Explore the most popular cross country skiing trails in Roosevelt National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Did this hike on Friday 8/17 and loved it. Do keep in mind that you either need a National Park Pass to get in or you have to pay $11. At 9 am there were quite a few cars, but I didn’t actually see that many people on the trail until I was heading down around 1130. So, highly recommend getting there a bit earlier to have more of the trail to yourself. It’s a very well-groomed National Park trail, so doesn’t feel as remote or backcountry but is also very easy to follow. I also highly recommend going up to Little Blue Lake. The trail gets less clear as you ascend above Blue Lake, but if you keep going up and around Blue Lake to the right you’ll find it. Me and my dog had Little Blue, right at the base of Mt Toll, all to ourselves. It is really gorgeous up there. Will definitely be doing this one again.

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1 day ago

All in all, it took us 6.5 hours to get to the lake. However, we did not loop back and instead went on to Clark's Peak. I enjoyed it, although I hiked almost the whole way in complete darkness. Although we didn't really get to see the beauty of the hike, we did get to go to an outlook and see the Perseids. In addition, the lake was beautiful at 6:30 AM, there was no one around, and we got to see a moose!

Nice trail for beginner. All the climbing upfront and the rewarding part on your way down. Bring good boots some of the rocks can be challenging esp on your way down.

Short hike but if u move quickly it is a good workout. Lake was quiet, no wildlife making an intro.

The wildflowers are out right now and they are so beautiful!

Now one of my top five all-time favorites. First time I have done this hike. Only went to Blue Lake—didn’t do the rock scramble up to Little Blue Lake. Has a little bit of everything: river crossings, valley views, lake views, etc. I prepared for mosquitos after seeing all the reviews where people got eaten alive, but we went mid-August and some of the wet areas were dried up, so I’m thinking the breeding grounds weren’t as plentiful. We didn’t see a single mosquito. Most of the wildflowers were done, but there were still some blooming here and there. We saw a female moose and her baby lounging in a meadow. On the way back we saw a bull moose across one of the ponds. Also saw various other smaller wildlife. Nice to have facilities right at the trailhead. Went on a Thursday morning at 8 am and got in no problem, but there were plenty of cars in the parking lot.

Great hike. If you're going to go, get there early. Parking fills up and then you have to wait to even get in the park. The path is a little rocky, but not bad and the views are awesome.

Didn’t get up to area until 10:30am, on a Monday however no trouble parking at brainard lake parking. Beautiful lakes, meandering paths until you reach Mitchell lake then it is rocky path up to blue lake which is not difficult to navigate. Trails very well marked. Did not attempt little blue, however, it must be beautiful. I can only imagine. It must be a very steep rocky ascent. It wasn’t overly crowded however once at blue lake you certainly see and hear others. I can’t imagine it with more people. We did have a moose sighting which was a gift. This hike is now one of my must dos during my annual visit Home to Boulder

Beautiful hike on August 6, 2018.

The hike to the lake doesn’t have many views as it’s through the thick forest, but the views at the lake were beautiful and definitely worth it! We did see a moose, doggos got to tromp in a few inches of the lake and the area is very relaxing. We got there about 8:30am and only saw one other group until we began our descent.

Pretty like hike up and old road off the main scenic drive. We stopped on our way to Walden. Saw a moose at the TH on the way back. Porta potty and plenty of parking

Lots of flowers on the hike and a cool lake at the end. In my opinion it was a 4 star hike because it was not the coolest lake and it was a long hike through the forest, with minimal views, to get there. We were also disappointed, as another reviewer pointed out, that there was no real discernable trail that actually went around the lake. To get down to the lake we had to walk down one of the rocky stream beds on the far side of the lake. First two miles of the trail are wide and very easy, the past 3 and a half are more uphill and rocky but not difficult. I carried a 3 year old and my 8 year old son had no problems either. The only real challenging part were a couple of stream crossings on some logs that were wet, from the rain that was falling, and very slippery. Carrying my daughter I actually elected to walk through the water instead of risk falling off of the first one.

A great, moderate hike. My wife and I didn't make it up to Little Blue Lake, and by the time we made it to Blue Lake, it looked like it was going to storm on the day we visited, 8-5-18. Blue Lake was still a great spot eat lunch and take some pictures. It ended up not storming, so we'll be back soon to do a complete circuit.

There were still plenty of wildflowers in bloom, and we arrived shortly after a lengthy bout of rain, so some of the streams were overflowing and added to scenery and enjoyment. We missed sighting a moose with her 2 calves by just a few minutes, but saw plenty of birds and rodents. The route was well maintained and not densely trafficked while visiting on a Sunday morning and in fact we had about a quarter mile stretch on the way back where it was just the two of us. Excellent photography opportunities along the way. I look forward to returning

A dramatic backdrop, wildflowers, wildlife, multiple lakes and waterfalls... this trail really does have it all! (and has quickly moved up my list of favorite hikes to do in Colorado). Echoing the reviews already posted, yes definitely get there early... I arrived at 7 AM on a rainy Sunday and the parking lot was still filling up pretty quickly. Also, the rocky scramble up to Little Blue Lake is pretty challenging and not very well marked... beautiful up there, but certainly not for all skill sets. Blue Lake alone is still well worth the trip though!

my favorite trail

One of the most beautiful trails in Colorado! The Wild flowers were in full bloom. We came across a huge bull moose at the lake. Please keep your dogs on leash if you take them. One not very thoughtful hiker let her dog run wild at the moose and ended the enjoyment for each the moose and people.

great hike,views are amazing. and wild life everywhere.

