SUP Board Little Molas Lake
SUP Board Little Molas Lake

Little Molas Lake is a hidden gem in the heart of the San Juan National Forest in Silverton, Colorado. Thanks to its calm waters and breathtaking mountain views, this serene lake is a popular spot for stand-up paddleboarding (SUP). Visitors can rent a SUP board on-site and explore the lake at their own pace, taking in the natural beauty and wildlife surrounding them.

A serene lake with a SUP board floating on calm water, surrounded by lush greenery and towering mountains in the background

SUP Boarding Little Molas Lake—Silverton, Colorado, is an experience not to be missed. With its calm waters and gentle currents, the lake is a perfect destination for beginners and experienced paddlers alike. Paddlers can enjoy a peaceful morning on the lake or take a leisurely paddle along the shoreline, taking in the stunning views of the surrounding mountains. With an on-site rental available, visitors can easily rent a board and quickly get out on the water.

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day on the water or an adventurous journey through the mountains, SUP Board Little Molas Lake—Silverton, Colorado, has something for everyone. With its stunning scenery, calm waters, and easy access, Little Molas Lake is the perfect destination for anyone looking to experience the beauty of Colorado from a unique perspective.

Alongside the San Juan Scenic Byway, Highway 550, Little Mola’s Lake Campground is an affordable, quiet reprieve for campers visiting the San Juan Mountains.

A little, informal campground that gets more visits for its nearby fishing at Molas Lake and the Colorado Trail, Little Mola’s campground provides dispersed camping, RV sites, and hitching posts for livestock in a charming setting high in the San Juan mountains close to Molas Pass.

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Paddle Boarding Colorado

The campground consists of one loop with ten campsites inside and RV sites along its southern rim.

While there are no amenities at the campground other than vault toilets, both RV campsites tend to have a perfect view over Little Molas Lake to Snowdown Peak. They are also the best place for SUP board surfing—sitting on a shelf twenty or thirty feet above the lake.

Set well away from the 550 highway, noise is of concern, though incoming traffic seeking to use the Colorado Trail or the day-use area can liven things up.

Most campsites have a rudimentary fire ring and flat tent places.

The access is rough, though low-clearance vehicles should have no issue as long as caution is used.

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Little Molas lake

Nearby Little Molas Lake is stocked yearly with Colorado River cutthroat trout, and the Colorado Trail provides numerous hiking opportunities.

Close access to Highway 550 brings more adventures in the San Juan Mountains, which are an amazing distance away; Silverton is less than four miles north, while Durango is roughly thirty miles, an hour’s drive, to the south.

Molas Campground is less than 5 minutes away for those looking for more relaxing amenities.

That said, as long as there is a relaxed site at Little Molas, there is an excellent reason to stay elsewhere.

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Overview of Little Molas Lake

Geographical Location

Little Molas Lake is a small body of water located nearly 11,000 feet in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. It is situated near Molas Pass and the town of Silverton. The lake is easily accessible from US-550 and is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

Lake Features

Little Molas Lake covers an area of approximately 25 acres and is surrounded by beautiful mountain scenery. The lake is stocked with Rainbow Trout, making it a popular spot for fishing. Visitors can also enjoy kayaking, canoeing, and stand-up paddleboarding on the lake. Hand-launched non-motorized watercraft are allowed, but visitors must always wear personal floatation devices.

There is a small campground near the lake with ten campsites and RV sites. The campground offers vault toilets but no other amenities. The RV sites provide a perfect view over Little Molas Lake to Snowdown Peak and are a great spot for stand-up paddleboarding.

Little Molas Lake is typically open from June to the end of September but may be closed for snow. Access to the lake is free, making it a great budget-friendly option for outdoor recreation in Colorado.

Recreational Activities

People paddleboarding on Little Molas Lake in Silverton, Colorado. The lake is surrounded by lush greenery and snow-capped mountains

Paddle Boarding

Little Molas Lake offers a serene and picturesque setting for paddle-boarding enthusiasts. With crystal-clear waters and stunning mountain views, it is ideal for both beginners and experienced paddlers. Visitors can rent paddle boards from the Molas Lake Campground Store and enjoy a peaceful ride on the lake.

