Blue Lakes Trail
a can’t miss Breckenridge destination!
Everywhere you go close to Breckenridge, CO a surprise always awaits. This short, yet exhilarating trail will be beyond your expectations, above timberline where Mother Nature is obviously in charge. Wind blown twisted dwarfed pines, tundra, and steep rocky slopes surround an amazingly blue lake. Marmots everywhere and you’ll hear the sounds of little pika mouse with that cute “eek” sound they make, letting you know you are wandering into in their territory.
Bring the kids, an amazing family friendly hike close to Breckenridge. Where else can you be greeted by mountain goats… really!
Upon first arriving you will be in subalpine terrain at the lower lake surrounded on one side by tall dense pine trees, before hiking up to the larger lake going above tree line. Colorful backcountry tents can be seen on the far side of the lower lake tucked beneath the trees and under an indescribable waterfall.
Note: Many of the links are affiliate links which means I receive a very small commission (at no added cost to you) and you get an awesome product, I appreciate the support.
Drive up to the upper lake just below the dam and Park. You won’t be able to help but get out and start hiking. It’s that stunning.
On the left you can see the top of Quandary Peak, a Colorado favorite 14er.
Looking at top of Quandary Peak it looks close from this elevation, but that’s tricky, as it’s another 2 hour hike from here, up an unmaintained trail, extremely rocky & steep. Called the “West Route” it is not highly used or recommended. You will pass the main, most popular Trailhead to hike Quandary Peak as you turn of Hwy 9 onto Blue Lakes Rd., heading to Blue Lakes.
So many amazing hiking opportunities for all skill levels near Breckenridge, CO.
Go along the west side of Blue Lake on Blue Lakes trail and you’ll find a few rocks to begin your hike, some alpine tundra, and in summer an abundance of wildflowers.
All along the trail, you run into lots of cute and busy marmots. We’ve been on many hikes in Colorado above timberline and have never seen this many marmots at one time. It’s late August and we’re just in time as they head for their burrows to hibernate until April or May.
Hiking along the trail farther around the lake, you’ll hit an area of rocks and more rocks and it becomes quite a scramble to get across them only to find that the path past the rocks is thick with tundra and almost impassable.
Views of Quandary Peak, North Star Mountain, and Wheeler Mountain surround Blue Lakes.
When exploring the lower lake, head down the dirt road. Here the trees start to multiply and your covered in deep shade with only peeks of sunshine shining through. Deep in the woods scattered on the side of the road you’ll find dreamy dispersed campsites with already designated fire pits. Social paths lead off the end of the dirt road, climbing through numerous large rocks and reaching the base of a thundering, cascading waterfall.
Hang out along the lower lake, camp, have a day fishing, picnic, and hike.
Just visiting or not a hiker, this is one of the best locations to get a feel for truly being in the Colorado mountains without much effort. Starts above 11,000 ft. in elevation, a very high altitude. Hat and gloves with shorts in the summer is not uncommon in Colorado!
Tell someone where you plan to go and bring your hiking gear appropriate for the time of year. Please beware of the extreme temperature and weather changes that seem to always occur at high elevations.
An adventure you simply won’t soon forget even if you’re a seasoned hiker.
Located 6.8 miles south of Breckenridge on Hwy 9. Turn right onto Blue Lakes Rd. (CR850). Drive 2.2 miles to Blue Lakes.
2.5 miles out and back
Rated: easy, moderate
Above timberline, high altitude
Weather can change in minutes
Hiking, walking, fishing, camping, snowshoeing
White River National Forest
Explore more hiking on Hoosier Pass…
Wheeler Lakes Trail, rugged 4×4 road just below timberline, incredible views, you’ll be hiking surrounded by Colorado 13ers.
Mohawk Lakes Trail, a “must-do” alpine hike near Breckenridge, CO.