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on Mohawk Lakes Trail

off road driving
17 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.

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!

Great trail! Make sure you do the sleepy lion trail up. When you hit Hull ranch do not go that way go to the right where you will find the summit of the trail and a gorgeous view of the lake. We almost missed it and went the Hull route. There’s not a lot of shade on the last 2 miles back so be prepared for that.

on Middle St. Vrain Trail

hiking
2 days ago

WOW. This is definitely one of my favorite hikes and I will hope to be doing this one again before the snow flies. Loads of wildflowers and several water crossings. The trail follows the river, so there you get to enjoy the sound of rushing water the entire way. My 7 and 10 year old hiked 6 miles no problem. Lovely family friendly hike. Lots of dogs. Please keep them on a leash as we had a few encounters with some overly friendly dogs.

Pay the $7.00 to use the toilets at the campground. It is worth it and clean! Best kept vault bathrooms I've seen!

Great distance and elevation for beginners who want to get some incline!

off road driving
9 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!

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 !!!!

not for atv

hiking
12 days ago

Beautiful easy trail! Got there about 11:30 on a Sunday and the trail wasn't too crowded. Very shady and cool for a summer day!

Love these lakes

This trail is dope. Beautiful views, waterfalls, it’s fun to hike, and there are great places to take photos for you IG

Fantastic hike with beautiful lakes to reward you at end. Steep incline and technical rock scrambling to get to the lakes at the end is well worth the effort. I’m a frequent hiker yet only arrived in the mountains the day before (from sea level). The return hike after all that climbing and scrambling kicked my butt. I was thoroughly beat after this 6 hour half hike.

This hike is worth the climb! I did it with 2 other twenty something females, both of whom live and hike in Colorado. I am from Minnesota and love to hike and consider myself fairly fit, but don't get to hike at elevation frequently. This was a moderately difficult hike for me, though we were able to cut a big chunk of the uphill section of the hike off (more on that below). It seems like most people stop after Lower or Upper Mohawk, but most of the hard elevation gain comes getting to those two, so in my opinion, it is so worth it to keep going. All 7 lakes and the views you get are beautiful!

We were able to cut several miles of boring, uphill hiking off based on our parking. All trails map will say you're there when you get to the trailhead that most people park at. However, if you have 4-wheel drive, I would highly recommend keeping going on the dirt road (it is very bumpy, so don't keep going if you don't have the car for it). We kept going for about 3 miles and cut a lot of boring off our hike to save our energy for continuing on to see all the lakes. We passed at least one other spot where a trail led off. Keep an eye on your AllTrails GPS, it will help you tell where you are and how much farther to keep going. Keep to the left at the fork. We came to another spot where more cars were parked (though there were some dotted along the road the whole way along) and when we spoke to some people on the road, they said we were almost there, but probably wouldn't make it any farther. We got out, hiked on the road for about 15 minutes until we got to the end of the road and got on the trail. From there, it was only about .5 mile to Mayflower Lake.

hiking
14 days ago

Start early - we hit the trail at 7 on a weekday and it was quiet, with two other cars in car park. Gets really busy by about 10. Beautiful throughout, especially the upper lake, but a highlight is the meadow and small lake that’s on the right just after you pass the crossing with the Wheeler Trail, about a third of the way in. Most people seem to walk straight past it. Spent about half an hour just soaking up the view and watching the many varieties of birds.

Took my wife to start her getting into shape for more strenuous hikes; moving here to Lyons from NY. About 1/4 mile from damn we encountered a nice size black bear. My wife freaked a little and turned around, couldn’t convince her to keep going. So beautiful a trail, I’m going back.

Such an incredibly beautiful trail! I love that it is dog friendly, because my pooch absolutely loves to hike. We love trails that have water, and this trail has a river that you follow all the way to a reservoir. We also saw a black bear on our hike! Thank goodness it was on the other side of the creek from us. Very neat place.

Sleepy Lion trail is beautiful - stunning views of the dam and Longs Peak, meadows with wildflowers, morning shade in the trees and we had it practically to ourselves on a Wednesday morning. I brought it down to 4 stars because to do the loop you hike back on a dirt road which is nice enough next to the creek but not 5 stars.

hiking
17 days ago

Our group just hiked this trail yesterday and it was wonderful. A few things to keep in mind: 1) Start early. We started the trail at 7 am and were so very glad we did. We had both lakes at the top to ourselves for a solid hour before the mid-day traffic started coming up. 2) Pack a jacket and take plenty of water. The lakes are very exposed and the wind is quite blustery. The steep climb will leave you needing several water breaks along the way as well. 3) Wear some hiking shoes/boots that are stable enough to navigate some serious rock hopping. Overall, an incredible trail and well worth the effort it takes to get to the top.

