Lake · Wildflowers
This alternative route to Lake Columbine bypasses the steep switchbacks on the Columbine Lake Trail #509
. This trail is generally above the treeline, so the views are much better than the trail up from Route 550.
Coming from the east, off of Route 550, you would not need a high clearance 4x4 vehicle to access the trailhead. But if you come up from the west, across the pass, you would need a high clearance 4x4. The turn for the road to the trailhead is just below the parking for OPUS Hut. Follow the an unnamed dead-end road east. You can park along the road near the trailhead.
The Ruby Drainage Traverse Trail
is at and above the treeline, providing great views of the valley below. At about 1.5 miles, the trail begins climbing up and out of the Ruby Creek drainage. This part of the trail may require some routefinding, but the way is generally marked by cairns. The trail eventually crosses over a ridgeline and connects with Columbine Lake Trail #509
for the remainder of the way up to the lake.
Shared By: Don Smith