Blue Lake is accessed from the Mitchell Lake trailhead in the Brainard Lake Recreation Area. Brainard Lake itself is a small lake at the junction of two major valleys in the east central Indian Peaks Wilderness. The northern of the two valleys holds Mitchell and Blue Lakes, while the southern valley holds Long Lake and Lake Isabelle. The original plan was to summit Mt Audubon, but the wind forced me to turn back at 12,000′ after knocking me off my feet a couple times. After regrouping back at the car I hiked to Blue Lake which did not disappoint.
Trailhead: Mitchell Lake Trailhead
Round trip: Mitchell Lake 2 mile/ 3.2 km (10,650′)
Blue Lake 6 miles / 9.7 km
Elevation:10,525′-11,360′ (+835′) / 3,208 m – 3,462m (+254m)
The wooded Mitchell Lake Trail enters the Indian Peaks Wilderness near the Mitchell Creek bridge. It continues to Mitchell Lake, crossing another bridge over the inlet. From Mitchell Lake you can see Mt Audubon across the lake. Another 2 miles of trail climbs a bit more steeply, then follows the creek into an open valley to Blue Lake. This lake lies at tree line below Mount Toll, a cone-shaped pinnacle on the Continental Divide.
There is an $11.00 entry fee 6/1 to 09/15