Posts Tagged ‘lower blue lake’

Blue Lakes Trail – Uncompahgre National Forest

Saturday, June 28th, 2014

Lower Blue Lake

Lower Blue Lake

Do high-altitude glacier lakes surrounded by beautiful mountain views interest you?  Well then, you might want to read this and start planning your own hiking adventure on the Blue Lakes Trail!  At this point, I can honestly say that this is the most beautiful location I’ve come across in Colorado, and I highly doubt that it will disappoint you, even if there still is some snow on the ground.

Sure, the altitude may get to you (I topped out at 11,761 feet – a personal best), but if you take it slow and stay hydrated you’ll make it to the top and be happy you made every step of the climb.  The blue hue of the water and surrounding views are what brought me here, but pictures and videos cannot do the Blue Lakes justice… you have to see them for yourself!  You’ll know exactly what I mean, when you peer down onto the Lower Blue Lake, from the rocky cliffs above.

I took this hike as a birthday treat for myself, and camped out right above the Lower Blue Lake for 2 consecutive nights, where I was greeted by plenty of varmints scurrying around, a big buck checking out my campsite (while I ate dinner down the hill), and howling canines of some type up in the mountain tops, which provided me with a wakeup call.  It was truly a beautiful experience, and I’d gladly go back, perhaps sometime in August (to avoid all the snowdrifts), in order to conquer the Blue Lakes Pass and the smaller lake I noticed on Google Maps.

In fact, you can check out my trip right here:

HOW DO YOU GET HERE?

There are actually a couple different ways to reach the Blue Lakes, but I opted for the easier hike and the easier drive, so that’s where I’ll direct you.  So, CLICK HERE for directions to where you’ll want to park your car before you start your hike.  There seemed to be plenty of parking spaces available, and no one will mess with your car while you’re off on your adventure.  The Blue Lakes Trail starts at the other end of the parking area, as I’m sure you’ll notice the sign, info board, and trail logbook.

Want to see the path I took?

I just recently started tracking my hikes with the RunKeeper app, so that I can track my actual path, see how far I hiked, how long it took me, and the elevation change I endured.  So, if you’re interested, CLICK HERE for all the stats and map of the path I hiked (from trailhead to my campsite) on the first day.  You can also CLICK HERE to see the short hike I went on to see the two upper Blue Lakes, as well as proof that I actually was 11,761 feet up (looks like you need a RunKeeper account to see those stats)!

HELPFUL TIPS

Unless you really want a challenging hike, complete with giant snowdrifts to hike over and extra chilly nights, I wouldn’t plan on coming here until July.  I hiked this trail on June 20th and, as you got higher in elevation, there were plenty of big snowdrifts I had to hike over, in shorts.  The snow takes a while to melt off the mountains but, as it melts, it drifts down and crosses quite a few spots on the trail, so be prepared for that if you come here before July.

You will also have to wade through water to continue along the trail, at two different points, so wear boots and socks that dry quickly, if they’re not waterproof!  The first water crossing wasn’t that deep when I went, and only one of the footsteps I took resulted in a soggy boot, so it’s nothing to be too concerned about.  In fact, once you cross the first little creek, you’ll know that you’re about halfway to the first lake.  Now, the second patch of flowing water was a bit concerning for me, since the water was really flowing and it happens to be at the top of a waterfall, but with slow and careful steps you’ll make it across, even if the water does come halfway up your calves.  But you’ll only have to wade through water the second time if you plan on going up to the two upper Blue Lakes.

And, even though I’m sure this goes without saying, if you plan on camping here, pack as light as you possibly can – your shoulders and legs will thank you!  The 3.3 miles of hiking to the Lower Blue Lake is tougher than you might think, and you still have about a mile of hiking, as well as over 700 feet in elevation gain, to deal with before you make it to the Upper Blue Lake.

Where I Camped

Where I Camped

Want to camp where I did?  There’s an amazing view of the Lower Blue Lake below you and mountains to die for, but no one else seemed to set up camp where I did.  So, if you want a little privacy and the best spot in the area, then CLICK HERE for the exact spot I set up camp.  If you star this location, you should be able to bring up Google Maps on your phone on the mountain and have it show you how close you are to my spot, at least if you’re using Verizon.

WANT MORE?

If that wasn’t enough for you, you can check out their official site here: http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/gmug/recreation/hiking/recarea/?recid=32558&actid=50

And if you’d like to enjoy the natural beauty without having to see my face, then you can watch the instrumental video here:

And here are more pictures:

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