Blue Lakes


Jan 17, 2012
Saturday & Sunday, August 2-3, 2014

This weekend Diane and I spent a nice relaxing overnight backpacking trip at the Blue Lakes in the Mount Sneffels Wilderness. I have wanted to hike up to the Blue Lakes for many years and am glad I was finally able to get up that way. The scenery was beautiful and the weather was nice all weekend, too. While it looked like we might receive some of the typical afternoon storms on Saturday, they managed to miss us and we never saw a drop of rain all weekend. There seemed to be quite a few bugs out this time of the year, especially near the large patches of wildflowers we came across, but we managed to keep the mosquitoes away with some DEET bug spray that seemed to work well. While there were a bunch of people camped on the northwest side of the lower lake when we arrived, we crossed the outlet creek and found a nice campsite on the northeast side where no one was camped. Only one other person ended up setting up camp on this side of the lake, so it was nice and quiet.

We left home early Saturday morning and drove straight to the Blue Lakes Trailhead along East Dallas Creek. We put on our packs and started the 3.3 mile hike to the lower Blue Lake.

Blue Lakes Trailhead
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A lot of green along the trail.

Green Trail
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Entering the Mount Sneffels Wilderness.

Mount Sneffels Wilderness
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Climbing higher up the trail.

Up the Trail
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

As we climbed higher we came across a few nice patches of wildflowers along the trail.

Patch of Flowers
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Diane among the wildflowers on our way up.

Coming Up the Trail
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Looking back down the East Fork of Dallas Creek towards the Uncompahgre River Valley.

by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After finding a nice campsite next to a large field of wildflowers at the edge of the trees we setup camp and rested for a little bit before hiking up to the middle and upper Blue Lakes under Mount Sneffels.

Wildflower Camp
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Reflection on the blue waters of the lower Blue Lake.

by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Crossing the creek as we climb above the lower Blue Lake.

Falling Water
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Diane above the lower Blue Lake as we hiked up to the middle and upper lakes.

Above Blue Lake
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The trail above the middle Blue Lake.

Middle Blue Trail
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

View of the upper lake.

Upper Lake
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Looking down the outlet from the upper Blue Lake.

Upper Outlet
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

I climbed to the top of a ridge for a nice view over the middle Blue Lake with Wolcott Mountain in the background.

Middle Blue Lake
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After taking a few photos of the middle lake, I returned to the upper lake to find Diane sitting on a rock waiting for me.

Upper Blue Lake
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Wildflowers along the trail.

by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Looking down on the amazing blue water of the lower lake.

by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

When we returned to the lower Blue Lake, Diane took a little nap while I hiked around the lake, taking a few photos along the way.

by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The bright blue water and reflections were just amazing!

Blue Reflection
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

If you look closely at the other side of the lake in this photo you can see our blue tent just in the trees.

Rocky Side
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Far Side
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Wildflowers along the creek.

Flower Cascade
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

We had dinner on this rock by the lower lake and relaxed for a while.

by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Shortly before sunset I climbed back up above the lower lake for a few photos.

Blue Below
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

What an amazing color!

Lower Blue Lake
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

More wildflowers along the trail.

Along the Trail
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

I didn't stay above the lake for long and ended up back along it's shore to catch the sunset.

by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Once the sun was down I took a few shots in the twilight from a large patch of wildflowers near our campsite. It's a good thing there was no wind, or I probably wouldn't have been able to get these shots.

Evening Behind Camp
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Flowers Everywhere
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

This photo was taken during the brief period of time where everything was lit up by the subtle alpenglow.

Blue Lake Alpenglow
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

While there had been a lot of people on the trail and around the lower lake in the afternoon and evening, most of them were day-hikers and had left well before sunset. We went to bed shortly after the sun had gone down and I was done taking photos for the evening. I fell asleep quickly and slept well all through the night.

On Sunday morning the alarm on my phone woke us up shortly before sunrise and we strolled over to the lake to watch the sunrise. The sky was pretty clear at first, but some clouds moved in a little later and made for a beautiful setting with the abundant wildflowers along the shore.

The first light of the day strikes Wolcott Mountain with clear skies above.

Early Light
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Morning Lake
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Some nice clouds move into the sky.

New Clouds
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Blue Lake Morning
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Columbines along the shore of the Lower Blue Lake.

Columbine Morning
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

There were plenty of other wildflowers, too.

Morning Flowers
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Nice reflections of the calm water.

Wolcott Mountain Reflection
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Wolcott Morning
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

When the sun was up we had a little breakfast and then took down our camp and repacked our backpacks. We left early and hiked back down to the trailhead, which was much easier and quicker than the hike up. We were back in Ridgway in time for an early lunch before driving back home. It was a very nice and relaxing weekend in the San Juan Mountains.

>> Blue Lakes Photo Gallery
>> The Original Trip Report on ADVENTR.CO

Featured image for home page:


Hike Hard, Tread Lightly
May 15, 2013
I'll say it over and over again...thank you. The photos really tie the TR together. I've said this before too, I need to get to CO. Maybe soon. Thanks for the dreams.


Oct 1, 2012
Fantastic light you had on this trip! The ones I like best are the two morning light shots, the lily, and the reflecting shot that looks like an abstract (I am such a sucker for abstracts). CO is such an awesome state! I've been trying to convince Stan that's where we need to live. Maybe if I show him these pictures he'll see my point…...:cool:


Mar 14, 2012
Awesome. I need to put this one on my list. Wish I was into backpacking when I lived in Colorado.
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