Easy hike to Blue Lake. Great for an inflatable boat.

After reading many reviews here, we got to the trailhead at 6:30am (on a Thursday) and there were only a few cars in the lot. Hardly anyone on the trail at that time. Around 7:45-8am we nearly ran into two bull moose eating right on the trail! We had just come to the top of a steep hill and couldn’t see them until we got to the top. Very cool though- maybe 50 yards from us. We also saw two big buck closer to the lake. The views are spectacular and have everything you’d want to see/ views, wildflowers were still in bloom (8/2/18), waterfalls, wildlife etc. The entire trail is pretty rocky so it slowed us down a bit.. but we did also stop a lot to take pictures. Coming down the trail around 9:30-10:30 we passed tons of people. If you want to see wildlife I’d definitely go early morning or late afternoon.

Very beautiful lake views! This is the only lake I’ve been to that has a waterfall flowing into it, or better yet down an enormous mountain!
I didn’t go to the little blue lake as the trail got extremely rocky and steep. But the view of the bigger one was worth it!

I enjoy this hike year after year, but parking has become a problem. We were at the park entrance at 8:15 and had to park at Brainard Lake because the Mitchell Lake trailhead parking lot was already full! This adds about a mile in each direction to the hike.
The wildflowers were pretty spent, but the three male moose we saw made up for it.
I recommend this hike, but plan to get there early.

Beautiful hike. Lots of wildflowers, several moose, overall great scenery. The pup also loved it. Parking at the Mitchell Lake trailhead was full, but you can still park at Brainard and there’s a trail that brings you up.

Incredibly beautiful trail. Late July show of color with many types of wildflowers. The terrain is very diverse as you rise past many small lakes on your way to Blue Lake. That final point is worth the effort!!! Gorgeous!
We were coming down the trail around 4:00 and saw 5 moose near mid hike lakes.
Nice parking and bathroom facility at trailhead

Did this today and got to the parking lot at Mitchell Lake some time after 1pm. I think I got lucky bc I only saw one space, which I took. I passed a lot of people coming back, so there was traffic on the trail for sure, but I basically had the last mile of the trail to myself and my dog, which was really nice. I didn’t venture all the way to Little Blue Lake due to time, but this is definitely a return trip. I saw a huge bull moose across the last huge pond before you get to Blue Lake on the way back to the lot. I basically had the trail to myself all the way back, at this point. I would highly recommend this trail on a weekday, super early or later like I went. Good incline all the way up, not too steep and gradual, plus there was plenty of shade along the way.

I did this hike last Sunday (7/22), and I would have given it a 5 out of 5 stars if there was more parking near the trailhead and I didn't have to walk close to a mile on a paved road. Having said that, this was an absolutely incredible hike that reminded me a lot of Sky Pond in Rocky Mountain Park.

I started my trek around 8 am and returned to the parking lot around 12 pm. I probably could have completed it in a quicker fashion had it not been for all of the people on the trail. This is another reason I like to hike during the week as opposed to the weekends when I can avoid the crowds.

It was a very gradual climb to Blue Lake, and I even continued on to Little Blue Lake and then even further to the base of Palute Peak. I found solitude here as no one that I could see ventured quite as far as I did on the trail.

The route up to Little Blue Lake could be considered somewhat treacherous for some, as there are a few scrambles across small water features and a little boulder field to climb up to reach the lake. However, it was nothing in comparison to the scramble up the snow field, large boulder field and scree that it took to reach the base of Palute Peak. I would recommend this to the experienced hiker who is looking for a challenge and to escape the masses.

All in all, this was a beautifully challenging hike that I would definitely do again. I will most certainly be returning to do Lake Isabelle some time in the near future.

Tip: Make sure you start at Mitchell Lake Trailhead and NOT Long Lake Trailhead, which goes to Lake Isabelle.

We loved this hike. from 54 to 12 years old we all enjoyed every step, every stream crossing and especially the wild flowers. Wow! The lake was well worth the trip. Bring bug spray for the first two miles. We were hoping to see wildlife but saw none. So glad we did this hike. It is on my top 5 list!

Line to Lake Izzabelle was too long so decided to park in lot and hike in to Lefthand res. So glad I didn’t follow the masses. Nice spot. Lake Izzabelle next week.

The trail is obvious and straightforward to Blue Lake. There good elevation gain to give you a workout and a mix of shade and sun exposure. Blue Lake is expansive and handsome with plenty of spots for a break and snack. The final mile to Little Blue Lake is another story: we hiked it July 4, 2018 and hit a few slippery, perilous snow fields. We approached Little Blue Lake from the south (had a pond crossing and some intense bouldering) and eventually lost the trail. We ran into another hiker who approached from the east via various cairns. Point being, Little Blue Lake is lovely and worth the hike but it was a real pain finding a route from Blue Lake to its higher sister.

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