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BLM>Colorado>Field Offices>Gunnison>Recreation>Hiking Information>Hiking Trails>Williams Creek Trail
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Williams Creek Trail

Length: 7.5 miles
Difficulty: Strenuous walk up steep terrain and at high altitude
Season of use: June through October
Amount of Use: Light horse use; light hiking
Elevation Change:
    Beginning: 9,185 ft.
    Ending: 12,480 ft.

Location Map

Topo Map

How to Get There: From Lake City take Hwy 149 south, 2.5 miles. Turn right at Lake San Cristobal Recreation area turn off. Follow the paved road approximately 4 miles, then continue on the dirt road for about 2.6 miles. The trailhead sign and parking area are on the right hand side of the road just before the William's Creek Campground.

Trailhead Parking/Camping: Parking is available at the trailhead but there is no space for camping. Low impact camping is permitted all along the trail.

Attractions: This trail leads to the scenic tundra area of Grassy Mountain. The hike up Williams Creek trail can be strenuous but well worth the effort. The views atop the ridge are spectacular. In the distance you can see the buildings in the old ghost town of Carson along with Wager, Mill and Cataract Gulches. Looking toward the northwest, one can see the majestic, towering peaks of Uncompahgre and Wetterhorn peaks (two of the 14,000 ft. peaks in the area). From the saddle of Grassy Mountain you can continue north onto the Alpine Gulch trail for an overnight trip.

Photo of Williams Creek Trail

Narrative: From the trailhead, the path leads through USFS land for .5 mile before entering BLM land. The trail crosses Williams Creek and continues up a small tributary past several ponds. After 1.8 miles, you'll join an old jeep road. Follow this road up about 100 yards, where it splits in 3 directions. Ignore the routes going up to the right and down to the left. Instead, follow the middle road going up to the left. It winds through a variety of meadows, aspen and spruce forest for another 2.5 miles until it emerges at timberline. Rock cairns mark the trail across the tundra as it climbs along the ridge for another 3 miles to the Grassy Mountain Saddle.

Hazards/Considerations: At some points in the tundra, the trail can become hard to see so look for the rock cairns. Be sure to take a map of the area and a compass to aid you in staying on the right path. It is important to be prepared for typical July and August afternoon thunder showers. It is best to get an early start and plan to be off the ridge by noon or 1:00 p.m. Be sure to take sunscreen, rain gear, and drinking water. Remember, hiking at high altitudes requires more time and energy. Take your time, enjoy the scenery and avoid over-exertion. Be sure someone knows where you are going and when you plan to return.

Additional Information: Williams Creek Trail may be used in conjunction with the Alpine Gulch Trail for a beautiful overnight hiking trip.  There is not much in the upper reaches of these trails so either carry enough with you or plan to camp in a place close to permanent water.

Williams Creek Trail Location Map


Created by the Bureau of Land Management, Colorado
Point of Contact:
Jim Lovelace

Last modified: January 6, 2011