Blue and Mitchell Lakes

Boulder, Colorado 80314

Blue and Mitchell Lakes

Blue and Mitchell Lakes Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"This is one of those hikes that offers a big reward for relatively little work. Blue Lake is only 2.4 miles from the Mitchell Lake Trailhead with an elevation gain of just 830 feet, yet it is one of the prettiest lakes you will see in the Front Range.

It is just above timberline with the picturesque Mount Toll rising above the Continental Divide on its western side, and it is deep enough to have a cold steely blue color. As an added bonus, a 20-foot waterfall pours into the lake from the foot of Mount Toll, fed by the year-round snowfields that adorn its steep slopes."

More Blue and Mitchell Lakes Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Hiking Colorado's Front Range (Falcon Guides)
Bob D Antonio
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"A wonderful day hike leads to Blue Lake in the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area. This short hike takes you up to a beautiful alpine lake surrounded by stunning alpine peaks. This is one of my favorite hikes in the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area, and you get a lot of bang for the buck on this hike. Beautiful views, spectacular wildflowers, lovely alpine lakes; this hike has it all. If you are planning to hike up to Blue Lake during the weekend in the summer month, arrive early to secure a parking space. The parking lot fills up quickly in the summer months and finding a space after early morning can be a problem. The hike begins at the Mitchell Lake Trailhead, located near the restrooms at the Mitchell Lake Trailhead parking area. The Mitchell Lake Trail begins at an elevation of 10,472 feet and climbs to 11,352 feet to Blue Lake in just under 2.5 miles." Read more
Best Dog Hikes Colorado (Falcon Guides)
Bob D’Antonio, Maryann Gaug, Stewart Green, Linda B. Mullally, and Tracy Salcedo-Chourré.
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"A wonderful day hike leads to Blue Lake in the Indian Peaks Wilderness area. This short hike takes you up to a beautiful alpine lake surrounded by stunning alpine peaks. Due to the rocky and sometimes wet and snowy conditions of the trail, you may want to consider outfitting your pooch with weather-appropriate booties for his sensitive paws. This is one of my favorite hikes in the Indian Peaks Wilderness area, and you get a lot of bang for the buck on this hike. Beautiful views, spectacular wildflowers, lovely alpine lakes; this hike has it all. If you are planning to hike up to Blue Lake during the weekend in the summer months, arrive early to secure a parking space. The parking lot fills up quickly in summer and finding a space after early morning can be a problem. The hike begins at the Mitchell Lake Trailhead, located near the restrooms at the Mitchell Lake Trailhead parking area." Read more
Best Hikes Colorado's Indian Peaks Wilderness (Falcon Guides)
Kent Dannen
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"Blue Lake’s name is so mundane that hikers reaching its shore for the first time may be shocked by the lake’s drama. Blue Lake is not notably bluer than Blue Lake to the north in Rocky Mountain National Park’s Glacier Gorge. The Indian Peaks Blue Lake, because it is relatively close to its trailhead, frequently receives its visitors early enough in the day to catch the reflection from the blue sky, which doubtless encouraged its naming. However, many hikers arrive early enough in the season to see the lake’s surface covered by ice and any blue in the water is scarcely noticeable. The introduction to this spectacle also is very impressive. An easy walk through magnificent subalpine forest opens on Mitchell Lake, the first of trailside vistas of Mount Toll." Read more
Best Hikes with Kids Colorado (The Mountaineers Books)
Maureen Keilty
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"The walk to Mitchell Lake is a tranquil meander through a stately subalpine forest. Children find it fairy-tale charming as they discover rock gnomes and flower angels along the way. The brisk trek to Blue Lake edges a year-round snowbank before reaching the waterfall-fed lake, which remains frozen until midsummer." Read more

Blue and Mitchell Lakes Reviews

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7/9/2018
A beautiful hike with stunning views. Wildflowers are in full force right now and so colorful. The difficult ascent is so worth the gorgeous meadows, alpine groves, lovely lakes, and stunning mountains.
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7/14/2009
great trail with amazing views and beautiful wildflowers. There were a lot of people on the trail even on Tuesday. Well worth the fairly easy hike.
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10/1/2007
Great early October hike, some snow on the trail, but practically hiker free! Beautiful views, truly moderate trail with short spurts of elevation gain. The basin is beautiful especially with a dusting of snow. Super windy today.
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8/3/2007
This is a beautiful trail. It was pretty crowded, even on a Friday, so if you are looking for solitude it is not the trail for you.
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6/11/2007
Nice trail, but, as of early June, snowshoes were still needed. Post-holing wasn't much fun.
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8/1/2006
Good trail. Very easy initially, rockier and steep at times near the top. Impressive Blue Lake is worth the hike. Trailhead is at high elevation, making the small elevation gain a little harder than it seems.
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8/1/2006
What an incredible trail! Any trail in the Bainbridge lake rec area would be fabulous.
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7/17/2006
This is a beautiful trail. Appropriate for hikers of all ages. At around the 1.75 mile mark, you cross a stream (a cool log bridge) and you are surrounded by awesome, lush wildflowers. HIGHLY recommended.
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7/7/2006
Well, I'm sure it's a beautiful hike, but I took the wrong trail. The guide failed to mention that there is also the Audabon peak trailhead at this parking lot. The trail must split off early from the peak trial, so be aware. Still had a great day hike. Couldn't summit though, because it was too late in the afternoon and thunder had started. The wildflowers are just starting to GO OFF!!
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7/4/2006
Awesome trail with spectacular views. The lake and surrounding peaks are gorgeous. The trail can be a bit muddy, but other than that, it's a pretty tame hike. Get there early for a close parking spot, otherewise you'll be walking awhile to the trail head.
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Blue and Mitchell Lakes Photos

Trail Information

Boulder
Nearby City
Dog-friendly, Kid-friendly
Accessibility
5.6
Distance
950 feet
Elevation Gain
Out-and-back
Trail Type
Moderate
Skill Level
3.5 hours
Duration
Midsummer through mid-fall. The trail is generally covered with snow from mid-November until mid-July.
Season
Indian Peaks Wilderness Area, Roosevelt National Forest
Local Contacts
Ward (USGS)
Local Maps