Rim Lake

Location: Central Colorado
Trip Starts: Turret Creek Trailhead
Trip Ends: Turret Creek Trailhead
Total Distance: 10 miles
Hike Type: In & Out, Backtrack Hike
Hike Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
Trails Used: Sweetwater, Rim Lake
Trail Traffic: Light to Moderate
Trip Type: Overnight Hike
More Information:

White River National Forest
900 Grand Ave.
P.O. Box 948
Glenwood Springs CO 81602


When the National Wilderness Preservation System was finally created in 1964, one of the first areas preserved was the 235,000 acre Flat Tops Wilderness. The wilderness encompasses more than 235,000 acres in the Routt and White River National Forests of Colorado, and is located on the White River Plateau approximately 20 miles north of Glenwood Springs and 30 miles southwest of Steamboat Springs.

The Flat Tops are a concentration of flat-topped headlands dominated by the White River Plateau, a flattened dome of geological strata capped with lava. The plateau is most prominent at the Chinese Wall and the “Devils Causeway ” a narrow ridge between the drainage of the East Fork of the Williams Fork River and the North Fork of the White River.

Our hike in this area followed the Sweetwater and Rim Lake trails. The Ox and I planned to hike to over 10,000 feet and try some trout fishing at both Shepherd and Rim Lakes, but we were too early in the season and the snow lingered in the upper elevations. We ended up camping along a nice stream at 9500 feet near a large meadow a few miles from the trailhead.

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