|Elevation Gain||1788 feet|
|My Time||4 hrs 18 min|
Wow, what a hike and what a workout! Mohawk Lakes via Spruce Creek features several lakes, creeks and waterfalls are the highlights of this trail that has a little bit for everyone.
White River Forest
The trailhead is in the White River Forest just past a small neighborhood. As you begin the hike from the main parking you will be the forest and will quickly come upon Spruce Creek. The main trail pretty much follows the creek so you can hear it flowing through this section.
The trail has a slight incline at this point as well but nothing that is too challenging. One thing to note is that throughout the hike there are several smaller trails that branch off and none of them are really marked to well but it should be pretty easy to find your way on the main trail.
The forest does get rather dense in sections. Being fall it was a nice color combination of the green from the pines and the yellow from the underbrush.
Just over a mile and a half into the hike is where the trail begins to shift a little bit. You will come to a junction with the Wheeler trail. My first bit of advice would be to take the wheeler trail about 20 steps to the large clearing. It is the first time of getting out of the woods and it is pretty. The low clouds on the day I went really gave the mountains a majestic look.
After the clearing get back on the Spruce Creek trail and continue down the trail. The trail continues through the woods again but with a touch more elevation from here on. The next junction you will come to will be a quick little jaunt to Mayflower lake. Its easy to get to and a cool area so I would suggest heading that way.
Mayflower lake is really more of a really big pond. There are tall trees on either side and it nestles up to a rocky mountainside. There are some places near the banks to relax a bit before heading on to the next stop.
The next landmark is back near where you headed to Mayflower. In the woods there are the remains of a log cabin. This is the first of these remains that you will see on the trail and it is kind of cool for those history folks.
Right after the cabin there is a bridge to cross over the creek. The wood on the bridge has broken but some logs have been placed near the broken section that should be enough to cross.
Waterfall and Cabins
Another .2 miles up the trail and you find the lower falls vista on a bit of an offshoot trail. You can hear the waterfall and should be able to find your way over pretty easily.
From here on there are a lot of smaller waterfalls that take water from lake to lake. This is one of those really nice hikes that just has water features all over the place and they work well as a guide as well as some nice picture opportunities.
The next landmark is a series of old broken down cabins and one that is still in use. These pretty much mark where the hike is going to get difficult so take a moment when you get to them and catch your breath and make sure you are ready to move forward.
Lower Mohawk Lake
The path to Lower Mohawk lake is tough. I was huffing and puffing the entire time. While the hike up until this point was mostly uphill but nothing too challenging it is about to get really steep. In the half mile from the lower waterfall to the lower lake you will gain 500 feet of elevation. The grades will stay in the mid 20% range and will top off in the low 30% incline range. The footing also gets a little trickier with a lot more rock.
If you can make it up this hill the lake is definitely worth it! The lower lake is really nice and has plenty of room to enjoy your time there. You can also make your way around most of the lake.
If you have made it this far definitely congratulate yourself! It is a great place to take a little break and enjoy the views and have snack. If you think this lake is nice, just wait to the upper lake!
Upper Mohawk Lake
The trail to the upper lake isn’t really marked at all. It is found basically by taking the trail that is heading around the lower lake and drifting off towards the higher ground. As you are hiking up the trail does become a little more obvious but there is a lot of walking over the top of rocks so you might have to look ahead to see where the path is supposed to take you.
You can also use the waterfall on the cliff as a guide as to where you need to be. You will eventually walk right next to it to get to the lake. The entrance to the lake is stunning. It acts as an infinity lake in that you walk up and the lake is right at eye level.
The Upper Lake is pretty stunning as it is crystal clear and has the imposing backdrop of the mountain as its outer limit. When I was up there the lake was also remarkably still and almost like glass. There is not as much room directly around the lake as the lower lake but there is some space.
There are also trails that lead up even higher to more lakes but this is all I had in me on this day and what a great finish to the hike. The views looking back at Lower Mohawk are also spectacular from this higher level.
Distance and Elevation
If you don’t have the AllTrails app you might want to check it out, I really love mine. It records your progress and is a great way to search for hikes that are nearby and gives you difficulty measurements. According to AllTrails today’s hike was around 7.88 miles and had a total elevation gain of about 1788 feet including undulations. That put the high point at around 12,105 feet. I was also moving for a total of 4 hours and 18 minutes.
The entire second half of this hike seemed to be uphill and steep. Lots of small steps going up the hills. My Fitbit broke it up into two recordings since I took a nice long break at the upper lake. Here is the breakdown totaling over 22,000 steps.
While most of the hike is through the White River National Forest there are some changes in the terrain. The start of the trail is forest floor with large tree roots to deal with. As you get closer to the first lake it gets a little bit more rocky.
Past the waterfall and heading towards the Lower Mohawk lake is more of a heavy rocky terrain and from Lower to Upper Mohawk is more of walking over large rocks. I would definitely suggest some good hiking shoes and poles to deal with the steep terrain near the top.
The trailhead is located off of Spruce Creek Road in the small town of Blue River south of Breckenridge on CO-9. Spruce Creek is a dirt road that is in pretty good shape to the trail head. The trailhead has room for about 20 cars although there are pull-offs and people parked down the street when it got busier. There is a 4wd section of the road past the trailhead that leads to another parking area but I think the trail is worth hiking. There are no restroom facilities at the trailhead.
I really enjoyed this hike as you can probably tell by all the pictures that I took. A couple of the things I really liked were that there are so many good stopping points along the hike. SO many hikes are just a point to point….I’ll walk for 13 miles to the peak and then I’ll walk back with nothing in between.
This hike has lakes, old cabins, waterfalls, valleys. An old mill ruin that I didn’t even get into on here. There is just always something new to look at a few steps from the last cool thing to look at. I think that really breaks up the hike into smaller portions that make it more enjoyable. It also gives people who don’t want to do the entire hike a few places to stop.
There are quite a few hikes I have taken that I never want to do again. This is definitely not one of them. I think this is a hike that could be repeated several times and still be entertaining and I can’t wait to give it another shot. That is saying something based on how surprisingly hard it was to get to Lower Mohawk lake. If its challenging and the Fatman wants to do it again it must be special!
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