Big Blue Trail is a 12 mile moderately trafficked trail located near Lake City, CO that features a river. The trail is rated as moderate offers a number of activity options. Dogs are also able to use this trail.
Directions from Lake City: Go north toward Gunnison on Hwy 149 about 10 miles to the Alpine Forest Access Road. Take that road about 5 miles past the Alpine Plateau Road to Big Blue Campground (approximately 9 miles from the Highway). The trail begins about 1.2 miles south of the campground.
We hiked an out-and-back portion of the Big Blue Trail yesterday with our 2 Australian Cattle Dogs. The drive to the trail head was not too bad. We were in a Jeep, used the 4x4 on the way up and back, but nearly any vehicle could have made the drive without problem. The only exception to this were several large puddles of water .25 miles from the parking spot. These were significant and deep due to a recent rain.
This trail is predominantly surrounded with trees for the first 4-5 miles. We did not get into the open until around mile #6. Big Blue creek is almost always nearby, and can bee seen or heard almost always. We saw very few signs of deer, elk, or other animals on this hike, but many species of birds were observed and heard.
There were a few trees across the trail, but all were easy to go around or over. The trail is well-work from years of use, but the trail appeared to be used very little in recent years. We did not see any signs of bicycles, camping, trash, or anything else that would indicate heavy usage.
According to other online reports and map study, this trail will connect to the Uncompahgre Trail, and then out of the wilderness via Nellie Creek. This could be done in one day, but would certainly be a long-haul. We hiked to "Slide Lake" as some folks call it, then for another 30 minutes to get clear of the trees. One day we will return to complete a point-to-point hike and go out the other side.
Great hike for kids or folks who are looking for a less strenuous hike. Just go in as far as you want, then turn around and come out.
Beautiful trail that leads up to Uncompahgre Peak. Gains quite a bit of altitude, so make sure you are acclimated before trekking out (learned that one by failed experience). The trail generally follows Big Blue Creek so there is plenty of water along the trail, along with beautiful flowers and panoramic mountain views. One note of caution, the drive in to the trailhead is a bumpy one and if there has been a lot of recent rain, low clearance vehicles might not make it up. Overall a beautiful hike. I highly recommend it!