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America’s Best Campsites

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Blue Lakes
Mt. Sneffels Wilderness, CO

Find an alpine paradise of meadows shotgunned with brilliant wildflowers above an iridescent blue lake, and odds are a lot of other people have already set up camp there. But this spot lies tucked away in one of Colorado’s most secluded mountain ranges, five miles west of Ouray. From this perch above the lowest of the three Blue Lakes, at over 11,000 feet, you gaze out on a ring of 13,000-footers and the neighborhood’s big boy, 14,150-foot Mt. Sneffels. (In case of wind or lightning, there are protected campsites in the trees beside the lake.) From Blue Lake trailhead at the end of FR 851 (Dallas Creek Road), hike 3.3 miles and 1,600 feet to the lowest lake, which has good trout fishing, then climb the slope just above the lake to find this site. Spend two nights, and on your middle day visit the higher lakes and 12,980-foot Blue Lakes Pass for views of endless rows of spires and fields of wildflowers (best mid-July to mid-August). To climb Sneffels, descend the east side of the pass for .5 mile to a cairn marking the start of the South
Slope route (class 2). It ascends a wide, rocky couloir to a 13,500-foot saddle between Sneffels and 13,694-foot Kismet Peak, and then continues west up another steep couloir to a final summit scramble.

Permit None
Map
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Contact
(970) 240-5400, fs.usda.gov/gmug

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