Blue Lake and Little Blue Lake Via Mitchell Lake Trail

MODERATE 220 reviews
#3 of 108 trails in

Blue Lake and Little Blue Lake Via Mitchell Lake Trail is a 6.3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Nederland, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until December. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
6.3 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1417 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

birding

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

snow

There are a couple of Blue Lakes in the Colorado front range. This one is located in the Roosevelt National Forest north of Nederland, near the small community of Ward. It is a fabulous hike in which you will encounter two major lakes (Mitchell and Blue) and several other streams and small ponds. There is abundant wildlife and flowers that offer some of the best photographs. The view of the Continental Divide is also magnificent the closer you get to it. This is listed as a half day hike, but you could do it in 3 hours fairly easily. You will need to pay $10 for a day pass to park at the trailhead.

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike in forest with the reward of Blue Lake at the end. Went in at Gateway TH. Light snow all the way and some ice

hiking
2 months ago

Road to the trailhead is closed for the season. I walked down the road to get to the trailhead. Trail was great, with minimal snow patches, we were able to get through with regular hiking boots. Hiked up to blue lake, which was gorgeous. Pretty windy conditions up there. Never made it to upper blue lake. Saw three moose right off the trail.

hiking
3 months ago

Did this trail right after the snow storm and was the first one up. The trail didn’t exist so I got a bit lost and post holed my way up to the top. Saw a moose though.

3 months ago

Ryan must have done this the day before the snow storm., because now postholing started getting bad less than 1.5 miles in. Making it to Mitchell lake is easy though. Saw the biggest moose of my life with a calf in the brush along the river before mitchell lake. Got tf out of there quick.

hiking
3 months ago

Trail gets lost around the 2 mile mark, roughly .2 miles
Before the first blue lake. Be prepared for postholes and bushwhacked trails through marshy area and shallow pines. Might be best to wait until the snow firms and the trail can be re-established.

hiking
3 months ago

Little Blue Lake is worth the extra effort. You're not there until you gain the last 300' elevation either via the tough-to-follow official trail or a (more fun) boulder scree scramble. Views to the east on a clear day are amazing--a 30-mile horizon?

hiking
3 months ago

Stunning views, amazing hike, watch out for the weather, got a little windy and soft tiny hail started coming down, but wasn't very wet, a little snow on the trail sides, but just a dusting, some sections snow covered but packed down, a little slushy, was about 40º at 3PM.

3 months ago

very gradual uphill. rewarding view

hiking
3 months ago

Great, short hike and wasn't too crowded. It was fairly easy, I'm guessing rated moderate because the trail was fairly rocky so somewhat technical at points.

3 months ago

great day hike near boulder! it was snowy today so having waterproof boiits with good traction was important. I also appreciated having my trekking poles, especially between Mitchell lake and blue lake. got there around 730am and parking was easy at the Mitchell lake trailhead.

hiking
4 months ago

The most rewarding trail near Boulder, CO

hiking
4 months ago

Had an awesome day today! Left Boulder around 1pm, got to the trailhead at two, and was down by 4:30! An amazing time well spent with good friends, highly suggest it.

hiking
4 months ago

Beautiful hike from start to finish. Walked over a lot of logs going through little creeks and saw four moose! I brought my Goldendoodle and kept him on a leash (usually I let him off) due to the wildlife in the area. Some other dogs ran past us which excited mine and he pulled me down the side of the hill...other than that it was great!

4 months ago

Gorgeous hike. The view of mount Toll is spectacular much of the way. Saw a large herd of bull moose--big ones--unusual but very cool to see so many bulls together. The trail is not very steep but it is pretty rocky and I was glad I wore hiking boots with stiff sole and good support. Highly recommend!

hiking
4 months ago

fantastic hike.

hiking
4 months ago

We got the the park around 11:00am on a Saturday and had to wait in line as the parking lots were full so one car could go in as one left. We waited about 20 minutes and then paid the $11 to park in the day use lot, which was well worth it. Previously, we've hiked during fall and had to park in the lot before the entrance gate (when the entrance gate was closed for the season), which easily ads 4+ miles onto a hike (round trip).

The hike was relatively easy with a handful of lakes along the way. We spotted 3 bull moose at a lake between Mitchell and Blue Lakes. It was sunny and warm at Blue Lake so my boyfriend even took an ice cold swim.

hiking
4 months ago

This was our first time in the Brainard Recreation Area. We arrived at 11:30am Sat Aug 26 and there was a lineup of 20 cars ahead of us waiting at the entrance to pay. They were letting cars in only as cars left. We got in after about 30 mins and the excellent staff directed us to parking for the Mitchell Lake TH.

With the Interagency Annual Pass we did not have to pay the day-use fee.

Very well maintained trail with cairns marking the rocky route between the last pond and Blue Lake. With the windy conditions at treeline I wish I had brought my buff to cover my ears. If you are not used to activity at higher elevations (10,000 ft +) you may feel some altitude sickness. I fell victim to that even though I've been in Boulder for the past couple months. Had to take it really easy for the last mile in order for my nausea to stay manageable. (This was my first hike that went above 10,000 ft)

Beautiful meadows and alpine scenery.

We saw 3 bull moose at the last pond before Blue Lake.

We got back to the car around 3:45pm

hiking
4 months ago

This hike was amazing. Not super hard but absolutely rocky. About 20 mins in to our hike we saw a moose. When we got to Blue Lake the view was breathtaking. So many cool spots to eat lunch and take a rest. The only issue we had was when we tried to go to Little Blue lake. This part of the hike is basically a rock climb straight up the mountain. Not impossible but definitely difficult. Shoes with good tread are needed. Lots of slippery spots. My friend and I decided not to continue up but the guys went and said it was extremely challenging but pretty. On the way down we saw 4 more moose and further down we saw another. Not really spots for hammocks but we made do.

hiking
4 months ago

4 months ago

Always such a gorgeous hike. There's still lots of flowers, and there was even a small herd of moose by one of the ponds!! I heard there were 11 at one point, but I personally saw 5- including two babies! I also ran into two young buck and a doe, and as always tons and tons of marmot. So so glad I went. The whole trail is very rocky, just as an FYI!

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