From the west take U.S. Highway 50 out of Gunnison over Monarch Pass. You will pass the Monarch Ski Resort on the left and then the Monarch Park Campground
on the right. The Waterdog Lakes signed trailhead is located on the left near a large roadside gravel parking area about a quarter mile past the campground road between mile markers 202 and 203.
From the east take U.S. Highway 50 out of Poncha Springs and pass through the small areas of Maysville and Garfield. After passing through Garfield you will pass quite an extensive abandoned mining area on the left. After passing the mining area the Waterdog Lakes signed trailhead will be on the right within a short distance with roadside gravel parking on the left between mile markers 202 and 203. If you reach the Monarch Park campground road you have gone to far.
There is no camping at the trailhead as the parking area is a gravel parking lot directly on US Highway 50.
The Monarch Park Campground
is located nearby but a two night stay is required during summer weekends and a three night stay is required on holiday weekends. Up to date conditions can be checked at the Monarch Park Campground website.
The Angel of Shavano Campground
is located to the east and is access by turning east in the small community of Maysville. Up to date conditions can be checked at the Angel of Shavano Campground website.
If you have a four-wheel drive, high-clearance vehicle there are some decent dispersed (free!) camping spots along F.R. 230. I have personally camped about two miles in from U.S. Highway 50. F.R. 230 heads to the northwest from U.S. Highway 50 in Garfield. This is the road described in the getting there section for Mt. Aetna
Note: The Access to the Garfield Campground, which is marked on most maps of the area, is not currently open making the campground inaccessible.
Destinations accessible from the Waterdog Lakes Trailhead
Lower Waterdog Lake
Middle Waterdog Lake
Upper Waterdog Lake
Continential Divide Trail
- 12,856 feet (off-trail)
- 12,339 feet (off-trail)