Getting ThereFrom the intersection of US Route 24 and 6th Street in Leadville, turn west onto 6th Street and follow it to the end of it at the intersection with McWethy Dr. Turn right onto Mcwethy Dr. The street becomes “Turquoise Lake Road”. Drive over the dam on the southern end of the lake and continue to drive the road on the south side of the lake to reach a hairpin at the extreme west end of the lake. You will see a sign for Timberline Lake Trail or Colorado Trail. Park at the parking area. Distance from Leadville is probably 10 miles or less.
Route DescriptionAll distance are per my GPS.
The trailhead is common to Colorado Trail northbound, Colorado Trail southbound and Timberline Lake Trail. Make sure you follow the trail on the north side of the parking area. Almost immediately after leaving the parking lot, you will find a small pedestrian bridge over a stream on the northbound Colorado Trail. You will also have to register for entering Holy Cross Wilderness (No fees but you must fill out a tag and carry it with you).
The trail goes into a dense forest of mostly pine trees. After a while, you will hike under power lines. The forest has been cleared under the power lines.
At around 10900 ft, the forest becomes patchy and the trail makes a series of switchbacks up a steep grassy slope.
At 11300 ft, the trail reaches a high point on the southern slopes of Galena Mountain. The summit of Galena is not visible but you will have to leave trail here and hike up the slopes. Although the slopes are generally clear, look ahead and choose a route that avoids occasional dense growths of bushes or dwarfed trees.
If you veer west (left) and go just to the east of Point 11899 ft, you will probably see nothing but grassy slopes.
If you veer east (right), you will reach a ridgetop that allows you to see St. Kevin Lake and the eastern wall-like slopes of Galena. You might encounter a few fun and easy to traverse boulder fields too.