I'd like to get out and enjoy a nice *easy* hike. I have been in this area before but would like to get to Blue Lake and Mitchell Lake.
This may be a slushy factory since it's by Brainard. Bring your gaitors and water wings, we may get to swim in slurpee city!
88th and Sheridan PNR- Parking Lot side 8:15 SHARP or I will leave without you.
5.1 miles to Blue and Mitchell is the distance in the summer months when the road is open. We will have a 4.5 mile route each way.
Blue Lake (11,355') is accessible from the Mitchell Lake Trailhead in the Brainard Lake Recreation Area of the Indian Peaks Wilderness. The lake fills a large, rocky cirque at the base of Mt Toll, Mt Audubon, and Pauite Peak. The short hike to Blue Lake is highlighted by a stop at Mitchell Lake, brilliant wildflowers, and a pristine alpine setting. Unmaintained routes continue past Blue Lake in open tundra to Upper Blue Lake and Mt Toll:
The Mitchell Lake trail rises gently in a high subalpine forest to Mitchell Creek and the official Indian Peaks Wilderness Area boundary (.45 miles : 10,646'). It moves easily to the first of several spurs for Mitchell Lake, which occupies a broad, marshy flat on Mt Audubon's south flank (.85 miles : 10,725').
In 1.1 miles the trail crosses Mitchell Lake's primary inlet on a long footbridge and steepens into the valley's center. Blue Lake's outlet pools up in several places along the way, forming large ponds that are worthy destinations in themselves. Look for moose along these richly appointed streams and ponds.
The trail undulates higher through patchy krummholz with a good look at Mt Toll's conical summit. It clears treeline beside a wide cascade and crests on the east shore of Blue Lake (2.55 miles : 11,355'). The open shore offers room to explore and a complete view of the upper valley including Little Pawnee Peak (12,466'), Mt Toll (12,979'), Paiute Peak (13,088'), and Mt Audubon (13,223').
Here the maintained trail ends, but a fairly intuitive route continues up the north shore to Upper Blue Lake, which lies in a glacier-fed depression at the base of Mt Toll and Paiute Peak (3.35 miles : 11,901'). Strenuous and potentially technical cross-country routes continue on to Little Pawnee Peak, Mt Toll, and Paiute Peak.
So ON MY HIKES, this is my policy:
- If you sign up. Show up. Easy.
- Do not change your RSVP from "YES" to "NO" hours from the event. If you change your RSVP within 24 hours of the event, I will mark you as a "no show".
- If you "no show" on one of my hikes, you will not get attendance on the next event that you "intend" to attend.
In my event descriptions, there is a lot of information: Please read it! If then I missed something, contact me.