Blue Lake and Little Blue Lake Via Mitchell Lake Trail

MODERATE 64 reviews

Blue Lake and Little Blue Lake Via Mitchell Lake Trail is a 6.3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Nederland, CO that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from May until December. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

6.3 miles 1417 feet Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly



nature trips

trail running


horseback riding






wild flowers




There are a couple of Blue Lakes in the Colorado front range. This one is located in the Roosevelt National Forest north of Nederland, near the small community of Ward. It is a fabulous hike in which you will encounter two major lakes (Mitchell and Blue) and several other streams and small ponds. There is abundant wildlife and flowers that offer some of the best photographs. The view of the Continental Divide is also magnificent the closer you get to it. This is listed as a half day hike, but you could do it in 3 hours fairly easily. You will need to pay $10 for a day pass to park at the trailhead.

Love this trail! Blue lake was gorgeous! I did it today and it was the last day the area was open for this season (if you go after today you can still hike in from the road - I did that this past spring to do lake Isabel- will add about 2-3 miles to the hike though). Recommend this trail for sure. Go early because the trail head fills up if you hit this hike next spring! Add it to your list of places to climb! :-)

6 days ago

8 days ago


11 days ago

Started out at 10:30 a.m. and had to park at Niwot parking lot because there was no parking at Mitchell or Long Lake trailheads. No biggie, just added a little bit (1/3 mile) to our hike. The weather was gorgeous; sunny and a little chilly. We were glad to have a coat, hat and gloves when we arrived at Blue Lake. The trail is icy and snowy, so proper footwear will help. I would have liked Yak Trax and or poles. The other lakes have ice, but Blue Lake is still blue as ever. Seeing the snow on the peaks was a spectacular sight! Moderate is a good rating, but my guests disagreed. They said it was difficult at times.

17 days ago

The perfect moderate (I would dare say easy at parts) hike at a good altitude for taking in some pretty views! Started at 8:15am today (Saturday 10/2/2016) and had plenty of parking available. Also, always thankful for a trail that allows dogs!

25 days ago

Gorgeous hike and views! Not much of an elevation gain and this trail wasn't popular until after 9am. There was a light dusting of snow on the trail but it wasn't too bad.

27 days ago

Beautiful! Exactly what we came to Colorado to find.

27 days ago

Wonderful hike and not too difficult. The water is gorgeous. I highly suggest it.

28 days ago

This was a great hike. One of my favorites so far this year. The scenery is beautiful, we saw several people on the trail later in the morning, but it was quiet early. We did run into several moose in the upper ponds before the lake at the top.
Would recommend a sturdy hiking show because of the rockiness, but I would agree that it is a moderate hike, not hard. It took us about 2.5-3 hours round trip. We did linger to watch the moose for some time.

1 month ago

1 month ago

1 month ago

1 month ago

What an amazing hike. We didn't quite make it to blue lake, we went about three miles. Buy we did see four wild moose. They ended up walking into the brush next to the path and we opted not to get that close and turned around. It was an amazing hike with a bunch of beautiful views.

1 month ago

Gorgeous hike! If you are looking for a quick, dog friendly hike, this is the one for you!
A couple things to note:
*A FEE IS REQUIRED to get to the hike ($10 for a day pass and I believe $90 for the year)
*If you like solitude, come early! I arrived around 7:30am and was the first car there. I had the trail to myself all the way up to blue lake, but I saw at least 15 people on the way down. I got back to the parking lot around 11am and it was packed.
*Be vigilant as to where the trail is when you come near Blue Lake. There was one area quite close the lake that threw me for a moment, but once you get past it, there is a clear path right to the lake.
*Lastly, there are bathrooms at the trailhead, YAY!

Overall, a wonderful and scenic hike!

1 month ago

1 month ago

Such a great hike! Very photogenic and beautiful!! It was longer than expected, but so worth it! Enjoy!

1 month ago

Absolutely beautiful! Definitely check this hike out!!

1 month ago

Just did this hike and it was one of my favorite all season. The trail is really easy, but you see countless ponds, streams, and three lakes (not counting Brainard). In an incredible mountain setting.

The plants are changing right now, so there is tons of red, purple, and yellow mixed in the greenery. The rocks have a gorgeous array of colors too.

You won't be disappointed.

FYI- you have to pay to park near the trailhead.

1 month ago