The Spirit of the Rockies
Hike Profiles for Rocky Mountain National Park and Surrounding Areas
Blue Lake (Indian Peaks)
The hike to Blue Lake is a
popular route in the Indian
Peaks Wilderness. The
trail passes Mitchell Lake
before continuing west to
Blue Lake at the base of
Mount Toll. This trail
normally has a late meltout
date, and is snow covered
or muddy for much of the
summer hiking season.
Distance: 2.5 miles one-way

Lake elevation: 11,320 feet

Trailhead elevation: 10,480 feet

Net elevation gain: 840 feet

Mitchell Creek Trailhead

Indian Peaks Wilderness
Blue Lake and Mount Toll
Major Trail Landmarks
Mitchell Lake (1.0 miles one-way from trailhead)
Principal Destinations Near Blue Lake
Little Blue Lake (3.5 miles one-way from trailhead) - via an unmaintained route beyond Blue Lake
Backcountry Campsites Near Blue Lake
Information on Indian Peaks Wilderness camping regulations, backcountry zones, and obtaining a permit
is available through this link:

The Mitchell Creek Trailhead is on the east side of the continental divide in the Indian Peaks Wilderness.
To reach to trailhead parking area, drive on Colorado Highway 72 to the vicinity of the town of Ward. Just
north of Ward on Highway 72, there is a large sign marking a road leading west to Brainard Lake. Follow
Brainard Lake Road for about 6 miles to Brainard Lake. The Mitchell Creek Trailhead parking area is
accessed from a right-hand turn just past the lake. Brainard Lake Road remains closed at about the halfway
point between Highway 72 and Brainard Lake until after most of the spring snowfall has melted, which is in late
June or early July in most years. There is an entrance fee collected for driving into the Brainard Lake area.

From the Mitchell Creek Trailhead parking area, head to the south end of the lot and begin hiking on the
Mitchell Lake Trail system, which is also named "Trail 912" (The Mount Audubon trail begins at the north end of
the lot, and does not lead to Blue Lake). Follow the trail past Mitchell Lake to a log crossing of Mitchell Creek
where caution is advised. Continue on the trail as it follows cascades to Blue Lake, 1.5 miles past Mitchell Lake.

Leashed pets are welcome on the Blue Lake Trail
Sample photographs of the hike to Blue Lake
Mitchell Creek crossing
Paiute Peak and Blue Lake
Blue Lake and Little Pawnee Peak
Mount Toll from Blue Lake
Blue Lake topographic map
Principal summer trail marked by solid red line; unmaintained trail or route marked by dashed red line.
Map is oriented with north to the top of the map
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All photographs are property of Mike Amfahr and are protected by copyright laws.
Topographic map is property of and copyrighted by Maps a la carte, Inc., and is used on this site with permission.