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Breckenridge, CO: Mohawk Lakes

Five-star mountain views, two alpine lakes, and gold mine relics highlight this 4.5-mile out-and-back dayhike south of Breckenridge, Colorado.

Rating

Gold prospectors hiked along Spruce Creek to Mohawk Lakes long before hiking became a leisure sport in the Colorado Rockies. In fact, the lakes were named after one such prospector. Today, the miners are long gone but signs of their existence still remain: weather-beaten cabins, rusty mine carts, and pieces of a trolley apparatus. 

To start, hike 0.4 mile on the Wheeler Trail then turn right on the Spruce Creek Trail toward Mohawk Lakes. The trail passes a series of marshy bogs then gently climbs a trail with exposed and slick tree roots . At mile 0.9, cross a gravel road. This is the upper trailhead for Mohawk Lakes but only 4x4s with fat tires can make it here.

Keep climbing and veer left at the 3-way junction to Mayflower Lakes. The trail passes old log cabins, crosses a creeklet, then swiftly climbs to a cabin restored in the late-1980s. Take a peak inside to see the dusty bunks, old stove, and watertight boxes with hundreds of journal entries.

Next, the trail switchbacks to several viewpoints of Continental Falls. Keep on eye on the ground for a rusty cable that miners used to run an ore trolley along this hillside. The trail ascends to the gear shaft of the trolley mechanism. It’s another 100 feet to the windy banks Lower Mohawk Lake. Look closely for another hidden treasure: Near the creek outlet is a rusty cable car with only two wheels.

Now, climb south around the headwall to Upper Mohawk Lake. Continue on to a highpoint above the lake for snow-streaked views of the Continental Divide and Pacific Peak (13,950 feet). Swing 180 degrees and grab more wide-angle views over Lower Mohawk Lake and into the Blue River valley. Return to trailhead.
-Mapped by Kris Wagner

To Trailhead

From the corner of South Main Street and CO 9 in Breckenridge, drive south for 2.4 miles on CO 9. Turn right onto Spruce Creek Road. Park 2.3 miles later at trailhead (high-clearance vehicle needed for last 1.5 miles). Optional: Continue up rough gravel road for upper trailhead.

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