After hiking quite a few trails in the Frisco area of Summit County, last month my husband and I decided to venture on a hike in the Breckenridge area. I had heard the Mohawk Lake trail has incredible views, so thought we'd see for ourselves! From I-70 and Frisco take highway 9 to Breck, after passing through Breck keep driving to the Blue River area and turn right onto Spruce Creek Road. You will veer to the left and follow the road about 1.5 miles to the trailhead (drive time from I-70 will be about 20-25 minutes). Keep in mind this is a very popular hike (if you like hikes that you won't encounter other people on the trail then this one isn't for you!). The day we hiked there was a Saturday in July... so if you have a flexible schedule I recommend hiking this on a less crowded weekday. Since it was a gorgeous day with no storms predicted we started hiking late in the morning. Most people had started a few hours earlier, so we had to park quite a ways from the trailhead. There is plenty of road side parking, but be aware you may get some extra exercise if it's busy!
The trailhead we started at was the lower portion (there's a starting point closer that requires a 4 wheel drive - it shortens the hike to about 3 miles roundtrip). Starting the hike here makes the trip about 6.5 miles roundtrip. Depending on breaks and photos stops it's about 4 hours up and back. At the beginning there are quite a few roots and small rocks on the trail and you're surrounded by large trees. Since this trailhead starts at almost 10,000 feet you'll be above tree line and rewarded with fantastic views for a large portion of the hike. The elevation gain is a little over 2000 feet if you go to Upper Mohawk Lake (elevation is 12,100 at the lake). This trail is considered a moderate level hike, but if you don't live at altitude you'll be noticing the less oxygen as parts of it are a fairly rigorous climb. The first half of the hike is more child friendly, as the upper portions have more climbing on boulders and steep inclines.
After experiencing this hike, I understand it's popularity! This trail has an abundance of things to see along the way. Besides the truly spectacular scenery (I know, this is overused - but so true here in Colorado!), you'll also see remnants of old mines and an old miner's house. There are small lakes along the way and make sure to view the Continental Falls, as there are a few points you can access it from the trail. It's nice to take a few moments break to have a picnic, enjoy the views, or just listen to the rushing water.
We were also lucky enough to see goats as we neared Upper Mohawk Lake! One peaked at me through the bushes, until our dog scared him away up the snow bank! This was Balto's first encounter with goats, so luckily my husband didn't get pulled over the cliff while holding his leash!
Hiking to Mohawk Lake was one of our favorite hikes we did this summer! Wild life, lakes, terrific views, a rushing waterfall, mines to explore - it has something for everyone! After your hike I suggest stopping in Breck for a beer or ice cream - you've earned it!
Until the next adventure - bon voyage!