Rainbow Lake Trail

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Rainbow Lake Trail #449

The Rainbow Lake Trail #449 begins at the end of Rainbow Lake Road, FSR #724 and ends at its intersection with the Soap Basin Trail #442.  Its entire length is in the West Elk Wilderness where Wilderness Regulations apply.  This trail begins in an impressive stand of dense timber.  It climbs gradually into an open meadow, then to a ridge before it descends quickly into the West Elk Creek where it intersects the Coal Mesa Trail #451.  The West Elk Rim Trail #446 and the Sun Park Trail #444 are accessible via the Rainbow Lake Trail.  The Baldys, a series of 12,000 foot peaks, are an easy day hike from this trail.

At a Glance

Open Season:  June – October
Usage:  Medium
Best Season:  Summer
Busiest Season:  Fall Hunting
Restrictions:  Open to Hiking and Horseback.
Closest Towns:  Gunnison, CO


Rainbow Lake Trail Access:

From Gunnison, travel west on Highway 50 for approximately 14 miles to the Rainbow Lake Road, FSR #724 which is just before the Dry Creek picnic area for the Curecanti National Recreation Area. Travel north on FSR #724 for approximately 12 miles to the end of the road where the trail begins.

Rainbow Lake Trail Access:  T. 50N., R. 88W., Section 33.  U.S.G.S. Map: West Elk Peak.  Elevation: 10,960 feet.  Adequate parking is available for horse trailers.


  • Trail Measurement: 9 Miles
  • Compass Latitude: 403850N
  • Compass Longitude: 1063824W
  • Numeric Latitude: 40.6471983
  • Numeric Longitude: -106.6400403
  • Elevation in Meters: 3292
  • Elevation in Feet: 10800

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