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One of my favorite Breck hikes. You do need a good off-road vehicle for that last bit to the top parking lot, but most vehicles can get farther than you think. Bring water and food, this is a great place to spend a few hours at the lakes. Keep your eyes open for the mountain goats, I see them often up there. For those of you parking in a lower lot, there is a trail in the woods if you don't miss it, I don't think you have to walk the road. We saw some people going up after 2 pm yesterday with dark clouds and light rain, not smart. You will be exposed at the top, get there before 9 and you are good most days. Moderate is a fair rating for this trail. Not difficult, just high enough that you should be smart and have water with you. STAY ON THE TRAIL!

I’ve hiked this trail many times...nice moderate trail if you’re in good shape and acclimated to elevation. There is some decent rock scrambling coming and going to the second lake, where you need good shoes and solid footing. I wouldn’t take small children or out of shape friends to the second lake. We saw 19 mountain goats on the hike...a herd of 13 on way to second lake, which was spectacular! Also saw around 10 marmots sunning themselves on rocks along the trail. Please leash your dogs so you don’t spook the wildlife or get your dog injured!

I would rate this trail as difficult. Vail is already at 8150ft with this trail giving you a steady incline of +1000ft which was pretty rough on us coming from California coast only the night before. We went as far as the falls for this hike and took a lot of rest. I would say the very beginning is the steepest stretch, so don’t get discouraged when you start. There were a handful of flat areas a few meters long, with the valley opening being the longest. This area was a very beautiful view of the vegetation. For the falls you do need to cross two creeks but there are rock stepping stones, so your feet will not be submerged. A good portion of the path is rocky, so I’m glad we wore our hiking boots for this one.

I would say this is more moderate hard. the last mile or so was kind of difficult. the top is definitely worth it tho and there is another lake if you keep going. saw some mountain goats as well. cool waterfalls along the way. you can park right up by the trailhead which I recommend otherwise the first two miles is hiking along a dirt road.

on Mohawk Lakes Trail

off road driving
2 days ago

This is an excellent, somewhat challenging hike; lots of different experiences to be had.
The moderate difficulty rating is an accurate description, and this trail is not for those that are not in decent physical condition.
First of all, be aware of the parking situation. There are three parking lots along the trail, perhaps 4 depending on how you look at it.
The first lower lot is for 2WD vehicles; be aware if you start hiking at this lot, the total hike distance is just over 8.5 miles. But about 5 of those miles are on a steep rocky gravel road, so not real scenic, but good exercise. If you have young kids, there are probably better trails; they will be tired and bored before you even get to the trailhead.
This brings me to the second parking lot, which is the first 4WD lot which is about 2 miles in; if you decide to go up the road to this lot, do not think you can make it in a 2WD, and in my opinion, you need a 4WD that has decent ground clearance and 4Low. Our 4Runner SR5 with Nitto Terra Grappler G2's had no issues. There are fairly good size rocks sticking up (8" or so), large divots, loose rock, and washouts that make it a road for 4WD's. We saw a Toyota Sienna try it, and they turned around in the first 1/4 mile.
The third lot is the second 4WD lot, and the road to it is a bit more challenging than to the first 4WD lot; steeper grades, bigger divots, looser rock/dirt. Again if you have a decent 4WD, (stock with frame), you will have no issues. We were lucky in that we saw only the Sienna, and then after that the trail was all ours so we could maneuver for the best lines.
The drive to the 4th parking lot is not suitable for stock 4WD's; it is extremely steep, rocks are loose and dips are big all the way up to the top, which happens to be where the Mohawk Lakes trail head begins! Almost 3 miles in.
From the trailhead, terrain is still steep, but not technically difficult, just lots of roots, and rocks to traverse on foot.and it's mostly shaded. Any person in decent physical condition should be able to complete the trail. Take your time; its about 1 1/2 miles to the lakes and fairly steep walk.
Each of the lakes and water falls are beautiful, and worth the long trek in my opinion. We did the drive/hike in late afternoon/early evening, which makes the views even better with late day/dusk light. Don't wait too long; you won't want to get caught on this trail in the dark; good opportunity for ankle turning and falling.
In summary, this trail has several stages, either with or without a vehicle. A walk up the access road is a lesson in patience, but once you get to the lakes, it makes it all worth it.

Very easy to access, with great scenery. The parking lot only accommodates a half dozen cars or so, and I imagine it gets pretty hot in the middle of the day during summer months as there is little shade. Saw a lot of birds, too. Worth it, would 100% do again.

Second time up this trail. Beautiful hike with lots of things to see. Saw two mountain goats near the top this time. Lake is worth the extra hike to the top but is the most challenging stretch. Not much traffic on way up around 7am but pretty heavy coming down.

Has anyone ever made it to the lake?

Loved this! I’d agree with the moderate description—trail is well marked though. There are quite a few large rocks and tree roots along the way so just take care, especially if it starts to rain. Views at the top are gorgeous though. Didn’t make it to the second lake due to weather but will for sure be back to finish!

hiking
3 days ago

Just an awesome trail with a creek, giant waterfall, panoramic Mountain View’s, wildflowers, and the choice of 4 lakes. It’s a very good workout, so bring enough water and snacks. Enjoy!

Beautiful trail with spectacular waterfall

Lots of boulders to scramble and hop over. Lots of shade and running water to enjoy. Watch out for moose and bears. This was a very enjoyable hike. High altitude, cooler temps, lots of lush forest and beautiful scenery. Most of the people that we met on the trail were really nice and chatty.

