half a mile before emerging into a more exposed area on the way to the summit of Music Pass. At the top of the pass, take a few moments and head to the West, through the trees, and climb up the small hill that overlooks the Sand Creek valley to the West. There are spectacular views all around.

The descent into the Sand Creek basin is relatively steep, with some loose footing. Once you make it to the trail junction at the base of the hill, make a right to go up to Upper Sand Creek Lake on the Upper Sand Creek Trail. Or stop to fish Sand Creek itself, which has outstanding fly fishing for hybrid cutthroat trout. When you are ready to continue on follow signs to the lakes (stay right).

The trail continues another ~0.4 miles to another trail junction. Stay right to climb to Upper Sand Creek Lake. After taking in the scenery of the spectacular lake and enjoying the fly fishing in the solitude, return back the way you came.

Flora & Fauna

Bear, deer, bighorn sheep, hybrid cutthroat trout.

Contacts

Shared By:

Andrew Todd with improvements by Skyler Tyson

Trail Ratings

  4.6 from 5 votes

#1934

Overall
  4.6 from 5 votes
5 Star
60%
4 Star
40%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#273

in Colorado

#1,934

Overall
186 Views Last Month
13,441 Since Nov 4, 2015
Difficult

0%
0%
0%
0%
100%
0%

Photos

On top of Music Pass looking down on Sand Creek basin.
Aug 14, 2018 near Crestone, CO
KT with a giant hybrid cutthroat trout from Upper Sand Creek Lake.
Nov 4, 2015 near Crestone, CO
Small waterfalls in the drainage along the primitive trail.
Sep 8, 2016 near Crestone, CO
Big Horn in the Valley, June 2014.
Sep 7, 2016 near Crestone, CO

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
Unknown See History
Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

May 22, 2020
Jonathan Nicholas
Aug 6, 2018
Brian Huddleston
We hiked this trail last week and it was great! The trout fishing on the two lakes and the creek was fantastic! Best to go during the week. 12mi — 6h 00m
Jun 23, 2014
Rodger Greer
Jun 22, 2014
Rodger Greer
Jul 26, 2009
Rodger Greer