Mirror Lake

Round Trip Distance: 8 miles
Difficulty: Strenuous
Elevation: 8,315 - 10,056 feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Time: 5 hrs.
Trailhead: Mirror Lake
Fee: none
Attractions: Scenic lakes, fishing

The Mirror Lake trail is located east of Meeker, Colorado in the Flat Tops Wilderness Area of the White River National Forest. The trail begins near the lower end of the Trappers Lake Road where it follows an easement across private land before crossing into the Flat Tops Wilderness Area and climbing steadily for 3 more miles up the Mirror Creek drainage to Mirror Lake. Enroute it passess the very scenic Shamrock Lake and a junction with the Big Ridge trail.

To get there from Meeker head north on Highway 13 for 1 mile and turn east toward Buford on County Road 8. Continue for 38.7 miles and turn right onto the Trappers Lake Road. The Mirror Lake trailhead will be on the right in less than a half mile. The Buford Road, CR #8, is paved up to the Forest Service boundary where it turns to gravel.

As you turn off of the Trappers Lake Road continue through the designated primitive campground, where there are multiple free sites that can accommodate both RVs and tents, to where there is a kiosk and trail register. Parking at this spot is a little funkier than parking out by the Trappers Lake Road but it will cut a good quartermile off your round trip distance.

The trail starts out by dropping down the side of the hill where it travels for a short distance along a fence until it reaches the gate where the legal easement across the private property begins. Once you go through the gate be sure to stay on the trail and respect the landowners rights.

At the bottom of the hill there is a nice bridge that takes the trail across the North Fork of the White River. Once again, stay on the trail as it is illegal to fish on the private property.

Pay close attention to the signs to stay on the Mirror Lake trail. This sign looks like it may have been put up by the landowner and has an arrow pointing which way the trail goes.

After a pleasant stroll through some meadows along the private property easement the trail begins climbing out of the valley on the west side and comes to a fence and the boundary of the Flat Tops Wilderness Area.

The trail continues up the mountain through dark stands of pine and spruce that block out the view to the rest of the world.

A few switchbacks aid in the climb but except for one short downhill stretch  that comes up after you pass Shamrock Lake the uphill trek never relents.

Shamrock Lake, near the 3.2 mile point from the trailhead, is a pretty scene in its own right. The fish here were actively hitting the surface of the water almost in a frenzy. It is interesting that much of the water takes an underground route to get to Shamrock Lake. A little below Mirror Lake you can see the stream disappearing into the ground as though it was going down a drain.

The Big Ridge trail branches off on the right near the 3.5 mile point and a little less than a half mile later the trail comes to Mirror Lake where the scene is nothing short of spectacular. When it comes to natural beauty Mirror Lake can stand right there with the best of them. It's amazing how many beautiful places there are like this that you never hear about. Our map shows that you can continue on the trail to the left which becomes the Mirror Ridge trail and follow it around the mountain to Boulder Lake where the Boulder Lake trail will take you down to the Big Fish trail. There are so many trails in the Flat Tops a person could spend all summer hiking them. We've never hiked it so we have no information on what it is like.

Parts of the Mirror Lake trail are pretty rocky and can be a little awkward to hike, especially if your legs are tired. If you don't mind a good workout getting up the trail you're sure to be pleased with the outcome. The only other people that we saw on the trail were on horseback from one of the nearby riding stables. With nobody making the effort to get up to Shamrock Lake and Mirror Lake one might imagine that the fishing would be better than many of the other lakes in the area. We had just hiked up to Skinny Fish right before hiking up to Mirror Lake so a fresh set of legs might not find the trail to be quite as strenuous as it seemed to us. From the total lack of any other hikers or backpackers we're going to bet we have probably sized it up about right. You can see from the photos that the lakes are beautiful so if you would like to see them for yourself all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.