A little trail etiquette goes a long way. We were passed by a large group of hikers, blasting their favorite jam, along with three dogs running at top speed - obviously off-leash. One of the dogs almost knocked me off the trail and covered my legs with mud and dog hair. There was no acknowledgment from the hikers in the group or an apology. Not cool. Lets be considerate.

hiking
5 days ago

My wife and I did this yesterday. Nice trail with wildflowers and great scenery. It is a combination of open fields of wildflowers and areas with large shady aspens. There were also some wild raspberries and blueberries (or possibly huckleberries) along the trail of which I munched on here and there. I would recommend hiking shoes as the trail can be rocky in places although I did see many folks in tennis shoes along the trail. There were several steep places where a trekking pole came in handy. I'm 63 and about 220 lbs and I find a single trekking pole helps balance and knees on the steps. My wife and I made it to the falls in 1 and 1/2 hours. I'm from a southern low land area but we've been here about 5 days to get somewhat acclimated to the elevation. While getting a bit winded at times, it wasn't that bad. Would do this again.

hiking
6 days ago

Reviews are a bit confusing - there is the scenic gravel road, but also unmaintained forest service trails above the dam. we hiked around for about 2.5 miles on these and were rewarded with beautiful views, wildflowers, marmots, pikas, chipmunks, and even mountain goats! beautiful alpine streams and scenic overlooks. altitude was rough for a Floridian's first day in CO but definitely a good choice for an early hike! not too steep but still gorgeous, and not crazy crowded at 8 am. be sure to keep driving past where the GPS tells you to go to the upper trailhead on the right side of the dam.

Beautiful trail! perfect challenge for two sea-level-dwelling moderately fit people. the first two miles are a piece of cake, last mile is steeper and involves some light scrambling. We got there around 10 am on a Sunday and it was fairly crowded on the trail, but if you appreciate friendly fellow hikers and cute pups it's not a problem.

Great, challenging hike. You must go early to get a parking spot.

When we do this one again, we will probably make it an out and back vs a loop. Half of the loop is on a gravel/rock road and isn’t very pretty. We preferred the tree-covered dirt trail.

Great hike! Parking was a bit chaotic but didn’t see a ton of people on the trail. We had a large group with several kids ranging from 7-16 yrs old. We enjoyed the hike through the forest and seeing the falls. But the best park was making it to the lake. Our dog jumped in right away to cool and swam around. Highly recommend this trail to families with kids!

hiking
7 days ago

Says Hard but I don't think its hard. Beautiful trial.

I am in Vail for a 9 week post-surgery checkup for my hip. I had a personal goal to do some hiking while in Vail. This trail was steep but had enough shade and flat surfaces that I was able to complete it! The hardest part, for me, is getting used to the elevation. Make sure to pack plenty of water and healthy snacks. I found a walking stick, which was very helpful. We took alot of breaks and completed the trail in and out in 5 1/2 hours. Great scenery and plenty of friendly, encouraging hikers along the way.

Beautiful hike, but super busy (of course, for a Saturday). We went beyond the lake to the upper lake, which doesn't show an official trail on the map. Lots of scrambling and hard to breathe above treeline. The second lake is pretty, but the first one is better. Another group saw some mountain goats beyond the second lake, but they had run off so we didn't attempt to go further. One note on the trail - wear sturdy boots because there is a lot of traversing over rocks and lots of tree roots. And on a hot day, bring lots of water.

This hike was absolutely beautiful! The falls and the views were totally worth the above moderate climb.

One of my favorite hikes. It does have a bit of a steep start and it's exposed so the sun can feel really intense. After it levels out it's a great hike through rocks and trees, over a few small streams. You come to a small meadow with amazing views then the waterfall...so gorgeous!
We timed it right and had it too ourselves for about 20 minutes. The water was cold and refreshing.
We have horses and don't care that there's poop on the trail.
We also don't mind people because they're just out enjoying it too.

Awsome !

Super nice hike! Only went to the first lake and the waterfalls. Overall, well marked trail, few stretches over boulders that were a bit harder to negotiate, well shaded for lots of the way, quite a few hikers. Parking is a challenge (only 3 spots at trailhead) but road parking farther down. Scenery is beautiful. Good for intermediate hikers.

Great option to Mohawk Lakes, which we do every year. Was very similar, but everyone in our group actually liked this one better! Beautiful falls and lake at the top!

Amazing views along the way with lots of wildflowers. There are parts that are steep but manageable. There are plenty of places to rest on the way up that are shaded. Enjoy the gorgeous views of the falls at the top!

off road driving
10 days ago

Drove as far up as allowed in stock 4runner TRD off road. No problem but the road is pretty beat up and has only gotten worse with time. Would definitely recommended a good 10+ inch clearance if you are gonna go past the last parking section. Once to end of the 4x4 road it was about a 30-45 minute hike up rocks and steep incline. Did this at the end of the day saturday and it wasn't too busy. Any earlier and the trail is generally mobbed with people.

On the drive here make sure you pay attention to private property/no park access signs. Apple maps sent us driving through a private development that does not connect, and we had to retrace our steps and follow the signs on the road.

The hike itself was fairly dry and scrubby for the first mile or so, before getting more woodsy. The waterfall is beautiful! Make sure you don't miss the left turn to the falls, we accidentally continued on towards the lake for a few minutes before realizing we had passed the falls. The hike was fairly busy, we saw several groups of people, particularly around the falls.

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