Wall Lake

Round Trip Distance: 8.6 miles
Difficulty: Strenuous
Elevation: 9,766 - 11,050 feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Time: 5 hrs. 30 mins.
Trailhead: Wall Lake
Fee: none
Attractions: Scenic views, fishing

The Wall Lake trail is located in the Flat Tops Wilderness Area of the White River National Forest east of Meeker, Colorado. The trail begins down by Trappers Lake where it starts out with an initial climb around the east side of Anderson Lake before dropping a little to an intersection with the Carhart trail. From there it climbs steadily to near the 11,000 foot elevation level where it continues around a few scenic lakes and across the tundra to Wall Lake which sits in a scenic basin below Trappers Peak (12,002 ft.).

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 Buford Road, CR #8, is paved up to near the Forest Service boundary where it then turns to gravel. Turn right onto the Trappers Lake Road #205 and follow the signs for about 10 miles to the Wall Lake trailhead in the area of the Trappers Lake campgrounds. (The gravel roads are normally seal coated to eliminate the dust and travel at a good speed.)

The easy to follow trail starts out climbing gently away from the trailhead.

In 2002 the Bish Fish fire burnt through the area where beetle killed trees provided most of the fuel. The area presently looks a little barren but the fire did clean up a lot of dead trees and in places the new trees are already up to 10 feet tall. Views of the surrounding mountains and lakes are also less obstructed than before the fire.

At one time the trail traveled around the west side of Anderson Lake and took a more direct route toward the pass. The new trail wraps around the lakes east side following a longer more leisurely route.

At the 3/4 mile point the Wall Lake trail meets up with the Carhart trail and turns sharply to the right. Generally, backpackers that are doing the Wall Lake-Trappers trail loop will be returning via a 1.8 mile section of the Carhart trail to this intersection bringing the loop to a close.

The trail begins climbing with more ernest after its junction with the Carhart trail. By the time it reaches the 1.3 mile point it crosses a creek and surpasses the 10,000 foot elevation level by 40 feet.

As the trail continues and gets a little steeper it changes directions a few times where switchbacks aid in its progress. The last half mile or so before the trail reaches the rim can be seen from many of the other trails in the valley. Even while hiking up to Skinny Fish you can look over in this direction and see the Wall Lake trail angling up the mountain. Once you hike it for yourself it becomes very memorable.

By the 3 mile point the trail breaks over the rim and levels off as it comes to a junction with the Oyster Lake trail. The elevation is now right around 11,000 feet. If a person wanted to do something a little different they could go to the right on the Oyster Lake trail and follow it to the Big Fish trail, taking that to the Himes Peak trail, and end up back down in the campground close to where we started out.

Continuing on the Wall Lake trail there are several smaller lakes where you can get some nice photos with Trappers Peak in the background.

For the rest of the way the elevation fluctuates very little as the trail takes an easy route across the tundra. If you come up here in June you can expect to encounter fields of snow to hike through and in the places where the snow has only recently melted you will be dealing with mud and standing water. These photos were taken in the first week of July. The trail was nice and dry and we only went around one snow field.

Wall Lake comes up about 4.2 miles from the trailhead. As you look across the lake it becomes apparent how it got its name. The Wall Lake trail continues around the west side of the lake where it climbs the wall and crosses into the South Fork drainage of the White River and after another couple of miles comes to an end at the Trappers Lake trail.

On the hike back to the trailhead we encountered a seemingly endless stream of backpackers and maybe 3 or 4 other hikers. The backpackers that we spoke with all had hopes of hiking the Wall Lake-Trappers Lake loop. On our hike up to Wall Lake we did come across 3 groups that were hiking down the trail. Whether they hiked up the Trappers Lake trail and did the loop in the other direction or just did an up and back like we did is unknown. One thing that is known is that we had a much easier time of it than all those backpackers with their 35+ pound loads on their backs. Of course, their are riding stables in the area that can get you there and back with even less of your own effort. However you go about it the Wall Lake trail will show you some of the most beautiful scenery that you could ever hope to come across. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.