Hiking Trails

The Colorado Trail runs through Little Molas Lake, providing visitors with a variety of hiking trails to choose from. The trail offers breathtaking views of the San Juan Mountains and suits hikers of all skill levels. The Little Molas Lake Trail is a popular option, offering a scenic loop around the lake.

Fishing Opportunities

Little Molas Lake is a popular destination for fishing enthusiasts. The lake is stocked with rainbow trout, providing visitors with ample opportunities to catch fish. Fishing is allowed from the shore, boats, and float tubes. Visitors can also fish in nearby creeks and rivers.

Camping and Lodging

Molas Lake Campground is a popular destination for camping enthusiasts. The campground offers a variety of campsites, including RV and tent sites. Visitors can also enjoy dispersed camping in the surrounding area. The campground has showers, toilets, and a campstore. For those looking for more comfortable lodging options, several hotels and cabins are in the nearby town of Silverton.

Overall, Little Molas Lake offers visitors a wide range of recreational activities. Whether you want to paddle board, hike, fish, or camp, It is the perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

Access and Transportation

A person paddles a SUP board on Little Molas Lake in Silverton, Colorado, surrounded by mountains and clear blue water

Getting to Little Molas Lake

Little Molas Lake is located in Silverton, Colorado, and is easily accessible from Durango, about 50 miles away. The most common way to reach the lake is to drive on the Million Dollar Highway (Highway 550) from Durango to Silverton. The highway is known for its scenic beauty, and it takes about an hour and a half to reach Silverton from Durango. From Silverton, Little Molas Lake is just a 15-minute drive away.

Parking and Trail Access

There is a parking area at Little Molas Lake, which is located near the campground. The parking lot is spacious and can accommodate a large number of vehicles. Visitors can park their cars and access the Colorado Trail near the lake. The Colorado Trail is a 500-mile-long trail from Denver to Durango, a popular destination for hikers and mountain bikers.

In addition to the Colorado Trail, visitors can access the Molas Overlook from the parking area. The Molas Overlook provides a stunning view of the surrounding mountains and is a popular spot for photography.

Overall, getting to Little Molas Lake is easy, and visitors can enjoy the scenic beauty of the Million Dollar Highway on their way to the lake. The parking area at the lake provides easy access to the Colorado Trail and the Molas Overlook.

Wildlife and Environment

A serene lake surrounded by lush greenery, with wildlife such as birds and fish. A stand-up paddleboard floats peacefully on the water

Flora and Fauna

Little Molas Lake is surrounded by the natural beauty of the San Juan National Forest, home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. Visitors can spot mule deer, bald eagles, and butterflies in their natural habitat. The lake is surrounded by aspen trees that change color in the fall, providing a stunning backdrop for paddleboarding.

The forest is also home to various wildflowers, including columbines, lupines, and Indian paintbrushes. These flowers bloom in the summer, creating a colorful landscape feast for the eyes.

Environmental Considerations

Visitors to Little Molas Lake are encouraged to follow Leave No Trace principles to preserve the natural environment. The San Juan National Forest is a protected area; visitors must respect the flora and fauna that call it home. Paddleboarders should avoid disturbing wildlife and should not leave any trash behind.

The forest is also prone to wildfires, so visitors must be careful when using fire. Campfires are only allowed in designated fire rings, and visitors must ensure the fire is completely extinguished before leaving the area.

In conclusion, Little Molas Lake is a beautiful destination that offers visitors a chance to experience the natural beauty of the San Juan National Forest. By following Leave No Trace principles and being mindful of the environment, visitors can help preserve this natural wonder for future generations to enjoy.

Seasonal Information

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit SUP Board Little Molas Lake in Silverton, Colorado, is during the summer months from June to October. The weather is generally sunny and warm during this time, making it perfect for outdoor activities such as paddleboarding, hiking, and camping. However, visitors should be aware that the lake is closed for snow during winter and may not be accessible until late spring.

Weather Conditions

The weather conditions at SUP Board Little Molas Lake vary greatly depending on the time of year. During summer, temperatures can range from 60°F to 80°F, with occasional afternoon showers. Visitors should be prepared for sudden weather changes and bring appropriate clothing and gear. Additionally, due to the lake’s high elevation, visitors may experience altitude sickness and should take time to acclimate before engaging in strenuous activities.

