American Lakes Trail

HARD 46 reviews
#2 of 10 trails in

American Lakes Trail is a 6.8 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Walden, Colorado that features a lake. The trail is rated as difficult offers a number of activity options. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

6.8 miles
1,453 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash


cross country skiing


horseback riding


trail running







wild flowers



Alpine tundra, wildflowers, cirques, Continental Divide views! Trail ends at American Lakes with options over Thunder Pass into RMNP or up to Snow Lake. Spectacular views w/fly & lure fishing permitted. A great backpack trip. Fires prohibited above timberline.

2 days ago

Absolutely beautiful hike! While there are parts of the trail that are harder I'd say it was more moderate than hard. My fitbit recorded the hike at 7.98 miles (from trailhead to lake and back to trailhead) and it generally is less than my GPS records when I hike, so I'm not sure about the all trails site saying it's only 6.8 miles. We were hoping to see moose but only saw one deer the whole time. Lots of beautiful wildflowers, we will definitely do this one again!
Oh, and wear sunscreen, that higher elevation sun is no joke!

4 days ago

Just spent 2 nights up here. Gorgeous in every direction. Tons of wildflowers!! Lots of fun exploring around the basin, Snow Lake and Thunder Pass. Lots of traffic coming in when we left Friday. For more solitude do mid week. Didn’t see area mama moose and baby, but did see a herd of elk moving through at dawn.

9 days ago

Most incredible hike! So beautiful in every direction. I can’t wait to do it again.

16 days ago

This hike is amazing! Definitely was expecting it to be way harder than it was. Biggest incline is probably from Michigan to Snow Lake, but it’s a super quick scramble and worth it. Snow Lake was still probably 1/4 covered in snow and ice, but trail was clear! Saw no moose, but a lot of people I passed had seen a huge one and a momma and her baby. Sooo beautiful. Great one for backpacking

17 days ago

Gorgeous wildflowers right now. Snow lake is amazing as it has some ice still remaining.

22 days ago

Worth the effort just to see the wildflowers and trout!

23 days ago


The snow is gone, time for trail runners and shorts!

1 month ago

I love this trail, but the current state of snow piling up on it makes it impossible to complete in a reasonable amount of time. A friend and I tried to complete it yesterday on June 10, 2018. There's deep unpacked snow that's partially melted covering at least the first three miles of the trail. We lost the trail under the snow several times and our shoes were soaked before we gave up and turned around after three hours. I wouldn't bother trying to do this trail until July, or until someone posts here that the snow is melted off of the trail. We did see deer and a moose while driving back to the main road, though. Lots of wildflowers currently as well. Be sure to bring $7 cash for the park permit.

mountain biking
3 months ago

Saw literally 5+ moose early last fall. One of the best- really not too bad.

3 months ago

Still a rewarding trek on snowshoes this week, but starting to get slushy down low. No bare spots by any means, but made for an icy trip back at the end of the day. Still parking at the HWY14 turn off for The Craggs at this point which adds some distance/time. Always love this hike!!

7 months ago

Snowshoes or Cross-country skies are a must at this point. Only time we took off our snowshoes was on the frozen Michigan Lakes. The snow is very deep right now. Absolutely beautiful though with some great views of the surrounding mountains. Had to take the Michigan Ditch service road from the Cameron Pass parking lot so the trail was a little over 10 miles round trip which was exhausting.

9 months ago

Beautiful trail. You get glimpses of mountain views the whole way as you hike through a nice forest, but once you get to the top they are spectacular. Open, alpine environment with stunning mountains all around. It is definitely worth it to go the extra mile past the lakes to look over into Rocky Mountain national park. I encountered very few people along the way. Make sure to bring exact change as there is no ranger station, the fee was $7 in September 2017.

9 months ago

This is definitely my go to state park for Backpacking. Short but demanding hike. Was here twice this month about two weeks apart. 9/9 and I went back this Monday 9/27 again and went back to Snow Lake again. This time the trail is covered in snow. Some of the trail esp when the switchback started were covered in snow and difficult to see but if u downloaded the offline maps it’s a clear path to follow!
I’ve seen s few moose’s more than my past visit and was grazing near our tent.

10 months ago

One of my favorites. The amount of time spent above tree line makes this a magical alpine experience.

10 months ago

very much worth the trip. very cool at night and encountered some light showers, but quickly left as it came. be up the mountain before 1 PM to select a night overnight spot.

11 months ago

Great moderate hike to Snow and Michigan lake.. top was a bit crowded at points and some people came a day later and set up camp 20 feet from us...

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Incredible hike with stunning views and barely any people on a Saturday in June. This was one of my all-time favorites.

Monday, July 03, 2017

One of the best scenes I have ever had in Colorado. Nice little challenge, took no time at all. Totally worth it, beautiful views and nice maintained trail.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

One of my favorites near foco. It's good to go all of the way to Thunder Pass besides a few patches of snow. Highly recommend!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Trail is not that hard. Made it all the way up in about 2-3 hours. Great views and maintained well. Trail it pretty wide and looks like a four wheeler trail. The lakes were partially frozen in late June. There were quite a few people on this trail. Just a little bit of mud and snow this time of year. Top is cold in the wind and wind blocking shell was nice to have. Walk back down was very warm.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

wide open trail. well marked and I would snowshoe it again. limited shelter for wind

Monday, November 07, 2016

Beautiful hike! My dog and I made it up to Snow Lake and the view down to the American Lakes is absolutely breathtaking. About 8.5 roundtrip if you include Snow Lake. It is pretty tough to get up to that lake.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

First time hiker and was really proud of myself for finishing this. Went a little late in the season (late October) and there was a little snow on the ground that made things more difficult than they should have been. This is definitely back woods hiking and worth every step. We did lose the trail and ended up walking across the south side of the stream. Took us 4 hours at a very leisurely pace :) We will do this again and cross over Thunder Pass into Rocky Mountain National Park next time.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Really incredible hike. I wouldn't rate it a hard personally. Did it in 2hr40 and I'm not super fast/in shape. Leisurely about 3hr30 - 4hr round trip. Definitely worth the drive from foco

Friday, September 23, 2016

Great hike. You can continue past the mediocre lakes to thunder pass or even summit the nearby peaks.

Friday, July 29, 2016

This is an easy hike but lengthy, approximately 10.4 miles. It inspires me to start back packing due to the many places that I would love to wake up to in the morning. Simply gorgeous!!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Amazing hike. Park at trailhead closer to the campground since Michigan Ditch is closed at the top of Cameron Pass. Great single track about half way up. Awesome views of the Crags and lots of wild flowers. Can't wait to mountain bike it the next time.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Wish the state park had this posted on their website, but the road to the trail head is closed until October 2016 for reclamation. So, didn't get a chance to hike it--disregard my rating.

9 days ago

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