This hike is so good, even the view from the road is amazing. The rugged ridges and 13,000+-foot peaks of Colorado's Mt. Sneffels Wilderness area greet you on the way to the Blue Lakes trailhead (#201).
The trailhead is located off Colorado Highway 62 between Ridgway and Telluride. Turn onto Dallas Creek Road (CR 7 / FR 851) and drive 9 miles south to the trailhead. You'll encounter some washboard and ruts along the dirt and gravel road. The trail begins just past the gate at the end of the road. The drive to the trailhead is breathtaking with panoramic views of Mt. Sneffels and the Dallas Creek drainage area.
You'll hike just 3.3 miles up the Dallas Creek drainage to reach the Blue Lakes, with views like this starting you off.
The Blue Lakes Trail follows the East Fork of Dallas Creek. To the left of the trail is a spectacular waterfall.
In the summertime (mid-July to mid-August), you'll find an amazing assortment of wildflowers on your way to the lakes. Look for larkspur, columbine (pictured), lupine, Indian paintbrush, pink moss campion, and red queen's crown.
If you've made it this far, plan to settle in for a night at one of America's Best Campsites.
The lake's turquoise color comes from the buoyant particles of sediment, known as rock flour, in the lake water. These particles distort the light, reflecting back more of the blue-green spectrum.
The very best section of the 483-mile Colorado Trail lies along this 40-mile San Juans stunner. Start at 12,500 feet and drop past hidden waterfalls into the Animas River Valley, where the Grenadier Peaks tower overhead.