Overall, visitors to SUP Board Little Molas Lake can expect to enjoy beautiful scenery and a variety of outdoor activities during the summer months. However, it is essential to be prepared for changing weather conditions and take precautions when visiting high elevations.

Safety and Guidelines

Crystal clear lake surrounded by towering mountains. A person stands on a SUP board, following safety guidelines. Sunlight glistens on the water

Trail Safety

The trail around Little Molas Lake is moderately challenging, with some steep sections and rocky terrain. Hikers should wear sturdy shoes and bring plenty of water and snacks. The trail is well-marked, but hikers should still consider their surroundings and stay on the designated path. In an emergency, hikers should call 911 or seek assistance from other hikers or park rangers.

Water Safety

Visitors should be aware of the water safety guidelines when accessing the lake. Swimming and paddleboarding are allowed, but visitors should know that the water can be cold, even in summer. Children should always be supervised by an adult when near the water. Visitors should also be aware of the risk of altitude sickness, which the lake’s high elevation can cause. Symptoms can include headache, nausea, and dizziness. Visitors who experience these symptoms should seek medical attention immediately.

Leave No Trace

Visitors to Little Molas Lake are encouraged to follow the Leave No Trace principles to help preserve the area’s natural beauty. This includes packing out all trash, using designated campsites and fire rings, and avoiding disturbing wildlife. Visitors should also be aware that the area around the lake is a designated wilderness area, meaning that motorized vehicles and bicycles are prohibited. Visitors should stay on the designated trails and avoid creating new paths.

Overall, Little Molas Lake is a safe and enjoyable destination for visitors of all ages. By following these guidelines and being aware of potential risks, visitors can ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Additional Attractions

Crystal-clear lake surrounded by lush greenery and towering mountains. A SUP board glides across the serene water, with a backdrop of the picturesque Silverton, Colorado

Nearby Hiking and Biking Trails

Aside from the SUP Board Little Molas Lake, there are several nearby trails for hiking and mountain biking enthusiasts. The Molas Trail, for instance, is a well-marked trail that offers scenic mountain views and is great for beginner mountain bikers. This moderately challenging route covers 5.2 miles and takes an average of 2 hours and 20 minutes to complete. Hikers and bikers can still enjoy some solitude during quieter times of the day.

Scenic Drives and Overlooks

For visitors who prefer scenic drives, the Molas Overlook is a must-see attraction. The overlook provides breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. It’s a great place to take photos and enjoy the area’s scenic beauty. Visitors can also drive along the Million Dollar Highway, which offers stunning views of the San Juan Mountains.

In summary, the SUP Board Little Molas Lake is not the only attraction in the area. Visitors can also explore nearby hiking and biking trails, such as the Molas Trail, and enjoy scenic drives and overlooks like the Molas Overlook and the Million Dollar Highway. With so many attractions in the area, visitors will have an enjoyable and memorable experience.

Local Amenities

A serene lake surrounded by lush greenery and distant mountains, with a stand-up paddleboard resting on the tranquil waters of Little Molas Lake in Silverton, Colorado

Dining and Shopping

While Little Molas Lake is remote, visitors can find dining and shopping options near Silverton. The historic town boasts various restaurants and cafes, serving everything from hearty burgers to fresh-baked pastries. There are several grocery stores and markets in town for those looking to stock up on supplies for a picnic lunch.

Picnic and Rest Areas

Little Molas Lake offers a tranquil setting for a picnic lunch or rest stop. Visitors can take advantage of the picnic tables and grills throughout the campground. There is also a small beach area where visitors can relax and soak up the sun. For those looking to explore the surrounding area, several hiking trails offer stunning views of the San Juan Mountains. Additionally, visitors can take a short drive to one of the nearby hot springs for a relaxing soak.

Overall, while Little Molas Lake may be remote, visitors can still enjoy various amenities. From dining and shopping in Silverton to picnicking and hiking at the lake, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Planning Your Visit

A serene lake surrounded by lush greenery, with a paddleboard resting on the calm waters, and mountains in the distance

Permits and Fees

Visitors to Little Molas Lake do not need a permit for day use or camping. However, a fee is required to camp at the Little Molas Lake Campground. The fee is $22 per night for a single site and $44 for a double site. Visitors can pay the fee at the self-service fee station located at the campground entrance. It is important to note that there are no amenities at the campground other than vault toilets.

