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Overland Lake #17047



5.3 mile 8.5 kilometer point to point


Ascent: 2,521' 768 m
Descent: 0' 0 m
High: 9,213' 2,808 m
Low: 6,692' 2,040 m


Avg Grade: 9% (5°)
Max Grade: 35% (20°)


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Trail shared by Keaton Reed


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A long climb rewards hikers with access to alpine lakes, a beautiful cirque, and the Ruby Crest Trail.

Keaton Reed

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Fishing · Geological Significance · Lake · Spring · Swimming · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Need to Know

This 5.3-mile trail does not get you all the way to Overland Lake. To get to the lake, you'll need to hike another short distance, about 0.4 miles.

The trail has no water. There may be snow in patches in June and early July, and there is one stream bed that may have water in the springtime, but I would not count on having a water source until you reach Overland Lake.


The trailhead is at the end of a rough dirt road. If you do not have a high clearance, 4x4 vehicle, it may be worth parking lower on the dirt road in one of the many pullouts and hiking up to the trailhead. The trail is a good singletrack with many switchbacks and a decent grade for most of the route. It is a really good run on the downhill, and a good portion of it is pretty runnable on the uphill.

The first mile is a solid climb up to a saddle around 7,300 feet. The views from the saddle are great, and there are some very interesting rock formations on this ridge that you hike right next to.

The trail levels out for a short while before you hit a mile-long section of switchbacks. Over this mile, you gain about 500 feet, so it's a solid climb. The trail then hugs the side of the mountain and curves around a ridgeline, offering excellent and varied views. The grade on this section is not as steep, so it offers a nice reprieve from climbing for a while. It is also on the north side of the ridge, so there are aspen groves that provide more shade.

Around mile 3.75, the trail splits, but the trails reunite within 0.1 miles. This is where the trail gets really steep. For the remaining 1.5 miles, you gain nearly 1,000 feet, grinding through some brutal switchbacks.

The trail ends after about 5.3 miles at a junction with the Ruby Crest National Recreation Trail. At the junction you turn left, going uphill, to get to Overland Lake and its accompanying cirque. If you go right, you start heading northbound on the Ruby Crest Trail, through Overland Canyon, which is a lush, riparian area full of flowers, brush, cliffside views, and streams.

Overland Lake is another 0.4 miles and 300 feet of climbing. There is another lake above Overland Lake less than 0.5 miles away.

It is important to note that there is no water on this trail until you get to Overland Lake. Bring plenty of water for the trip there and the trip back.

Flora & Fauna

Deer, mountain goats, grouse, himalayan snowcocks, hawks, trout.

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