IMPORTANT: Bears are prevalent here.
We hit this trail while camping during a road trip from Boulder to Salt Lake City. We drove until it was dark, found a sweet campground near a little lake, and set up camp at night. The next morning, we treated ourselves to hike before heading back on the road.
The trailhead begins near the end of the Sweetwater Lake Campground. You go up about 500 yards and then reach a path that veers right to an overlook. The sidetrack is worth the time. We were there in September, and the blues and greens of the lake, sky, and trees were something no artist could capture on canvas.
Back on the trail, we quickly got into some very pretty Aspen trees. Interestingly, we were in the midst of forest, in what seemed like an area far from civilization, when a herd of cows appeared. The very rare forest cows, I presume. They were scared of us, and took off crashing and stampeding through the woods.
In addition to the beautiful Aspen groves, there was a stream and a peaceful meadow, then an Evergreen forest, and I think I even saw Redwood trees, which I didn’t know grew there.
I don’t think we made it to the end of the trail, and I’m not even sure what trail we were actually on, but we came to a wire fence that I couldn’t get open. Either the trail continued past the fence, or else I had gotten lost. But, it was a very pleasant out and back hike as is.
From Eagle, travel twelve miles west on I-70 to Dotsero. Go north on Colorado River Road for seven miles. Turn left onto the Sweetwater Creek road. In ten miles, turn left at the sign for Sweetwater Campground. It’s a small campground, so just follow the road until you see the trailhead sign.
I’m not sure what the law is about dogs here. The Ute Trail is another option at this trailhead, and I’ve read that parts of the Ute Trail allow dogs and parts don’t.
Not a lot of water alongside the trail, but we did cross a stream and there’s a small lake nearby.
Yes, about 50%.
About 1200’ for the section we did to the fence and back.