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on Mohawk Lakes Trail

off road driving
22 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.

We did this one today and it was absolutely gorgeous. The entire trail had so many different views and the lake itself was mesmerizing. We started at 6:30a (on a Friday) and there weren’t too many people. We thought the trail was confusing at a couple junctions as there aren’t any signs. There were a couple river crossings.

hiking
1 day ago

On a whim I was looking for something relatively short with some elevation gain since I just moved to Denver and hunting season will soon be upon us. Driving there was pretty easy as the road looks like it was just graded this spring or early summer. don't get going too fast or your tail end will try to come around! There's a five mile dirt road approach that looks highly seasonal, but is fine for all but the lowest cars if you're careful and avoid the potholes and go slowly over washboarding.

The hike itself is nice and relatively gentle elevation gain. I'd recommend some trekking poles for the rocky path you have to take, or perhaps just some sturdy ankle support wielding boots. I'd absolutely come back here, it looks like the trail goes further than the last lake but I didn't have a GPS and it began to look like a goat path. For another day then.

up hill the whole way but definitely worth it for the views and knowing you climbed a mountain

Definitely a moderate hike, I was a little out of shape when we went but it was a blast. We went at 6:30am and there was plenty of parking and it was a beautiful trail!

Quick hike with some elevation gain and great views as the payoff. Limited parking near the TH, so get there early. The trail is pretty much all about going up, but no significant climbing or barriers.

hiking
2 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!

hiking
2 days ago

Very rocky trail, too many people and a drained lake. It should be called a reservoir not a lake. People should be TOLD when getting a permit that the lake has been drained. Huge disappointment. (see pic of Jasper pond)

Hike was a challenge for our seven and nine-year-old but we were able to push them along and they were glad they made it to the Falls! What a spectacular seen. The trail is beautiful framed by mainly Aspen, with some stunning scenery of the cliffs.

One note: as the write up says this is a very popular hike, so there were plenty of other people, dogs, and trail runners but all courteous and friendly.

My wife said it reminded her of hiking in the Swiss Alps! Trails have pretty good footing (no rock scrambling or too much scree). Beautiful alpine views on the way up, not overly steep ( and most of the incline is near the beginning), and the small alpine lakes are in a small forest grove with more peaks overlooking them. We enjoyed a dip in the larger lake, and it was a fast easy hike down.

Pretty views, well-kept trail. It is definitely very short, so would be good for kids/those looking for a very easy, quick outing. We took two dogs and it was definitely dog friendly.

Absolutely Incredible hike! Easily my favorite hike I’ve done in the 7 years I’ve lived in Colorado! Very challenging but worth every moment of struggle. The entire trail is filled with breathtaking views, each one better than the last!

Start early!! Limited parking if you don’t camp at the trailhead and a big majority of the hike is in the sun so it gets very hot very quickly. We started at 7:20am and were back at the car at 12:30pm (If doing it again I would start even earlier.) The 5 hours included water, snack, picture breaks and about a 25-30 min stop at Ice Lake soaking it all in. We went up to Ice Lake first and then over to Island Lake making the way back down a little more pleasant avoiding incredibly steep loose rock.

We saw a lot of overnight tents through the hike and a couple handfuls at Ice Lake itself. When we got up there just before 10am it was pretty busy and only getting busier by the minute. The hike to Island Lake is about 10 extra minutes and although not as blue still very pretty.

On our way back down we ran into packs and packs of people on their way up which got pretty obnoxious as part of the trail is single track and hard to step off and no one actually has their dogs on leash. So, again, start early and avoid the crowds.

Very nice trail, mostly on an old forest road but be prepared for some extended hiking on rocks in places. A good balance of shade and sun. If you take your pup, there are a few small stream crossings where they can get a drink. Near the top there is a nice area to see the falls from about a quarter mile away, but the hike to the falls itself will reward you with some great views back toward the valley.

This was a great hike. Great day and a beautiful hike.

backpacking
4 days ago

Lot was full by 10am but we squeezed on the road. We read there wasn’t many backpacking spots - and I found maybe 3, but were too close to water or the trail. We found if you go past (between) the final lakes and keep going (careful, the trails spur and we got turned around), you follow a stream on your right after 1/2 mi to approx 3 sites spread by a few hundred feet. It was a good first backpacking trip for my 7yo. There was plenty of water, moderate temps, and while we saw a bunch of bugs, only really got one or two bites. We encountered a cow moose about 30 feet off the trail about half way up!

