Trail name: Lily Pad Lake Trail

Trail length: 3.3 miles, round trip

Trail difficulty: Easy

Elevation gain: ~400 feet

Best time to hike: November to May for snowshoeing/cross-country skiing, June to October for hiking

Good for: Hikers of all skill levels

Dog-Friendly: Yes, but must be on a leash

Starting Trailhead: Lily Pad Trailhead

Lily Pad Lake is an easy trail suitable for the whole family! Located in the Wildernest area, Lily Pad Lake Trail offers a little bit of everything- views of Lake Dillon and mountain peaks, serenity and calm of the forest, wildflowers, and two alpine lakes. Enjoy this easy 3.3-mile hike for a taste of everything Summit County has to offer!

Lily Pad Lake Trail is located in Silverthorne at the base of Buffalo Mountain- the recognizable mountain with the rounded top. There will be a parking area on the left side of the road with space for about 15-20 vehicles. This trail is very popular, so you will undoubtedly see other cars in the area. Parking does fill up, and you will not be allowed to park on the roadside. Look for the Lily Pad Trailhead sign and start hiking! Dogs are required to be on a leash on this hike.

The trail begins with a steep incline, but don’t worry! This is the most vertical portion of the trail. In total, you will only gain about 400 feet in elevation. Once you reach the top of the initial hill, you will see sweeping views of Lake Dillon, Keystone Resort, and the Continental Divide. From here, you’ll head into Eagle’s Nest Wildernest through a forest of lodgepole pine, aspen, and a plethora of wildfire varieties. The trail will have some ups and downs but no significant elevation gain or loss.

After about a mile and a half, you will reach the aptly-named Lily Pad Lake. Named for the Rocky Mountain Pond Lily that covers its surface, you will see large lily pads and bright yellow flowers. This trail holds a special surprise- you get not just one lake but two! Find a spot to relax, have a snack, and soak in the serenity of this peaceful area.

Want to help contribute to our National Forest? Visit for a list of all volunteer opportunities. You can also visit to download free individual guides for all the trails.