Crested Butte Trails: Meridian Lake (Long Lake)

In Hiking guide by Josh Futterman

Meridian Lake is a popular destination in both summer and fall for its fantastic views, proximity to town, and the amazing color provided by season wildflowers and golden aspen foliage.  The very long and narrow natural lake (also known as Long Lake), is also a great place to go for a swim in the summertime. Long Lake is also a favorite cool-off spot after the annual Chili & Beer Festival happening September 9th, 2017. Enjoy dozens of unique chili and sample deliciously cold beer as we kick off the start of fall in Crested Butte! 

Difficulty:EasyStrenuous
Highlights:Aspen, Wildflowers, SwimmingAspen, Wildflowers, Swimming
RT Length:2.4 miles.5 miles
Approx. Time:1-2 hours RT1-2 hours RT
Elevation Gain:515 feet280 feet
Max Elevation:9,690 feet9,683 feet
Trailhead Elevation:9,432 feet9,472 feet
Travel Time to TH:10 minutes11 minutes

Click photos to view multi-season gallery

Directions

From the Town of Crested Butte, take Gothic Road (Route 135) north 1.75 miles. Turn left onto Washington Gulch Road and drive 1.5 miles. Easy Route: Park in front of the tennis courts on the right side for the easy route. Strenuous Route: Drive another .90 miles farther to signed TH and the dirt parking lot on the left.  Map

Easy Route: Walk across the dam and past the private lake on your right [2]. Follow the road around to the left and head through the gate [3].  Follow the gravel road up around one switchback and to Lake Meridian.  The road is surrounded by lush wildflowers in the summertime [4].  From the lake you can head in either direction, with this route turning left for some more views [8], flowers [6], and easy trail.

Strenuous Route: From the dirt parking lot follow the sign toward the creek [9]. There may be a narrow plank for you to walk over the creek [10], otherwise you may have to get your feet wet. Once across, follow the trail to the left of the deep gully into the trees. This is a very steep and sometimes slippery trail [11], with varying conditions depending on weather. Once at the lake, head in either direction or down to the water for a swim. Take a right for some additional views [12] and onto another trail that leads much higher up on the opposing ridge.

Notes

The strenuous route is exceedingly steep at the start of the climb – use caution! Both routes can be connected for a shuttle or loop.

Click photos to view multi-season gallery

Trail Map & Profile

More Hiking Guides:

 Head back to the Hiking Guide for more hikes
 Don’t forget your Mountain Manners
 Here’s 6 Easy Hiking Trails Close to Town Crested Butte hiking trails just like this one

Featured Event

Chili & Beer Festival

Mt. Crested Butte Base Area
September 9, 12pm

Website

Chili and Beer kicks off the fall season in Mt. Crested Butte and the Gunnison Valley. Now in its 19th year, the annual festival attracts dozens of breweries offering at least 2 styles of beer (if not more!) and numerous chili-chefs bringing their best recipes to keep you filled up for a day of imbibing. The warm days of fall, the start of the aspens changing and live music all collide to make for an amazing day in Crested Butte! Don’t miss out!