Round-Trip Length: 4.2 miles
Start-End Elevation: 9,748 – 11,109′
Elevation Change: +1,361′
Skill Level: Moderate
Trailhead Location: Interstate 70 west from Denver. Take exit 238, Fall River Road. Turn right on Fall River Road and drive 6.5 miles to CR 274 (dirt). Left on CR 274 for 1.6 miles to small parking area.
With the weather forecast being fairly nice again this weekend, Lisa and I decided to get out again for a short hike. A couple of weeks ago we had a nice hike up to Loch Lomond and the lakes above. Chinns and Sherwin Lakes are located in the same general area just one valley over so we thought we would check them out.
We headed on out about 10:50am, ready for another day in the High Country. We came to the turn off from Fall River Road onto the dirt road of CR 274. Another trip report we had read said that most passenger cars could drive up at least a mile before the road got really rough and then you could pull off and park along the road and continue to hike on up. We found there was private land on both sides of the road with “No Trespassing” and “No Parking” signs in any little area where one might be able to pull over to park. We continued on up the road for 1.6 miles and actually came to a little larger pull-off or parking area which wasn’t marked “No Parking”. It was right across from another forest service trail so we thought it would be OK to park there. We got our gear ready and started hiking on up the road from here at about 11:50am.
In just 0.2 miles we came to the ruins of what looked like an old stone cabin.
Just beyond the cabin ruins was the crossing of the Continental Divide Trail. The CDT runs 3,100 miles between Mexico and Canada and follows the Continental Divide along the Rocky Mountains, traversing five states. Only about two dozen people a year attempt to hike the entire trail, taking about six months to complete it.
Shortly after passing the Continental Divide Trail, we came across some old mining ruins.
After 1.8 miles, we arrived at Chinns Lake which was frozen over.
There was an old cabin ruin right next to the lake.
We continued on up around the north shore of Chinns Lake another 1/3 of a mile to Sherwin Lake. Surprisingly, Sherwin Lake was not completely frozen over yet.
A look back at Chinns Lake from Sherwin Lake.
We headed around to the south shore of Sherwin Lake and then started making our way back to Chinns Lake.
We continued along the south shore of Chinns Lake. I thought the clouds were pretty interesting as we continued along the lake shore looking northeast.
We made our way back to the cabin ruins and had a look inside. We captured some great pictures looking through the cabin windows and open roof.
A great view looking across the lake to the north. The sky had really cleared up with such deep blue skies.
One final look at the cabin and lake before heading back down the trail.
We headed back down the trail/road for our return trip back to the car.
On the way back down, I stopped to take some pictures along the stream of some interesting ice formations.
We were back to the car by 3:30pm and headed back home. Although a chilly day, it was great to get out and explore a couple of new lakes.