Hike to Mitchell Lake & Blue Lake
In my continuing exploration of the Indian Peaks Wilderness area, Mitchell Lake and Blue Lake were the next two that I wanted to hike. After circling the Mitchell Lake trailhead parking area for about 15 minutes I was able to find a parking spot. Starting from the Mitchell lake trailhead, 10,500ft, in the Brainard lake recreation area Mitchell Lake is a short hike at 0.9mi. When I arrived at Mitchell Lake, 10,741ft, I was able to see a moose off in the distance, partly hidden amongst some of the foliage. The trail by Mitchell Lake was a muddy bog and I didn’t want to stay long.
From Mitchell Lake the trail becomes noticably steeper and continues towards Blue lake. After hiking for about 10 minutes beyond I was able to look back and see more moose in the Mitchell Lake area. As an aside, the first time I saw a moose was last year, 2016, while driving up Fall River road in Rocky Mountain National Park. As I continued up, the trees became fewer and shorter and I entered into the alpine tundra, the view reminding me of hiking fourteeners. While hiking towards Blue lake, Mt. Toll looms like a sentinal on the horizon and surprisingly there were a lot of people on the trail. Just below Blue Lake, there was still some snow and a little cairn. After hiking for 1:16:27, I arrived at Blue Lake and it was beautiful. Blue Lake is a tarn nestled in a cirque of mountain peaks: Pawnee Peak, Mt. Toll, and Mount Audubon. I sat and enjoyed the beauty, the cool, clean mountain air, and the bright sunshine. I hope to hike Mount Audubon in 2018.
Mitchell lake Elevation: 10,741ft
GPS Coordinates: 40.086978 -105.594270
Blue Lake Elevation: 11,329ft
GPS Coordinates: 40.088647 -105.617508
Total hiking time: 2 Hours