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Camping: Colorado > San Juan National Forest > Columbine Ranger District

Quick Facts

Emerald Lake

Size: 280 Acres
Trail Number: 528
Usage: Heavy


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General Description

Emerald  Lake
Copyright: USDA Forest Service
Emerald Lake
Emerald Lake is 248 feet deep with 280 surface acres and 12.0 miles of shoreline. The lake is the third largest natural lake in Colorado and only accessible by foot and horseback. The unique Cutthroat Rainbow Trout hybrid exists in the lake. This is one of the few self-sustaining rainbow populations found in Colorado.

Fishing is prohibited in the inlet of Big Emerald Lake and the inlet stream (Lake Creek) for 1/2 mile above Big Emerald Lake from Jan. 1 through July 15. Fishing in Little Emerald and Big Emerald Lake is restricted to the use of artificial flies or artificial lures only. Bait fishing is prohibited. The bag, possession, and size limit for trout is 2 fish, 14 inches or less in length.

Little Emerald Lake and Lake Creek are also a part of the Emerald Lakes system. They also contain the cutthroat-rainbow trout hybrids and the special fishing regulations apply.

Directions from Bayfield, Colorado: Travel only by foot or horseback 8.0 miles up the Pine River Trail. Trailhead is located in Pine River Campground which can be reached by traveling 25 miles north on County Road 501.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Accessible: Late Spring through Mid-Fall .



Current Conditions & Trip Reports
No camping or tying livestock near the lake. Except in designated areas. Updated: 2003-09-03 12:18:00.0


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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Cold Water Fishing Unique Cutthroat Rainbow Trout hybrid
Yes
ICON Fishing Emerald Lake
Yes
ICON Horseback Riding Horse and foot traffic only
Yes



Related Activities
Pine River Campground - Pine River Campground and Trailhead are located four miles beyond Middle Mountain Campground. This area is often used as a temporary base camp and parking area for hikers and backpackers.



More Information
Frequently Asked Questions
Email the Local Ranger

Visitor Information:

Columbine Ranger District, 367 South Pearl Street, P.O. Box 439 , Bayfield, CO, 81122, Phone: 970-884-2512, Fax: 970-884-2428, TTY: 970-884-1433

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