Crested Butte Trails: Meridian Lake (Long Lake)

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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. 

Highlights:Aspen, Wildflowers, Swimming Aspen, 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


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.


This is a popular area for SUPing and swimming. Be courteous of other lake users. Avoid spending much time on the bank to avoid erosion. Stay on maintained trails if walking around the lake.


  • Trash and human waste can take years to decompose in an alpine environment, so pack it out
  • There is a Porta-Potty along Washington Gulch Rd (find it here.) 

This is a pet friendly trail, abide by the leash law at all times. Yield trail right of way to all others when hiking with your dog. Tread lightly on the trail to avoid damaging the ecosystem and remember to pack out all doggy doo.

Click photos to view multi-season gallery

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