Leave No Trace

Dispose of Waste Properly - Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food, and litter.

Overview

Wilderness
One Way Length
Beginning Elevation
Peak elevation
Gain/Loss/Net Gain
Ratings
USFS Regulations
Trails Illustrated
Quadrangle
None
4.0 miles (trailhead to junction with Lady Moon Trail)
8,558
8,614
127/402/-275
Hikers – Easy;    Stock Riders – Easy
National Forest
#111 Red Feather Lakes, Glendevey
Red Feather Lakes

Location

From Ted’s Place, drive north on US-287 for 10.5 miles to the “forks” at Livermore. Turn left and head up the Red Feather Lakes Road (CR-74E) to the community of Red Feather Lakes. Just west of the Pot Belly Deli & Bar, turn south onto CR-162 (Manhatten Road), which is gravel. Proceed 2.1 miles south to the trailhead.

The trailhead and a small gravel parking lot are on the left (east) side of the road opposite the access road to Bellaire Lake Recreation Area campsites #6–12. There are no facilities or water.

An alternative approach is to hike both the Molly Lake and Lady Moon trails on the same day, either by starting at the Molly Lake trailhead (described above) or at the Lady Moon trailhead off of the Red Feather Lakes Road (CR-74E). If you hike both trails, the distance will be 4.8 miles from trailhead to trailhead, one way. Because both trails pass through relatively flat country, combining the two is still an easy and relatively short hike.

GPS Coordinates
Molly Lake trailhead
Jct. with spur trail to
Molly Lake
Molly Lake
Jct. of Molly Lake and
Lady Moon trails

N40°46.067’  W105°36.560’ Open lightbox

N40°46.031’  W105°35.621’
N40°46.078’  W105°35.516’

N40°45.913’  W105°32.642’
Molly Lake Trail elevation profile

Description

The Molly Lake Trail is quite level (no steep ascents or descents) and follows an old roadbed. The roadbed is variously sandy, gravelly, and rocky and well drained (with several metal culverts along its length). This trail is generally quite walkable from mid-April until the end of October in most years. It passes through an open, mixed forest consisting primarily of ponderosa pine with quaking aspen and some Douglas-fir, and considerable lodgepole pine along the initial (southwest) portion of the trail. Shrubs along the trail include wax currant, shrubby cinquefoil, and Woods’ rose. Wildlife in this area includes Dusky Grouse, Mountain Bluebirds, American Magpies, mule deer, coyotes, elk, moose, bobcats, and mountain lions. It is not uncommon to see these species or their sign along this trail.

The Molly Lake Trail is open to foot and horse traffic but not mountain bikes. The first 0.5 mile or so of the trail has at least a couple of minor, unnamed trails branching off to the north and one branching off to the south. At 0.9 mile from the trailhead you will encounter the spur trail leading north to Molly Lake (which is about 0.25 mile off the Molly Lake Trail). You will want to walk this spur trail to the lake (actually not much more than a shallow pond, about two acres in size), to view this attractive lake and associated rock outcroppings along its western shore.

After returning from the lake to the main Molly Lake trail you will pass under a large overhead power line just about 100 yards to the east of the spur trail to the lake. After walking another 0.5 mile (1.4 miles from the trailhead), you will encounter a signed junction with a trail leading to the south to Elkhorn Creek. This side trail has a metal gate across it about 100 ft off the Molly Lake Trail. This junction is about 0.25 mile west of a large 8,700 ft elevation granite outcropping just north of the Molly Lake Trail. Shortly beyond this junction (at about mile 1.5) there is a large metal gate across the Molly Lake Trail.

The trail continues to meander through open ponderosa pine and quaking aspen forest and several small meadows. You will encounter a second large metal gate across the Molly Lake trail at mile 2.3, with a nice granite outcrop nearby. At about 3.2 miles there is a well-defined but unmarked trail leading off to the south. At about 3.8 miles, just about 50 yards beyond a third metal gate across the trail, lies the three-way junction of the south end of the Lady Moon Trail, the east end of the Molly Lake Trail, and the north end of the trail leading to CR-68C and the Boy Scout Camp. This is the end of the Molly Lake Trail, unless you are combining it with a hike of the Lady Moon Trail.

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  • As of evening May 22nd, Molly Lake trailhead is closed due to extensive damage from wind storm in the area. Hundreds of trees said to be down. Power line down across the road near the trailhead.

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  • A huge wind event in the Dowdy Lake area the third week of May blew about 200 trees down in the area. Some of this blow-down occurred near the Molly Lake Trailhead and caused the trail to be temporarily closed. A local Hotshot crew is working the area with chainsaws. Check with the Forest Service to be sure this trail is open before you venture up there.

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