off road driving
Good hike. Great views after mile 3 In the talus field. Then great views of Wilson Peak and Sunshine Mountain. Pay attention to the map because it's easy to get sidetracked if you follow the bike tracks. (I ended up over a mile SW because I didn't prepare)
Outstanding but steep hike. Not for the faint of heart - I did get butterflies in a few spots. Gorgeous views all the way to the top. Stopped and made hot coffee with the jetboil just past the first building and simply enjoyed the wonderful view of Ouray and the mountains. Garmin logged 5.13 miles roundtrip and 2,663 elevation gain.
Beautiful view at the end and throughout! Spectacular! Had a horrible time finding trailhead. These directions are wrong. Need to take county road 7 out of Ridgeway and take it for a long time. Also this hike is Blue Lakes, there is a Blues Lake hike right out of telluride so it can be confusing. Once you find it it is a great hike!
I started by driving up from Telluride to Bridal Falls by the power plant. Once the road stopped, I hiked up about 3 mi to Blue Lakes -- although, it was starting to get cloudy and cold (on the verge of raining) once I got up there. The trail up was great weather (long sleeves) and moderate, as it's all uphill. The way down I got rained on (and a little hail), but passed after 10 minutes and led to beautiful, sunny weather. It's worth it for the views of Telluride and the wildflowers! The road up though was a bit difficult but steady, controlled driving (and a 4WD SUV) is all you need.
I drove up to Alta Lakes to set up camp July 4th weekend. It was rainy and therefore the drive up was muddy -- and pretty nerve-wracking. As soon as I got up there, I went over a big dip and honestly thought I might end up stuck up by the lakes...
It was also very cold -- much colder than down in Telluride (and this was only at 2pm). I ended up not camping here, however, it was a gorgeous place!
I went down this road for about 45 minutes (stopped to take a loooot of pictures). I was in my Nissan Rogue and did perfectly fine. Granted, this was after driving as far as the road takes you to Bridal Veil Falls, so comparatively a breeze :)
I stopped toward a large opening and camped with about 6 other small groups/couples. The best place to wake up to -- I will be going back as much as humanly possible!
Trail was great but if you're staying at the big blue campground near the trailhead its even better. 2 roads in, take alpine road if you're feeling really crazy, 1 lane with tight switchbacks, a much shorter drive in, but not for those afraid of heights.