Peak(s):  Tabor - 13,282 feet
Post Date:  06/30/2010
Date Climbed:   06/27/2010

 Tabor cradles a gem!   

Tabor Lake and peak (13,282) Trip Report
YEONDERIN 6-27-2010

This is my first trip report so I apologize for it's lacking to all you seasoned photographers and writers. My purpose for diving into this uncomfortable realm of communication is to help others with beta that I couldn't find on this hidden gem in our great Colorado Mountains.

My story begins a couple years back with a photo I came across of a beautiful alpine lake. It was so captivating that I burned its image into my dreams both day and night and subconsciously vowed to walk its shores one day. All I knew from the photo was that it was somewhere in Colorado. I began searching topo maps, Google earth, and the web. After finally identifying my prize, I discovered there was very little beta on this beckoning oasis.

Fast forward 2 years and I find myself driving up Lincoln Creek road past full camp site after full camp site. The grin on everyone's face as they waved me by said "sorry pal I got here first, better luck next time". The grin on my face as I returned their wave said "you poor soul, you don't know what your missing". As I had hoped, the trailhead parking area was empty and I never saw another person for 2 days.

This first photo is a view from this Tabor Creek trailhead looking due south. It shows the 600 feet of abrupt tree covered elevation that rises out of Lincoln creek valley into Tabor creek valley.

Photo 2 shows the sturdy log crossing of Lincoln creek, a delightful obstacle to help keep much of civilization behind me.

Photo 3 was taken about 1/3rd of the way up the climb to Tabor valley and shows the dry bed of what used to be Tabor creek. All of the water which should have been here was being diverted through a collection canal for the benefit of Twin lakes. You can see the canal road in the top portion of the photo.

Photo 4 shows the trail as it crosses the canal road and enters the wilderness. At this point you have a couple options. You can continue on the defined trail immediately across the road or turn right to continue your assent on the west side of Tabor creek. If you choose the trail which is on the east side of the creek, you will be faced with another creek crossing in a few hundred yards. Depending on the season, the creek may be high enough to deter you from this option.

Photo 5 shows the route leaving the canal road on the west side of the creek. If you choose this option, you will not have to cross any creeks but in trade you will need to bush whack up the hill the few hundred yards to re-join the trail that crosses the creek.

Photo 6 shows the trail after you break out of the thicker trees and level off somewhat into the pleasant grade of Tabor valley. At this point you have climbed around 600 feet in the first half mile. After this the trail will loose its hold on the trees and give you increasingly open views of the valley ahead. The trail will now stay on the west side of the creek but always close enough so that you don't loose the waters pleasant chants as it races to where you have just been.

Photos 7 & 8 The key to finding beautiful Tabor Lake is knowing where to exit Tabor valley. The lake hides in a bowl 1000 feet above and west of Tabor valley. Photo 7 is your parting view of the upper valley as you leave even more evidence of civilization behind. Photo 8 was taken from the same spot as photo 7 but looking SW up at Tabor peak and the direction you need to go. Set your course on this peak and pick a route up the steep hillside to a bench 500 feet above you.
Photo 8

Photo 9 On your way up to this bench you may hear some rushing water before you. This is coming from these fine cascades coming off of the bench assuring you that you indeed are on the right course.

Photo 10 As you crest the hill onto the bench you will be greeted with this view of serene waterfalls coming out of the grand lake itself. As you catch your breath and soak up the scenery you'll become aware that this lake won't be had so easily and requires yet more of you. The red line shows the approximate easiest route from the bench to the bowl holding the lake. Tabor peak is up and to the left of the waterfall in this photo.

Photo 11 If you are the exploring sort or just need a bath, these falls are split into 2 parts with a convenient ledge midway between them. I couldn't resist.

Photo 12 Another perspective of the route to the lake.

Photo 13 Wow!...climate change. "At last after 2 years I am walking your shores!" If you reach this wondrous place you will understand why the pull it had on me. It is such a personal serene experience that I won't influence your capturing of it; by sharing with you mine. Let's just say that the sun's rays just barely caressed the lakes surface before I did, and the morning continued to get better from there.

Photo 14 A view from the North shore looking west in the lakes bowl. If you are drawn to the peak that cradles this lake there is only one most likely route as shown in red. It involves a steep scree-laden trough that we all hate for reasons known but love because it safely keeps us off of the dangerous cliffs that crumble on either side.

