dogs on leash
Asked directions to the trail head which is not clearly marked from the road. Needed to drive into the Mesa Lakes Lodge and turn left just before the cabins. Tarred one lane road takes you out behind the cabins to a parking area just beyond the trail head. Was a very nice easy hike around Mesa Lake. While there, I also did the Lost Lake trail. Not having been in CO to long, I had to watch my pace and breathing as climbed in altitude. But the trail was easy to follow and lots to look at along the way. Was a busy trail with a number of people and everyone was friendly. It was a great day!
This trail is really fun. Lots of up and downhills so you don't get too tired at once. Does have some tricky technical areas, especially if you go up into the mine. Beautiful scenery! Not sure about the 5.3 miles though. The sign at the trailhead says 1.3 miles, that's 2.6 round trip and going off my step counter and the time it took me and a young kid, I don't see the 5 miles being accurate
There are quite a few different trails in this area offshooting from the main trail. You have to pay $6 cash only for day use or just drive slightly further up the road to the Mesa Lakes Lodge and start from up there. Also be aware that the elevation is almost 10,000 feet so if you're acclimated to lower elevations you might find you're short of breath a little faster or get a headache. Beautiful leisurely walk.
Two trailheads, east & west, both are easy to find. Trail is well marked the entire way. The crest was pretty awesome of the first half of the trail. Next half ain't anything special, all the trees are marked or dying and heard a bunch of human noises from below. It's nice walking up above on the crest, than down around the lakes/meadows. Lots of birds and saw some deer, only one other person was on the trail this morning so it was very peaceful. It is definitely over 10.5 miles starting at the west trailhead to finish the full loop, check out my recording.
Beautiful trail, did the upper portion first, so had great morning views. Bugs were not bad and the temperature and breeze were perfect. I would rate the trail as moderate with a few steep-ish uphill portions. One stream crossing on the lower portion but not difficult.