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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
14 hours 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.

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.

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
1 day 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!

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.

Challenging (moderate/difficult) to Surprise Lake and a more moderate second half to Upper Cataract Lake. We left the TH at 6:30am, arrived at Upper Cataract shortly after 9:00am. We fished with small spinners and spoons and caught four brook trout. Great hike, we will be back to camp at Surprise Lake!

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.

The first mile was OK but after that it is just cut down dead trees and not very pretty. We turned around after two miles in...kind of a disappointing hike. Maybe further in it gets better but not from what we could see.

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!

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.

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!

8 days ago

Did this hike 8/8. Beautiful hike but definitely not difficult. Shared the trail with a quite a few bikers who all didn’t understand that the trail was to be shared.

off road driving
8 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.

hiking
9 days ago

As everyone has said- AMAZING hike! Although I will just add my 2 cents about the “rough road” that you can drive on to get you closer to the actual trail...I was in a Honda Pilot (4wd and good clearance)...and I managed to drive maybe a half mile up that “road” and decided to park it. Pretty intense off-roading conditions! I’m no off-road expert- but I live in Utah and drive on many dirt roads- and this one was pretty intense. However- definitely saw many other 4WD vehicles (some with less clearance than mine!) that made it up further- so maybe I’m a wimp:) Anyway- we did walk the 1.5 miles to the start of the actual trail and didn’t mind...I was with my 15 yo nephew and my little dog and we only made it to lower Mohawk lake and decided to turn around. Would have liked to have pressed on to the upper lake, but the rock scrambling sections were pretty intense for my dog so we turned back- but still an absolutely gorgeous day! (Bonus- as we were walking up the road around 8:30 am- there was a mama and baby moose grazing in the first meadow you see from the road- looking to the left.)

hiking
9 days ago

Great trail for intermediate-experienced hikers with incredible views near the top! Trail was well maintained with various signs along the way. From the main parking lot, you have the option to go on the Spruce Creek trail (walking) or continuing on to the right with an off-road vehicle (accurately displayed with a dashed blue line). It does save some time to use the off-road trail if you are not looking to go the full distance from the main parking lot. But I definitely recommend the Spruce Creek Trail route for nice views through the trees. If you do choose the off-road trail there are multiple spots where low-clearance and 2-wheel-drive vehicles could run into issues, especially after a storm. There were multiple cars parked off to the side at various spots on the gravel road but there are two big dirt lots for parking before eventually joining up with Spruce Creek trail and then leading onto Mayflower Lake (the first lake). We stopped just beyond Mayflower Lake after keeping to the right of some cabins at the base of the incredible waterfalls. It is a bit of a scramble around the waterfalls but I highly recommend seeing them! We also passed hikers on the way down that said the higher lakes were unbelievable! We will definitely be stopping again! Cheers!

The views are beautiful, but I didn't enjoy this hike that much. As an older (but not that old) and generally uncoordinated hiker, I felt like this hike was a sprained ankle waiting to happen. Luckily it didn't happen, but I spend a lot of time watching my feet and watching my dog's paws as we hiked over rocks and roots. What was interesting about this trail was the variety! It was like four trails in one: it started with a walk on a road, then through shady forest trails, after the lake and waterfalls the trail was narrow, steep and challenging, and then a relatively level trail through tundra under the shadow of Quandary.

Amazing Hike! Day 2 in Breck and we all felt well enough to take on a hike. This one was worth it! Take your time and make it to the lake at the end of the trail. Venture just a bit further up some of the smaller hills around the lake and you will have made it 12k+ in elevation. Best thing is it sits under Quandry one of the well know 14ers. On the list of hikes of conquer. Great place to rest, soak in some sun and enjoy the beautiful views. Only took the teenagers 20 mins to get down! Didn't think it was crowded, parking was easy when we arrived at 11am. Worth the trip!

Today was a great hike. We went to the waterfall just before the second lake and took a lovely catnap on the rocks for 10 minutes. The cabin and streams in the way up were a great surprise.

hiking
10 days ago

Great hike! All kinds of terrain. Beautiful views!Made it up to the waterfall and to the first lake. Took off my shoes to feel the water! Wow was it cold but it felt great! Love hiking with my wonderful family!

hiking
10 days ago

This trail was beautiful, well maintained and a relatively easy hike with kids. The lake at the end is a perfect spot to relax before looping back.

Great hike. Done 2nd year in a row. I’ll do it 3rd year next summer. We have 14 yr old, 11 yr old, and a 7 yr old. It’s a challenge for the young ones, but the views and waterfalls are worth the challenge. Recommend you hike back on the road.

hiking
11 days ago

OMG do not stop at the first parking lot where the AllTrails map program says to stop ! It adds 1.5 to 2 hrs to your hike of not so pretty walking !!! If you have 4wd or Awd or decent clearance on your vehicle keep driving for another 1-2 miles to get to another trailhead . I saw Yukon’s , Subaru’s, big SUV’s further up the road at parking lot 2,3 and 4 . To get much past parking lot 4 on the road you need off-road 4wd. The first 1/4 mike is the worst and the road improves after that first part and goes for over 2 miles further. . It makes so much better sense to start at end of road and save 2 hrs of walking in and out on the road or through forest on roots!! Also enables you to have time to go to Lake 3,4 ,5 or even 6 for the adventurous!!
Spend your time checking out gorgeous lakes and not walking on road you could have driven on...
the lakes are amazing and all different which is cool. Basically, the higher you climb the prettier it gets !!!!

Beautiful Trail with challenging terrain. Will definitely like to do again and visit the upper lakes when I have more time.

Beautiful, challenging trail. Best to start early. Heavy traffic late morning.

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