Blue Lake (11,360′), Indian Peaks Wilderness

Blue Lake (11,360′), Indian Peaks Wilderness

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.

 

StatsRoute DescriptionDirectionsNotes

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

GPX file

GPX file was drawn because the GPS died after my attempt on Mt Audubon.

 

Blue Lake trek

 

Pictures

  • Blue Lake and Mt Toll

    Blue Lake and Mt Toll

  • Mt Audubon trailhead

    Mt Audubon trailhead

  • Early morning along the Mt Audubon trail

    Early morning along the Mt Audubon trail

  • Old bristle-cone pines along the trail

    Old bristle-cone pines along the trail

  • In Mt Audubon's morning shadow

    In Mt Audubon's morning shadow

  • Mitchell Lake below

    Mitchell Lake below

  • View of Longs Peak and Mt Meeker to the north

    View of Longs Peak and Mt Meeker to the north

  • Southeast views - the winds were howling. I was blown off my feet with no signs of calming down, so I turned around and headed back.

    Southeast views - the winds were howling. I was blown off my feet with no signs of calming down, so I turned around and headed back.

  • Mitchell Lake trail to Blue Lake

    Mitchell Lake trail to Blue Lake

  • Mitchell Creek draining to Brainard Lake

    Mitchell Creek draining to Brainard Lake

  • Mitchell Lake coming into view

    Mitchell Lake coming into view

  • Mitchell Lake and Mt Audubon

    Mitchell Lake and Mt Audubon

  • Mitchell Lake shore looking east

    Mitchell Lake shore looking east

  • Mt Audubon

    Mt Audubon

  • Moraine on the way to Blue Lake

    Moraine on the way to Blue Lake

  • View of Mt Audubon from the upper valley

    View of Mt Audubon from the upper valley

  • Mt Toll (12,979) coming into view

    Mt Toll (12,979) coming into view

  • Looking south

    Looking south

  • Late summer foliage below Mt Audubon

    Late summer foliage below Mt Audubon

  • Alpine shelf below Blue Lake

    Alpine shelf below Blue Lake

  • Mt Toll comes into view again

    Mt Toll comes into view again

  • Blue Lake comes into view

    Blue Lake comes into view

  • Blue Lake and Mt Toll, Indian Peaks Wilderness

    Blue Lake and Mt Toll, Indian Peaks Wilderness

  • Blue Lake and Pawnee Peak

    Blue Lake and Pawnee Peak

  • Blue Lake shoreline with a waterfall across the lake

    Blue Lake shoreline with a waterfall across the lake

  • Blue Lake, Indian Peaks Wilderness

    Blue Lake, Indian Peaks Wilderness

  • Blue Lake with a waterfall right of center

    Blue Lake with a waterfall right of center

  • Heading back to Mitchell Lake

    Heading back to Mitchell Lake

  • Last look at Mitchell Lake and Mt Audubon

    Last look at Mitchell Lake and Mt Audubon

 

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