We hit the road for one last summer road trip and to selfishly beat the heat here in Utah where it's been triple digits for multiple weeks in a row. We set out for the cooler temps, crisp mountain air and high alpine adventure Telluride in Southwestern Colorado. Our objective was to hike to the Blue Lakes area in the Mt. Sneffels Wilderness.
Not to be confused with the Blue Lake trail above Bridal Veil, this hike is a must-do while staying in Telluride. Located near Ridgway, the hike goes to three stunning blue lakes with unparalleled views of the Mt. Sneffels wilderness.
It's possible to make this hike as difficult or as easy as you want to. The hike to Lower Blue Lake is 6.3 miles round trip with a 1,590-foot elevation gain, but it's also possible to hike all the way to the top of Blue Lakes Pass, where you can see all three lakes. That's a longer trek, around 11 miles round trip, and it also has an elevation gain of 3,560 feet.
However you do the hike, it's sure to be filled with wildflowers galore, crystal-clear alpine lakes and plenty of picture-perfect resting spots.
Camping is also available at Lower Blue Lake for those who want to make it a multi-day trip.
Local Tip: Definitely go early if you want to do this hike. The weather here is ever-changing, and afternoon rain/thunderstorms will sneak up on you, which is not ideal above the treeline.
Lower Blue Lakes
Distance: 6.3 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 1,590 feet
Time: 4 hours
Upper Blue Lakes
Distance: 8.2 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 2,400 feet
Time: 5-6 hours
Blue Lakes Pass
Distance: 11.0 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 3,650 feet
Time: 6+ hours
The drive from Telluride is around 44 miles, which can take up to 90 minutes. Take Highway 145 west until it ends and take a right on Highway 62 towards Montrose and Ridgway. Take Highway 62 18.6 miles to County Road 7, which will be marked Dallas Creek, and turn right. Continue along CR-7 for nine miles until you run into the parking area at the trailhead. The road is paved until it turns into Forest Road 851.1, which may be bumpy, but is accessible for any vehicle.
We did our best to pair the Classic Collection Thin in Sea Foam with the color of lower Blue Lake.
Be prepared for rapid changes in weather in this high basin. Often you cannot see a storm coming until the last minute. It is a big area; do not let people in your group wander off out of sight. Make sure to pack plenty to eat and drink as well as rain gear as afternoon showers frequent the high alpine in this region.
Enjoy your hike!