Saint Kevin Lake

Round Trip Distance: 3 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation: 11,230 - 11,934 feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Time: 3 hrs.
Trailhead: Bear Lake
Fee: none
Attractions: Scenic alpine lake

Saint Kevin is a surprisingly scenic alpine lake that sits in a high basin on the eastern side of the Continental Divide in the Holy Cross Wilderness Area of the San Isabel National Forest near Leadville, Colorado. Even though the trail is only a little over 8 miles from Leadville it is only lightly used.

The driving directions are the same as those for Bear Lake. To get there head west out of Leadville and drive around the north side of Turquoise Lake until you get to Forest Road 107. This photo was taken where you turn off of the pavement onto FR#107. The road number is hard to spot at first but it is at the very top of the sign to the left of the road. It is also the only big gravel road to choose from.

At each fork in the road be sure to follow the signs for FR #107. Four wheel drive vehicles with moderate ground clearance are recommended.

Begin by following the Bear Lake trail as it leaves the parking area and enters the Holy Cross Wilderness.

The trail skirts along an open meadow and as it comes near the west end of the meadow it turns into the trees. The old route to St. Kevins Lake went trait at this point but has since been reclaimed.

After a short distance a junction comes up when the CT/CDT (Colorado Trail/Continental Divide Trail) is reached. Be sure to turn right at this point.

The sign designates the route to the right as the CD/CDT North branch.

After turning north onto the Colorado Trail it is only about 300 feet to where the Saint Kevin Lake trail branches off on the left. At present there are no signs or trail markers that mark the intersection.

The route is obscure enough that it isn't much of a confidence builder after turning off of the Colorado Trail. As rocky as it is and with no more traffic than it gets its hard to tell if it is really supposed to be a trail.

Stick with it for a hundred yards or so and the trail becomes more and more apparent.

And now that you aren't stressed out about going the wrong way you can better enjoy the peaceful hike through the forest.

About a quarter mile from the lake the trail becomes steeper and a little more primitive as it has to gain about 180 feet of elevation to get up to the basin.

After reaching the high point the trail levels off and works it way through a small valley that was probably originally carved out by an ancient glacier.

Saint Kevin Lake quickly comes into view from the to of a rise that is about 80 feet higher than the lake itself. On this day we were treated to a wonderful series of ever changing shadows cast upon the basin by a parade of fast moving clouds that were blowing over the Continental Divide. 

A couple that arrived at the lake before us were successful at catching a fish that they were able to safely return to the water. They were too far away for us to tell whether it was a brook or cutthroat trout and even though we chatted for awhile the question never came up. Currently the Saint Kevin Lake trail isn't listed on the hikes in the San Isabel National Forest. We've seen trail omitted in the past when they traveled across private property but that doesn't seem to be the case in this instance. The hike itself is short but if you hike down to the lake from the high point the round trip elevation gain comes out to around 960 feet which is enough to leave you feeling like you got some good exercise. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.