Hike To Mohawk Lakes

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    Added by Jennifer Broome

    3 alpine lakesWaterfallMining remnantsFishingCampingWildflowers in summer

    Mohawk Lakes is one of the most popular hikes near Breckenridge, Colorado. The trailhead is only a couple miles south of downtown. On the hike you get to explore three lakes, a waterfall, and several miners cabins. From the Spruce Creek Trailhead the hike to Upper Mohawk Lake is three miles. But you need a high clearance vehicle to make it all the way up to trailhead. If you park at the lower trailhead, the hike is 6 point 7 miles round trip. This hike is rated moderately strenuous.

    The trail starts along Spruce Creek. The first part of the trail is pretty rooty and steep, but levels out after about a quarter of a mile. You’ll get your first glimpse of a waterfall you will get up close to farther up the trail.

    At the split in the trail, go right to see Mayflower Lake. This small alpine lake sits at 11,285 feet and is great spot for camping and fishing.

    Head back to the split and take the left fork. You quickly come up to what’s left of an old miner’s log cabin. Eight log buildings and a bunkhouse used to be near Mayflower Lake in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

    Go across a little log bridge and up the trail. In summer, you’ll find a plethora of wildflowers like Indian Paintbrush.

    The trail gets a little steep here, but it is totally doable.

    After a quarter of a mile you’ll come up on more cabins, including one which is privately owned. You can go in it as the owners allow it to be used as a storm shelter. There’s another cabin nearby but it is not as well maintained.

    From the cabin the trail quickly gets rocky and steep, but the view is worth the effort.

    Take a time for a waterfall detour. You can get an amazing view of Continental Falls by getting about 20-25 feet off trail. From the falls overlook, you see the thick cable where the ore trolley would run. The cable is connected to a tramway structure that is higher up the rocks. You can either hike straight up the rocks or jump back on the trail. Both ways will get you to the tramway structure that is worth exploring.

    From the tramway structure, it’s not far to Lower Mohawk Lake. You’ll go through the willows as you arrive at arrive at Lower Mohawk Lake. A rusty cable car is a mining treasure lakeside. Lower Mohawk Lake sits at 11,810 feet at the base of Mount Helen.

    Continue hiking through the willows around the lake. Go over some rocks and across two small stream to get to a mining structure on the other side of the lake. You can walk in and explore this one too. It’s worth the effort for an incredible view of Lower Mohawk Lake. Plus most don’t hike all the way around so you do get away from the crowds.

    Head back around the way you came to a trail on the south side of the lake and follow the cairns, rock piles marking a trail, to hike to Upper Mohawk Lake. You’ll probably still find a little snow as you get close to 12,000 feet. The hike from the lower to upper lake is a gradual incline that is pretty mellow. The last part of the hike will take you through more willow to Upper Mohawk Lake.

    Elevation of the large, steep-walled bowl is 12,073 feet high. You may even find a few Columbines blooming at water’s edge, which is a beautiful sight in the alpine tundra world.

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