Day Hike to Lower & Upper Mohawk Lakes

Mohawk Lakes

Hike to 2 (or more) alpine lakes just outside of Breckenridge. Take in stunning scenery and a beautiful waterfall, and depending on time of year, wildflowers or fall foliage. 

I recently spent the weekend in Breckenridge, and not being from the area, there was one hike that was on my bucket list: Mohawk Lakes. It didn’t disappoint! In late September, the Breckenridge area is full of gorgeous golden aspen trees, providing spectacular long-range views. In summer, abundant wildflowers are the name of the game.

This hike starts out deceptively easy. But the rule of thumb is that the best views are the ones you have to work for, and this is no exception. The first two miles are a wide, well-traveled and soft trail with a gain of only about 700 feet. Once you cross a 4WD back road, however, the climb—and the fun—begins. The third mile (to Lower Mohawk Lake) has a gain of about 800 feet, and the remaining half-mile to Mohawk Lake is 300 feet gain, with most of it occurring in the last quarter-mile.

Once you get warmed up and pass the 4WD road, the good stuff starts, and this is what makes it such a good hike. There are a number of historic log cabins and abandoned mining equipment along the trail, including one cabin that is in good enough shape to serve as a storm shelter. Mayflower Lake is a small diversion if you have the time. The trail more or less follows Continental Falls, a fabulous opportunity for some photography, as the rock outcroppings allow you to get pretty close.

Lower Mohawk Lake is small and shallow, a pretty setting with beautiful pine trees and lush vegetation. Mohawk Lake is a short but stiff climb up to the ridge. It sits at tree line and is bordered by a rugged ridge on the south, and is that wonderful aqua color that alpine lakes are known for. Look for wildlife—when I was there, I saw 5 mountain goats high up on the ridge! Also, moose and elk love the marshy areas full of willow.

If you have the time and energy, follow the lower ridge towards the west, and you will find three more unnamed lakes in the shelter of Pacific (13,950’) and Crystal (13,852’) Peaks. (I did not go that far, due to time constraints and weather concerns.)

Pack List

  • Water (2 liters)
  • Trail snacks
  • Weather-appropriate, layered clothing
  • Trail shoes or hiking boots
  • Sun protection (hat, sunscreen, lip balm, sunglasses)
  • Rain poncho
  • Camera
  • Book on Colorado flora if interested in wildflower species
Optional:
  • Snowshoe/xc ski gear (depending on season)
Show More
RT Distance 7 Miles
Elevation Gain 1800 Feet
Activities Photography, Skiing, Snowshoeing, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Year Round
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Lake
River
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Views for days!

We arrived at the parking lot just a few minutes before 9am with a handful of empty spots left. We returned to our car just after 1pm though and cars were lined up and down the road. It's a popular trail and though we would've enjoyed being the only ones up at Upper Mohawk, it's certainly big enough to spread out and share the love. The grade and elevation gain is easy up to the 4-wheel drive road much like the description says and chillier in the morning underneath the shade of the tree canopy. A light layer would be good during this section and again at the top once you're by the water, but the sunshine and the steep climbs up to the lakes will have you sweating and shedding it in between. We took the trail up to Continental Falls and continued up toward Lower Mohawk. Others were convinced that you had to return to the intersection for the Falls and the Lakes to get to Mohawk, but you'll find a trail at the top of the waterfall that'll take you there too. The lakes are incredible--definitely worth the steep and steady scramble once you get there with plenty of space to sprawl out and enjoy some peace and quiet. We enjoyed the company of a Rocky Mountain goat at Upper while others fished right off the shore. Took us just a little over 4 hours roundtrip at a fairly moderate pace with about a half hour's rest at the very top. Enjoy! We definitely did!

Worth The Hike!

A pretty decent hike that gets very rocky and somewhat challenging (we had our overly energetic puppy yanking us everywhere) once you're about .5 miles from lower Mohawk lake. But the views are wonderful once you're there!

Doooooope

It was dope


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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