One Savage little hike |

One Savage little hike

Collin Szewczyk
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

With 164 miles of trails, the Holy Cross Wilderness offers a plethora of hiking opportunities, from week-long adventures to sensational day hikes.

If you’re looking for a strenuous hike, amazing scenery, fantastic fishing and you want it all in a day’s time, Savage Lakes is the perfect destination.

Located just east of Thomasville, and up North Fork Road (Road 501) from the Elk Wallow campground (you take the left fork), the Savage Lakes Trail offers a great hike up to a pair of pristine lakes at just over 11,000 feet.

The two-mile trail begins at 9,880 feet with a lung-crushing push up a series of switchbacks, and gradually evens out, following along the North Fork of the Fryingpan River to Lower Savage Lake.

The river, which is more of a small creek, offers a sweet serenade as you hike through a dense pine forest and, eventually, up to a large boulder field on your left.

The resident marmots whistle out warnings and cast obscenities that only dogs can understand.

Farther on, the trail splits at a signpost, directing you to the right toward the Savage Lakes, with the left path leading you down the Henderson Park Trail to Carter Lake.

On this particular day, light snow had fallen, draping a white veil over the trail to the lake, but there were no tracks of either the two- or four-legged kind to mark any recent activity.

The trip to the top takes about an hour and 20 minutes, if you walk at a steady pace.

Lower Savage Lake projects a mirror image of the majestic Sawatch range beyond. Huge boulders line up along the lake, offering a perfect vantage point to snap a photo or two – or possibly catch sight of a trout.

The lake offers excellent lake and brook trout fishing in its crystal-clear depths.

Many fish can be seen acrobatically leaping for insects.

The lake and surrounding scenery creates a sense of calm. Perhaps the lakes are named for the steepness of the initial stretch of the hike, but the area truly offers a scene of savage beauty.

Years of natural deterioration has created a huge boulder field near the lake, offering refuge for the critters that call this serene place home.

Mother Nature has trundled a perfect shelter from the chilly western winds.

The hike down is made in a quick 40 minutes or so, making the entire loop happen in just about two hours.

The Savage Lakes Trail is the perfect option for some quick exercise, tossing a few flies, and maybe getting a little piece of mind in an otherwise chaotic day.

At lake’s edge you feel as if you are a thousand miles from civilization … such a short hike to get to such a remote-feeling place.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User