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Erin Buena

Every time I step out on an adventure I learn something new about myself and the world. I'm fascinated by the way all things in nature seem to work seamlessly with one another, and I'm determined to find a way to replicate that kind of harmony in my every day.

It's pretty much straight up out of Frisco, but the views of Dillon Res are well worth the effort. Follow the obvious trail up steep switchbacks and hang a right after the intersection for Royal and Victoria. You'll summit at a massive pile of cairns, which provide a great view of I-70, but descend just a bit further to the tip of Royal and you'll be rewarded with an awesome panoramic view of Summit and surrounding peaks. Hang out long enough and you may be greeted by climbers topping out on Royal Flush, the multi-pitch rock face off of the I-70 side.

The description is pretty spot on. The incline at the start is the most that you'll see throughout the hike, making it a great option for visitors to Summit County and higher elevation. The trail is well kept and peaks in and out of forests and through meadows until finally reaching your destination. The lake wasn't covered with lily pads as I would've expected--in fact it was almost entirely bare except for a small grouping close to shore--but the water was calm and managed a beautiful reflection of the surrounding peaks and blue sky. Great hike for all ages of people and pups!

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!