Editor’s note: this is the second article in a sporadic series on trails on the Western Slope of Colorado.
The trail leading to a trio of blue lakes in the Mt. Sneffels Wilderness draws large crowds of day hikers, backpackers and mountaineers seeking sweeping vistas, frigid waters and a gnarly leg workout.
The Ouray Ranger District recently initiated a study and is soliciting public feedback about the increasingly popular Blue Lakes Trail, which I hiked with my family over the holiday weekend.
After nine miles along an unpaved county road that has seen better days off Highway 62 near Ridgway, we arrived at the trailhead. Over 100 cars with license plates from all over the country lined the road leading to the trail.
Much of the trail was on a steep incline in the shaded forest. The trail was lined with wildflowers, including Indian paintbrush, Rocky Mountain columbines and wild roses.
After more than three miles of uphill climbing, we arrived at the Lower Blue Lake. Dozens of ambitious backpackers had set up tents in the flat area along the lake. Some just came for the night, while others were preparing to hike up Mt. Sneffels the next day.
There are also two more glacial lakes above the trail, but after climbing 2,000 feet in elevation, we just decided to eat our picnic lunch by the water and turn back around. By the time we passed the plethora of other vehicles along the road and got back to my car, I was ready to take a nap and let my sister do the driving.
Avoid the crowds and check out these beautiful photos instead!
Anna Lynn Winfrey is a staff writer for the Montrose Daily Press.