Silver Lake Hike
Silver Lake is a high alpine hike located above the Bridal Veil Basin. It’s a moderate to difficult hike, though it can be done in just a few hours.
To start, drive up Black Bear Pass from the mine area at the back of the canyon. You’ll need a four-wheel drive vehicle.
Walking is also an option, and many people do it. Walking, however, does add on a considerable amount of time.
Either way, hikers should go through the gate and down the road to the right. From the power plant that functions out of the historic home at the top of Bridal Veil Falls, continue on and up.
This section is a nice, leisurely hike filled with wildflowers at the peak of summer. Here, lupines, columbines, wild rose, raspberries, monk’s hood, bluebells and more color both sides of the trail.
Waterfalls made of melting snowpack rush to the right, and sweeping views of the canyon are afforded to the north and east behind you.
The trailhead for Silver Lake is just up this rocky road. About a quarter mile up, large boulders over the waterfalls make for a gorgeous fairy-like picnic spot. Makeshift bridges made of logs and sticks provide a crossing.
It’s here that begins the ascent to Silver Lake.
The first section, about half the hike, is rather rigorous. Many times you might feel like you are bushwhacking, though the path clearly exists. Even so, you’ll be traveling up steep sections, through brush, over boulders in quick switchbacks on the path.
Nettles and wildflowers adorn this section too, as do bees and butterflies.
Some flatter places will help you to pause and find your breath.
Water is a necessity on this hike.
The third quarter of the path is a little easier, though many logs could obstruct the path.
Raingear is always required on hikes such as this, and in summer, during which monsoons are very likely, you’ll want to avoid getting wet or losing body heat.
You may wonder which way to travel at different points. All paths likely lead to the top. Some take a more a direct approach; others are less steep, but may require a few extra steps.
Regardless, when you come up and out to an opening, you’ll see a ridge to the south. This is the bank of Silver Lake. A waterfall is audible and visible from a distance.
Keep moving in the direction of this bank and stay on the trail.
To the right is another ridge. Though steep, climbing this offers views of town and the canyon below.
Once up, the entire lake is yours.
Often, Silver Lake is not crowded. Many times, you could be the only hiker up there.
Cutthroat trout are obvious when the wind is absent, and this lake is excellent for fishing.
Breathe deeply. Enjoy. Take your time.
The descent is quick, but watch your footing. Those loose rocks can be challenging on the downhill.
Hiking back out is just as beautiful.
Whether it’s your first time, or 10th time on this hike, Silver Lake doesn’t disappoint.