Trail Name: Squaw Creek
While many of the high alpine lakes in the Vail area remain covered in snow and ice, Nolan Lake near Fulford is ice free and ready for a mid-summer dip!
The trailhead for Nolan Lake is in Fulford, and a 1 hour 15 minute drive from Vail. Take Brush Creek road out of Eagle. Just after the Sylvan Lake Visitor Center, take the left fork in the road and continue past Yeoman Park. There is a road with a sign pointing to Fulford just before Yeoman, however this road is a 4x4 road. The better option is to turn left onto FS road 418 just after you pass Yeoman Park. You will see an obvious parking area on your left and a sign for Nolan lake when you reach Fulford. Park here and start hiking!
What to Expect:
The Nolan Lake trail is one of the easier day hikes in the Eagle River Valley, but still has a few steep climbs along the way. The hike to the lake is 3 miles (6 miles round trip) with 1,500 feet of elevation. With an average grade of 400-500 ft per mile, you definitely earn the views with this hike! Follow a well maintained trail, with a few downed trees & 2-3 easy water crossings. At 2.5 miles you will reach an open wetland meadow, a fantastic place for late season wildflowers! There is a wood sign pointing towards Nolan Lake. For those looking for a summit & a more adventurous day, you can turn left here on the “trail” to New York Mountain. However, keep in mind that though this trail is marked on the map it is faint and hard to follow--though it is well marked by regular cairns. To continue to Nolan, simply follow the obvious trail another half mile to the lake. Once you reach the lake, find one of the many rocky outcrops and enjoy the intimate views of Craig Peak & the northern Sawatch Mountains!
Note on Conditions:
Sitting at 11,400 ft, Nolan lake is one of the best options to get high in the alpine without hitting snow right now. The trail is in great shape, with a few downed trees that are easily negotiated. All water crossings are low and crossable without wading.