Eaglesmere Loop Trail (6.8 miles/ vertical 1750 ft.)
Hikers are rewarded with beautiful vistas overlooking Lower Cataract lake soon after beginning a steady uphill ascent through an aspen forest. Views of the Williams Fork Range and Eagles Nest Peak (13,342′) continue to appear until you enter a thick, dark, green pine forest after about two miles. At 2.8 miles you will encounter a sign where the Eaglesmere trail meets the Gore Range trail. You turn right here for what will prove to be the longest half mile of the hike. A fairly steep ascent suddenly changes to a downhill trek that will lead to another sign for the Gore Range trail. The sign shows the trail going right and left but ignore it and go straight to the lakes which are only a couple hundred yards ahead. There are two lakes, the smaller one just north of the larger.
To get here from Keystone: Take Highway 6 towards Dillon to connect with Colorado 9 (Highway 6 turns into Route 9). Take Rt. 9 north Drive 16 miles north from Silverthorne on Colorado 9. Turn left onto Heeney Road and go about 5.25 miles to County Road 1725. Turn left and continue for a little over 2 miles until you come to a fork where you will see a sign for Surprise Lake trailhead on your left and Eaglesmere Lakes on the right. Take the right fork and go about .2 miles to the parking area.
Willow Falls (8.75 miles/ vertical 900 ft.)
For the first 2.6 miles you follow the Mesa Cortina Trail to its junction with the Gore Range Trail. As you approach the junction of the Mesa Cortina and Gore Range Trails you will cross South Willow Creek. At the trail junction you should proceed west-southwest (straight) on the Gore Range Trail. After about a mile you will notice the Buffalo Cabin Trail entering on your left. The falls are about three quarters of a mile ahead. This is an absolutely gorgeous area and, once again, one of my personal favorites. Don’t forget to bring a camera!
To get here from Keystone: Take Highway 6 towards Dillon to connect with Colorado 9 (Highway 6 turns into Route 9). Drive north on route 9 from the Silverthorne exit off I-70 (exit 205). Turn left onto Wildernest Rd. at the 7-11 store across from a Wendy’s. Bear right at the fork after crossing the bridge and make an immediate left onto Royal Buffalo Drive (auto dealership is on this corner). Drive a mile to Lakeview Drive and turn right onto Lakeview. Proceed to Aspen Drive and turn left and continue to the Mesa Cortina Trailhead with ample parking on your right.