Photo 15 This photo was taken half way up the bowls slope looking up at some of the terrain above. It shows the dangerous rock that will more often than not; give way to your disturbing touch. The trough is in the left side of this photo.

Photo 16 was taken from the same spot as 15 but looking back down at the seductive lake. It is here that I realized again the power of her seduction…I must return to her shores at once…if only to steel the water that I forgot while I was in her charms before.

Photo 17 At last on the lip of the bowl after being delayed by my need for hydration. This photo shows the route that lies ahead. Time to change head gear and take inventory of my wits which I must have with me now. Thanks to the suns rays on this bluebird day for defining the ridgeline so well.

Photos 18 & 19 are a couple views from the top to try and preserve more of this grand day. This is the only peak I can ever remember climbing that appeared beneath my feet before I expected it to.
Photo 19

Photo 20 Still from the top, shows the same sun enhanced ridgeline that I must use on my return.

Photo 21 is a view of the lake from the top. A careful eye can see the 3 elevations of the lake, bench, and finally the valley floor far below. I tried to make it all last as long as I could but realized that I had breathed more than my share of life this day and must be going back to……what?...I wasn't quite sure.

Photo 22 A last lingering glance of my latest mistress as I pass her by…this will halve to keep me until we can meet again.

Photo 23 A parting 'wall-hanger' shot of the adjacent ridgeline.

Photo 24 Standing on the lip of the bench before I drop into the valley and roar of humanity below. I think I can hear those peaks in the distance calling my name, and Lord willing I will yeonder there too…some day.

Topo map of route to Tabor

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

  • Comments or Questions
Jon Frohlich

The lake....     02/05/2011 00:22
I‘ve seen a picture of that lake as well. I wouldn‘t be surprised if we saw the same photo. Thanks for the report. That place is on my list to visit.


Wow ...     06/30/2010 22:53
What a great first trip report! I like your mental comments back to the campers you were passing on the road. And, ”I‘m so there” in this beautiful place in the future thanks to you posting this report, YEONDERIN. Happy trails!


Nice!     06/30/2010 22:58
Very descriptive, and full of emotion, the personification of the lake was a nice touch!


Shhh...     06/30/2010 23:47


wow     07/01/2010 00:33
what an amazing place. oh, the solitude... thanks for posting


Nice!     07/01/2010 00:47
I too have been fascinated with Tabor Lake since seeing a picture on a thread on this site (was that yours?). Got to get up there sometime soon. Beautiful TR, are you sure that was your first?


Thanks for posting     07/01/2010 01:38
Seems I share the same draw to this mountain as others... wonder why none of us actually climb it? Thanks again.


Great account     07/01/2010 02:34
I‘m sure some others will enjoy this peak because of your account - but it won‘t be too many, since it‘s so remote. Hopefully I‘ll be one of them someday.


A couple years back...     07/01/2010 04:10
I came across a photo of a mountain lake that changed my life. Now I‘m climbing mountains. Your story rekindles the desire that I first felt - and still feel - that leads me to these beautiful wild places. Great TR.


Sure is a beauty...     11/03/2010 02:00
I may have to go back again after reading this. It really is a great place.

I‘m not sure where this picture originated from, but it is my favorite view of the lake. It was also my inspiration to find it.


Thank You all     11/30/2010 17:28
Much thanks to all for your over generous comments. For those of you I haven't met, I hope to hike with you some day.

Highfisher, Michaela, Floyd and others…thanks for your beta contribution during my research phase. Every bit helped me.

Michaela…your right on track!

Highfisher, If I am not mistaken that photo was taken by Ellen Ritt. During my research I found some amazing photos that She, Arron Johnson and Kane took of this lake.

Pioletski, not my photo but yes my first report.

All, I all ready have ideas to return via a different route and season. If any wish to hook up just let me know…there is much more to explore.


Great!     07/01/2010 16:46
I‘m glad you got out there on this mountain! Its one of the hidden jewels of Colorado. I climbed it about two years ago and loved every second of it. On the way up we followed the looong ridge...thats where the picture that highfisher posted is taken from...AWESOME!!! Then we descended down the route you did.

Here is an other picture from that ridge

The year we climbed it I think only 8 people did it. And only about 30 since the summit register was put up there.

I just had to comment and share because your trip report made me all excited again! Thanks

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