Lake of the Woods

Round Trip Distance: 0.8 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 9017 - 9117 feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Time: 45 mins.
Trailhead: Lake of the Woods
Fee: none
Attractions: fishing

The Lake of the Woods is located east of Meeker, Colorado in the White River National Forest. Sitting in the valley at the base of Himes Peak, a couple miles downstream of Trappers Lake, the once secluded Lake of the Woods attracts a handful of fishermen most everyday during the warmer months of the year. Once a great fishery for Colorado cutthroat the allure of the lake today is mostly for brookies.

To get there from Meeker turn off of Highway 13 1 mile north of town onto Rio Blanco Country Road 8 and follow it for 39 miles to the Trappers Lake Road. CR #8 is paved up to near the forest boundary where it continues as a well maintained gravel road that is coated to keep the dust down. After turning onto the Trappers Lake Road continue for another 5 miles where the trailhead will be on the right hand side of the road. During dry summer conditions all roads are well suited for 2wd passenger vehicles.

After dropping over the shoulder of the road the trail comes to a register and kiosk where the Forest Service posts current information for the area.

From there the trail continues through the trees for a short distance.

The first time that we came here 50 years ago this was all thickly wooded dark timber that concealed the lake from view until you reach its shore. In 2002 the Big Fish fire swept through the area cleaning up the damage already done by an infestation of pine beetles. Fire is really the only sure way of getting rid of pine beetles and once they kill enough trees it is pretty much inevitable.

At the bottom of the hill there is a sturdy bridge that is suitable for horses to get across the North Fork of the White River.

The backwater isn't very deep but 50 years ago I remember seeing a nice sized cutthroat cruising along the bank only a couple feet from the shore.

The Lake of the Woods is close enough to the road that some fishermen will pack in their float tube. We usually had good luck with flies and lures but when it came to brookies we never got skunked using cheese hooks and Velveeta.

Before the fire you couldn't see beyond the trees that surrounded the lake but now there are some nice views of the mountains above Trappers Lake.

While popular mostly with fishermen the Lake of the Woods is a good choice for anyone in the area that is looking for a short lake hike and now that it is out in the open it has much fewer mosquitoes. Families might also find it to be a good place for a picnic. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.