Itinerary Suggestions

Due to the high elevation, it is recommended that visitors spend at least one acclimation day at Little Molas Lake. The lake is located at nearly 11,000 feet, and visitors may experience altitude sickness if they are not acclimated. The nearby Weminuche Wilderness offers a variety of hiking trails for visitors to explore.

Visitors can also spend time paddle boarding on the lake. Stand-up paddle boards are available for rent on-site, and the lake is stocked with Rainbow Trout, making it an excellent spot for fishing. There are also RV sites along the southern rim of the campground that offer a perfect view of the lake and Snowdown Peak.

Overall, Little Molas Lake is an excellent destination for those looking to spend time in the San Juan National Forest. With its stunning views and various activities, it will surely be a memorable experience for all who visit.

Frequently Asked Questions

A serene lake surrounded by mountains, with a stand-up paddleboard floating on the calm water. The sky is clear, reflecting the vibrant colors of the landscape

What are the SUP board rental prices at Little Molas Lake?

Molas Lake Campground Store offers rental services for SUP boards at Little Molas Lake. As of May 2024, the rental price for a SUP board is $25 per hour. However, checking the official website or calling the campground store for the latest rental prices is always recommended.

Are there any reviews on the SUP boarding experience at Little Molas Lake?

Several reviews are available online from visitors who have enjoyed SUP boarding at Little Molas Lake. One reviewer on ISLE Surf & SUP mentioned the calm and clear waters of the lake, making it an ideal spot for beginners. Another Uncover Colorado reviewer appreciated the lake’s scenic beauty and surrounding San Juan National Forest.

Can you provide a map of Little Molas Lake for paddleboarding areas?

Yes, the official website of San Juan National Forest offers a map of the Little Molas Lake area. The map includes the lake’s location, paddleboarding areas, and other recreational activities available in the vicinity.

What is the best time of year to SUP board on Little Molas Lake?

The best time to SUP board on Little Molas Lake is during the summer months, from June to August. The weather is pleasant, and the water is warmer during this time, making it comfortable for paddleboarding. However, visitors can enjoy paddleboarding at the lake from May to September, depending on the weather conditions.

How do I make reservations at Molas Lake Campground for a SUP boarding trip?

To make reservations at Molas Lake Campground, visitors can visit the official website of the Town of Silverton. The website offers an online reservation system where visitors can check availability and book campsites or RV sites. Visitors can call the campground store at (970) 387-5512 to make reservations.

Is swimming allowed in Little Molas Lake?

Yes, swimming is allowed in Little Molas Lake. However, visitors should note that no lifeguards are on duty, and they swim at their own risk. Visitors are advised to follow all safety guidelines and wear appropriate safety gear while swimming or paddleboarding in the lake.

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Tom Leithner
Hi, I'm Tom Leithner, a SUP Paddle Board expert and enthusiast. With years of experience and a passion for all things SUP, I'm excited to share my knowledge and tips on the website https://supboardgear.com/. As a dedicated paddler, I have had the privilege of receiving several prizes and rewards for my expertise in the field. My journey with SUP began with a deep appreciation for the serene beauty of the water and the sense of freedom it provides. Over the years, I have honed my skills and explored various SUP techniques and gear, allowing me to offer valuable insights and advice to fellow enthusiasts. Through this website, I aim to provide comprehensive guidance on choosing the right SUP board, essential gear, and techniques to optimize your paddleboarding experience. Whether you're a beginner looking to get started or a seasoned paddler seeking new challenges, my goal is to equip you with the knowledge and resources you need to make the most of your SUP adventures. I believe in the power of sharing experiences and fostering a strong SUP community. Join me on this exciting journey as we dive into the world of SUP and discover new destinations, techniques, and gear together. Let's make every paddleboarding experience unforgettable. Stay tuned for regular updates and fresh content, as I continue to explore, learn, and share my passion for SUP on https://supboardgear.com/. Together, let's make waves and elevate our paddleboarding adventures to new heights.