I think technically this is in the Indian Peaks Wilderness and you need a permit in summer, but, sorry, it is ridiculous to print a form and mail a $5 check or to go to the office. Let me do it online. https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/arp/recarea/?recid=80803

Guys, DO NOT CONFUSE THIS WITH SEVEN FALLS! For one, this is free. Also, I had much more fun here.
Keep going up the mountain/road after Helen Hunt falls and you will see a huge parking lot. Go west through the gated dirt road and then after 0.7 mi (according to GPS/Fitbit) you will see the 622 post. My husband and I had fun taking pictures at every bridge we hit. I really enjoyed this hike. From the parking lot to the end of bridge 7 and back, my Fitbit clocked 3.47 mi.
There seems to be paths everywhere, but remember the whole path is along the creek. If you think you’re getting too far away from the creek, you probably are.

Overall it's not a trail I'd be super excited to get back to or take anyone to, but it was a nice short hike with shade most of the way. The final lakes/ponds are pretty with some views of the surrounding ridges. The lakes are small with quite a few people crowded around fishing or lounging. The first lake you pass is mosquito heaven and pretty yucky.

My family did this hike we had someone from sea level and they were able to do it I would recommend this hike for younger kids and a first hike. At some parts were not well marked over all we thought it was pretty good

hiking
4 days ago

Popular trail with lots of hikers on the weekend. Beautiful views and pristine lakes that are well worth the climb.

A great hike to get acclimated to the altitude. If you get an early start then you’ll likely have the falls to yourself. The views are fantastic along the way. We wrapped up the hike around 11:30 after relaxing at the top for 40 minuets, and the trail was pretty crowded at that point. Only 4 stars due to the sheer beauty and solitude of other hikes in the area.

Easily the best hike in all of Colorado - The lakes, the mountain views, the wildflowers. It's just tough enough to be challenging and is beautiful throughout the entire hike. I suggest camping near the trailhead, makes for an easy start and no parking issues (but seriously, if you get to a popular trailhead after 9am and are pissed it's full... you're an idiot). We started around 5am; about an hour in we heard a huge group of coyotes howling off in the distance, presumably about a recent kill, and it was very cool. We didn't see anyone until we were past halfway and started seeing backpackers coming down. When we got to Ice Lake, we were the only ones (on a holiday weekday!) and it was extremely special. Island Lake is definitely worth the additional short trek, but it's not as electric and jaw-dropping as Ice Lake.

hiking
5 days ago

make sure to get there early! also we had some trouble finding the signs haha but it overall was absolutely gorgeous and very nice.

Beautiful waterfalls.

This hike starts with a gradual incline for about 1.5 miles through the spruce and fir forest. Once you break out of the trees at timberline, the rest of this hike (4 miles or so) is exposed high tundra hiking. IF YOU HAVE ARE BRINGING A DOG...there is no water at all on this trail. Just FYI. After treeline you get your first big views of north Arapahoe peak and Apache peak. You are also able to see the lakes down on your right associates with the Boulder watershed. The hike begins to climb from this point up the tundra with a few different switchback sections. You then end up on the south side of the ridge where you have great views of eldora ski area, Mt Evans, and all the mountains on the continental divide looking towards winter park. We could also see Grays and Torrey’s, and Bierstadt, and Pikes peak way off in the southern distance. You head along the ridge here for a couple miles at a pretty even grade until you meet up with 4th of July trail. At this point you can see the peak to your right which is the way to south arapahoe peak. This is why the trail has a hard rating in my opinion. It’s a steep rock scramble up to the top but well worth it.

Absolutely beautiful! A tremendous amount of work to get to Ice Lake (upper) but 100% worth it!

I usually love this hike but the lake was about half drained, almost no water.

Love the coolness of the trails through the forest. The bridges are pretty well maintained. The views are amazing.

Fun hike and cool spot to look out and see everything! We took this hike when we didn’t want a long day and combined it with a visit to Squaw Mountain

Super cool to see the fire tower and the view from it! This is a nice mellow hike for when you don’t want a long day.

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