Mohawk Lakes Trail, spectacular alpine hike in Colorado
You will love this Colorado hike located just outside of Breckenridge, CO. The trail has everything Colorado has to offer and one of the most popular hikes in Summit County. Heavily used but…
A must do if your desire is to see Colorado at its finest with alpine lakes, waterfalls, historical cabins, and climb above treeline all within one hike.
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You’ll begin the hike at Spruce Creek Trailhead and hike about 2 miles before reaching the the more rugged Trailhead to Mohawk Lakes.
Want to beat the crowds? Go late in September and start early in the morning like the locals do.
Spruce Creek Trail is a steady up hill incline through spruce, fir and aspens. Some areas quite dense. Peaking occasionally through the forest you’re treated with a glimpse of Continental Falls cascading from treeline.
The signs of fall can be seen everywhere on our hike today. Sporadic fall colors showing in some of the aspen trees, the ground cover turning deep shades of oranges and reds. Lots of purple and yellow wildflowers which seem to pop up in the fall.
After passing the Wheeler Trailhead sign you’ve gone about 1 ¼ miles, continue on another ¾ miles until reaching a water utility station. Walk across the road, passing what looks like a dam (unsure) and off the road to the right you’ll find the Trailhead to Mohawk Lakes.
You are now at 11,151 ft in elevation.
A steeper climb, surrounded by Subalpine firs, the terrain becomes more rugged and weathered, more beautiful. As the trail steepens, social trails lead off in several directions to dispersed campsites and views of the Continental Falls.
After a last push up a twist in the trail you’ll come upon an old historic mining cabin. Inside the cabin are remnants of others having taken shelter inside and a logbook for hikers who have passed through.
At the cabin turn to the right and you will find a well marked social trail that gets you up close to the lower Continental Falls.
Don’t miss this! The waterfall is just a short distance and one of the prettiest Colorado waterfalls we’ve encountered.
Almost to the lake now, steep, rocky open terrain awaits that lead up to tree line, about a ½ mile. The trail gets a little confusing but follow some old mining cables that eventually help lead you to Lower Mohawk Lake.
No matter where you hike in Colorado, when reaching your destination it’s always jaw dropping.
Lower Mohawk Lakes sits at treeline, at the base of Mt. Helen (13er). We’ve covered close to 3 miles and are now at an elevation of approximately 11,810 ft.
Sit upon the rocks, gaze at the magnificent scenery, have a snack or keep going. Lots of shoreline to explore, another old cabin and if desired, a trail leading to Upper Mohawk Lake.
To reach the upper lake you’ll find a trail that splits off the shoreline trail heading up steep switchbacks through the tundra above treeline. Upon reaching Upper Mohawk Lake you will have climbed close to 3 ½ miles and will be at an elevation over 12,000 ft.
A trail you want to be prepared for with appropriate hiking gear for any weather conditions.
I started out wearing a beanie, jacket and gloves on the way up and just a t-shirt on the hike down. Colorado weather really is that changeable!
Like this trail? Beat the crowds with a hike to Waterdog Lakes Trail on Monarch Pass!
Easy to find: from the intersection of Main Street and Ski Hill Rd./Lincoln Ave. drive south on Hwy 9 out of Breckenridge 2.5 miles to Spruce Creek Road (#800). Turn right and bear left after .1 miles, and go 1.2 miles to the Trailhead. (You are starting on Spruce Creek Trailhead to reach Mohawk Lakes Trailhead)
Rated: moderate (a challenging yet doable hike for kids and visitors)
5.2 miles out and back to lower lake
6.7 miles out and back to upper lakes
Open to: dogs, bikes, horses
Spruce Creek Trailhead is a popular snowshoe trail in the winter months
Trail #58: White River National Forest
Call Dillon Ranger District for update on camping restrictions and trail conditions: 970-468-5400