off road driving
17 days ago

beautiful area, not sure why it is rated 'easy', it's probably a 5 to 7 on a difficult scale. ground ckearnace needed for several areas

You must do this hike! We started on the trail thinking, "this will be a nice nature walk," and arrived back at our car in awe of what we had experienced. The first portion is a forested and family-friendly walk, and we would likely skip this part next time and park at the upper lot, where things get more interesting. But, with little kids the first portion is a nice walk. Beyond that, we explored several mining structures and sat for a bit at the waterfall about midway through the hike. Navigating a rock face was fun, and we were rewarded with a really interesting mining structure to explore. Then the real fun starts when you experience the beautiful lakes. We would think we were done, and returning hikers would encourage us to press on for more. We did, and were rewarded with the view of one of the most beautiful mountain lakes we've seen. At one point, the trail brings you face to face with the shore of the lake, which seems impossible but its true! We enjoyed lunch with tourist-weary goats tolerating us in the background, and then ventured on to see three more lakes across several meadows. We saw many families of all ages and everyone was able to complete this hike. It is a winner in our book, and after writing this review I want to load up my pack and go see it again TODAY!

hiking
19 days ago

I can relate to a lot of the reviews. Hiked this Friday and started at Spruce Creek TH at 7:30 - was the 4th car in the lot. The Spruce Creek trail was a nice start to a challenging climb to Mohawk Lake. My suggestion is to hike the trail from the lower falls up the mine car cable to the upper falls. The falls are amazing up close. It's a challenge, but really worth it. The switchbacks before Mohawk Lake suck - embrace the suck - the lake is worth the climb. It was mid-July and Mohawk Lake was super windy and cold - be prepared. From Florida and was only my second day hiking out in Colorado - did McCullough Gulch the day before - challenging hike but well worth it. Was mostly alone until the first lake - super crowded on the way back.

hiking
19 days ago

My daughter (15) and I finished this trail 3 days ago. All I can say is WOW. The views are amazing. We started at 6:45 AM and finished at 1:18 PM. It starts off with complete shade in trees with a continuous incline. You first get to a waterfall. I recommend going to Mayflower lake it is just off the trail at the fork, it is worth it. Next gem on the trail is an OLD miners cabin that has walls. As you keep going up you run into 2 more cabins, one of which is somewhat maintained. My daughter climbed into the loft and there are notebooks inside you can sign. At this point the trail gets tough. You wined up a steep rock trail to some more mine ruins. Then you reach the first Mohawk Lake. WOW. The water is cold but feels great on sore ankles. The trail to upper Mohawk Lake is steep with some narrow trails with drop offs. It is breathtaking when you reach the lake. Take some food and enjoy the view. We arrived at the upper lake at 10:40 (4hours). The trail continues from here, but due to afternoon showers and many off trail adventures we headed down. We arrived back at the lower trailhead at 1:18 PM (6 hours and 30 minutes). This is a great trail even for beginners in good shape. Very difficult at times but so worth it.

hiking
19 days ago

Very cool trail, not too difficult but is challenging. Gets kind of confusing at points, we got turned around a little bit, follow the waterfall and head right behind the old pulley system and you will be fine. Both lakes were worth the hike. Get there early, it gets really hard to park and gets crowded. We got there at 7 and parking lot was almost full.

This is a beautiful trail. Pretty easy and makes for a good walk through the woods. Would be a great trail for trail running and kiddos. Trail runs right next to the river and stays within the shade of the trees. If you’re looking for a more relaxing “hike” this is the trail.

The view from on top of Upper Mohawk Lake is the prettiest I’ve ever seen. It gets tough at the end but it is WELL worth the trek. It is pretty windy at the top but on Lower Mohawk it was calmer and some people were even fishing. We did not get there until 11am but were able to park on the street. It took us 5 hours round trip with several stops.

This is a beautiful hike but there are issues. While the first 1/2 is moderate the second 1/2 is strenuous. More importantly the last 1/2 to 3/4 miles up to lower Mohawk Lake consist of exposed switchbacks on a rocky scree slope and the trail is hard to find at the top. We made it up and back in 6 hours but I would recommend a full day leaving the trail head no later than 8a. I wanted to fish but we did not have the energy to make it to upper Mohawk and the wind was blowing around 20 mph by the time we got to lower Mohawk. This is not the hike to pick for a relaxing afternoon.

Nice trail. We didn’t do the hummingbird switchbacks today because we were looking for a quick hike. Saving it for next time. From the sleepy lion loop you get a nice view of the reservoir from up above. You also get to walk along the river. Not too difficult. Some steep parts but plenty of flat stretches as well. The sky did turn dark behind us and we heard thunder while on the way back while the sky ahead was perfectly blue. There are bathrooms just past the parking lot. Obey the rules—there was a ranger very vigilantly watching.

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