There is nothing like a hike in the rugged beauty of the San Juan Mountains in Colorado. Hiking Blue Lakes Trail was above and beyond our expectations. If you are looking for a trail that won’t disappoint? This is it! Wow, I loved this hike!

It’s May and now is the time to plan your summer/fall trails!


It’s Labor Day Weekend. We arrived at 7 am, and surprisingly the parking lot was almost full! Blue skies and warm weather greeted us. I Love September in Colorado.

Passing through the gate and veering right, we were quickly ascending on a moderate trail with Dallas Creek tumbling down on our left, up and up around switchbacks lined with abundant lush greens among late summer berry bushes and birdsong.

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Occasional meadows along the trail provided clear views of the rugged Peaks. Not too long after passing a stunning waterfall on our left, we reached Blue Lake. We’ve now hiked about 3.2 miles.

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Blue Lake is like walking into a postcard. Shocking aqua blue with fields of wildflowers everywhere, even in early September! 

One of my favorite hikes. Breathtaking here … until we went higher. I thought I was looking at paradise, but it only gets better. Watching other hikers high above us on the ridge, we had to keep going.

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Just before you reach Lower Blue Lake, a trail to your left will take you to the next lake, which is a bit confusing to find. Lots of social trails left by previous campers had us searching but not for long. Follow the sign to Blue Lakes Pass.

After crossing the creek, we were quickly climbing up a steep rocky incline that I found intense and strenuous but so worth it!

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The views were astonishing and not like any I’ve ever seen before. We often stopped to look down upon Lower Blue Lake and could not get over the color of the water! 

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Upon reaching the next Middle Blue Lake, it was time for a break and to take in the see forever views.

I felt like I was in Colorado heaven among the rugged peaks of Mt. Sneffels, Dallas Peak, and, I think, Gilpin Peak. I’m not sure which was which, but it was glorious.

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The colors of gold, greens, and rust covering the glacial basin intermingled with wildflowers keep us here mesmerized for a long time. Then, the trail goes another 1.5 miles further, past the upper lake and onto the top of Blue Lakes Pass — an elevation gain of 1,250′ more. 


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Heading back down was slow, but only because I couldn’t stop taking pictures. Head swiveling views!

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This is easily a day hike, but backpacking here is popular too. Check out Mt.Sneffels Wilderness as restrictions apply. Come early to beat the crowds and afternoon thunderstorms in summer or snow, depending on mother nature.


From Ridgway, CO, head west on Hwy 62 for 4.8 miles and take a left on CR-7/ FR851. (marked Dallas Creek Road). Follow CR-7 for 2 miles to the intersection with CR-7A. Stay to the right on CR-7, 9 miles to the trailhead from Hwy 62. (Note: rough road but doable for a 2WD in summer).


Trail # 201

Rated: Strenuous

6.3 miles out and back (first lake)

11 miles out and back to Blue Lakes Pass

Start elevation: At the trailhead, 9350 ft.

Elevation: Upper Lake, 11,720 ft.

Elevation: Blue Lakes Pass: roughly 13,000 ft.

Closest Towns: Ridgway, Ouray


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Can't wait to see you on the trail!

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