A short, medium difficulty out-and-back hike, due to
the fairly constant incline and many rocky places in the
trail. Depending on where you start, it is about 1.5 to
3.5 miles one way.
Starting elevaton is around 11,000 feet (or lower from
the more distant trailhead). The lakes are around 12,000
Go south from Breckenridge about 2.5 miles to Spruce
Creek Rd (a small blue sign) near the lake (Goose Pasture
Tarn). Turn west and go through the small community,
staying on the main road.
You can drive a car to the first trailhead, where a
sign says it's 3.4 miles to Mohawk Lakes. To reach the
closer trailhead, you will need a high clearance vehicle.
The road can usually be driven in 2 wheel drive, but in
places it is very rough and rocky, with some large rocks
to negotiate. From the closest trailhead, the sign says
Lower Mohawk is 1 mile and Upper Mohawk is 1.5 miles.
Maps: Trails Illustrated #109 or DeLorme page 48.
The closest trailhead starts at a water diversion
facility. The trail immediately begins to climb, but is
not very rough at this point. After a short distance, you
will come to a flat section from which you can see a steep
hill ahead, with a series of waterfalls cascading down.
This is Continental Falls on Spruce Creek, which you will
be visiting shortly.
From the lower trail, you can see the steep hill
ahead, with Continental Falls and the ruins of the
cable car system at the top
All along the hike you will see branching trails, and
most of these circle back to the main trail. These are
worth checking out when the flowers are blooming (late
June through July). There are hundreds of varieties to
This trail has a huge variety of wildflowers in early
There are many areas near the main trail to explore.
There are wildflowers, collapsed log buildings, and rocks
with beautiful quartz patterns.
Fantastic quartz patterns in the rocks.
A short distance further along the trail you will come
to a wye. The main trail goes left, with Mayflower Lake a
very short hike to the right. There are many collapsed log
buildings near this intersection.
Tiny Mayflower Lake, a short diversion from the
Back on the main trail, you begin to ascend up the
flank of the big hill. There are several more log cabin
ruins along the way, and in early to mid July the
wildflowers are fantastic. By the end of August, the
flowers are mostly gone.
When you come to the intact cabin, take the short hike
to the right to visit the lower section of the waterfall.
The sign calls this Lower Falls Vista.
As the trail switches back and forth ascending the hill,
take the side trails to the north to view the falls. On
each switchback, you get another section of what turns out
to be a very long cascade down the entire mountain.
The lower section of Continental Falls.
The trail climbs the mountain in a series of
switchbacks. It can be fairly steep and rocky, with a few
places where you scramble over large rocks. There's
nothing really difficult, but it is a lot of work to get
to the top. Fortunately, stopping to view the waterfall at
each northern segment of the trail gives you some rest.
Rocky trail climbing up the hill.
A middle section of Continental Falls.
The view down the valley is beautiful, with steep rocky
cliffs on either side, and a distant mountain range across
the Blue River valley.
The view back toward Breckenridge.
As you climb the hill, you will see the ruins of an old
cable car system used for transporting ore down the hill.
Watch for parts all along the trail, including the ore cart
in the tree at one of the waterfall overlooks.
Ruins of the cable tower at the top of the hill.
Lower Mohawk Lake is in a beautiful setting, just below
timberline. There are many things to look at and explore
here. The water is very shallow, with the rocky bottom
Lower Mohawk Lake (east end).
Lower Mohawk Lake (west end).
Lower Mohawk Lake from the west end looking east,
toward the trail.
From Lower Mohawk Lake, you can continue on up the
trail to Upper Mohawk Lake. The trail exits Lower Mohawk
Lake near it's center, immediately turning south, and
climbs fairly steeply. The upper lake is in a rocky basin,
and isn't very scenic. There are a few ponds and small
waterfalls along the way, and the wildflowers are
beautiful in season.
Upper Mohawk Lake, just above timber line, barren and
Beyond Upper Mohawk Lake are several larger unnamed
lakes, and the Pacific, Crystal, and Father Dyer Peaks
(all thirteeners). If the weather is good you can continue
on above the lakes across the tundra for some serious
mountain climbs, but this is as far as I'm going.