Mohawk Lakes Trail is one of Colorado’s best day hikes. Starting at 10,390′ elevation and reaching 12,000′ this hike has it all. Alpine lakes, old cabins, creek crossings, summer wildflowers, a stupendous waterfall, and unimaginable views.

 

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I don’t normally do a trail over and over but this is one of my favorite hikes that I love to show off with friends who want to see the high country.

Today, 2 spunky friends (nearing 70 yrs!) have joined me and their pups.

 

 

Starting on the Spruce Creek Trail to reach the Mohawk Trailhead we found ourselves in a thick forest of lodgepole pines, firs and aspens. This trail is a bit rocky with lots of tree roots on a slight incline for about 2 miles.

 

 

Coming out of Spruce Creek Trail to the top of Spruce Creek Road, head up the road for a short jaunt to the Mohawk Trailhead. Here the beauty of this hike begins.

Views of the high peaks began peeking through the forest as we headed on an uphill trek. It wasn’t long before we were doing a tricky crossing over the creek.

The sounds of a Continental waterfall close by is just the beginning of what’s to come.

 

 

 

 

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Coming upon this signpost all options are a must-do!

 

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Lower Continental Falls at 11,385′ is Mother Nature in charge, thundering down the mountain with water cascading from far above. Need a break? This is the place.

 


 

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Continental Cabin, a remnant from the early 1880s is a needed shelter at times when the weather turns from sunny skies to dark with hail, wind, sleet, and lightning.

A trail you want to be prepared for with appropriate hiking gear. Check out “What’s in Your Day Pack” for a list of recommended items anytime hiking.

 

 

Now onto Lower Mohawk Lake. It’s a 1/2 mile of steep terrain and at times a mystery trying to find the trail through the rocks.

Note: Weather conditions can change rapidly. Start your hike early in the morning and be below tree line by early afternoon. Turn back if the sky darkens or thunder or lightning occurs.

 

 

Watch for rock cairns, human-made stacks, mounds or piles of rocks along the way to navigate you to the top.

 

 

 

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Hike behind the old mine and up the rocks to the path.

NOTE: The views at this mine site are breathtaking of the valley below. Stop and take it in before heading onward.

 

 

It’s getting muddy with a couple of snow crossings (all doable without special gear) as we get closer to the lake.

 

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After navigating through the brush here it is, beautiful Lower Mohawk Lake sitting just at treeline (11,810″)  nestled below Mount Helen 13er and Pacific Peak 13er.

 


 

 

This is the end of our day hike due to snow conditions higher up, however, it is absolutely amazing farther up with proper gear or going later in summer/early fall.

Hike to Upper Mohawk Lake for even more tantalizing alpine splendor and ridiculous views!

From here follow the lake to the left and find a steep twisting trail that leads to Upper Mohawk Lake (12,219′) and hike past a small lake then across open alpine tundra to 3 more unnamed lakes with surrounding dramatic views.

 

 

Now it’s time to come down…

WANT MORE INCREDIBLE AlPINE HIKES?

McCullough Gulch Trail – Breckenridge, CO

 Kroenke Lake Trail – Buena Vista, CO

Ptarmigan Lake Trail – Cottonwood Pass

Blue Lakes Trail – San Juan Mountains

 

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And down … these ladies were such an inspiration!

Looks intimidating in some of these photos, but the most intense part of the trail is the last 1/2 mile to the lower lake. Otherwise, it’s a fairly moderate hike and if acclimated to the altitude it’s a trail you won’t soon forget.

LOCATED: From the south end of the town of Breckenridge (last stoplight) head up CO 9 towards Blue River for 2.5 miles. Turn right onto Spruce Creek Rd. Keep veering left for about 1.5 miles to the trailhead.

You can drive up to the Mohawk Lakes Trailhead and skip Spruce Creek Trail in a 4×4 vehicle. Otherwise, it’s highly recommended to start at Spruce Creek. (I walked the road and found deep mud sections, avalanche debris and some pretty iffy areas). 

TIDBITS

6 miles out and back – to lower lake

6.7 miles out and back – to upper lake

Rated: moderate/strenuous

No restrooms at trailhead

Crazy crowded in summer months – come early!

Nearest Town: Breckenridge, CO

Open to: hiking, snowshoeing, dogs on leash, horses and mountain bikes

White River National Forest

Dillon Ranger District – dispersed camping information


Note: Many of the links are affiliate links which means I receive a very small commission (at no added cost to you).