Hiking to Summit County’s Alpine Lakes

Summit County | Colorado
5.00
1 REVIEW
Trip Highlights

Top three reasons to hike to Summit County’s alpine lakes

  • Trip Highlight

    Admire the varied alpine landscapes en route to the lakes

  • Trip Highlight

    From easy jaunts to more demanding hikes, here you’ll find it all

  • Trip Highlight

    Take amazing photos of untouched nature and crystal clear lakes

Home to a plethora of crystal clear lakes, Colorado is an enticing destination for many curious explorers. From easier hikes to more aggressive leg-burners, the Centennial State’s Summit County is one of the best choices to discover lakes tucked in its alpine regions. And to witness different shades of blue these lakes are known for, you’ll be treated to Colorado’s diverse landscapes along the way. Hiking through dense forests and crossing fast-flowing streams to reach vast meadows and valleys carpeted with wildflowers, and ultimately the lakes themselves, is just a hint of what’s to come. There are several options to choose from—Chihuahua Lake situated at the base of Grizzly Peak or Mohawk Lake south of Breckenridge with a myriad of aspens and wildflowers throughout the way. Climb to treeline through spruce forests to get to Crystal Lakes, or opt for a hike to Rainbow Lake, an ideal destination for a family outing—the choice is yours!

Season

May through October

Nearest city

Denver, CO, is 1.5-2 hours away from the lakes

Duration

1 day

Skill level

Beginner to advanced

Itineraries

Choose how you spend your day

Half-Day of Hiking to Summit County’s Alpine Lakes

Half-day

Get ready for exciting 4-5 hours of hiking to some of the most beautiful alpine lakes Summit County has to offer! Head into the alpine regions and choose one of the four hikes—reach Chihuahua, Rainbow, Mohawk, or Crystal Lakes as you pass through lush forests, cross bubbling streams, and admire meadows filled with wildflowers. Observe the craggy peaks, old mining structures, beaver ponds, and more as you make your way to the crystal clear lakes.

Full-Day of Hiking to Summit County’s Alpine Lakes

Full-day

Get your alpine fix as you head to Summit County’s alpine lakes! Spend 6-8 hours admiring valleys covered in sweet-scented wildflowers, dense forests, streams, old mining structures, or towering peaks before reaching one of your four hiking objectives. These include Chihuahua, Rainbow, Mohawk, or Crystal Lakes. Let your expert guide show you this stunning region of Colorado and make sure you soak up the phenomenal views upon getting to the lakes!

Reviews

Reviews (1)

Amazing Spruce Creek Guided Hike
KGraham about Colorado Adventure Guides on TripAdvisor

Nate brought us on an amazing guided hike to Mohawk Lake. He is knowledgeable, friendly, chill and perceptive. He knew exactly what our family needed to make the hike an amazing experience. It was a major highlight of our visit to Breckenridge!

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Things to know

Things to know

Covid measures in Summit County, Colorado

57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity. 

We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, guides and the communities they’re traveling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Summit County, CO, please refer to Colorado’s COVID-19 Travel Guidelines and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!

What’s included?

What you get on this adventure:

    • An experienced, local hiking guide with extensive knowledge of the area
    • A half or full day of hiking depending on your chosen itinerary
    • 3% fees

What’s not included:

    • Transportation
    • Accommodations
    • Food

How fit do I need to be?

The best thing about hiking to Summit County’s alpine lakes is that there are incredible options for all skill levels. For beginner hikes, if you can walk for four to six hours with little elevation gain, you are good to go! Intermediate hikes will see a little more change in elevation and hikes will start to increase in length, hiking anywhere between four to eight miles. Advanced hikes are full day treks with steep descents and challenging switchbacks. Keep in mind, the weather in summer can be very hot and you’ll also be packing a daypack filled with water and other things you’ll need throughout the day.

Depending on the chosen hike, you’ll cover anywhere from 2-8 miles (3.2-12.9 km). The Chihuahua Lake hike and Mohawk Lake hike are 6.5-mile-long round trips each, while the Crystal Lakes offer two separate hikes—one to Lower Lake (a 4-mile round trip) and Upper Lake (an 8-mile round trip). The Rainbow Lake Hike is a short, enjoyable, hike (a 2-mile round trip) and is great for families and kids.

What do I need to bring?

Here’s a list of the equipment you need to bring:

    • Day pack large enough to carry all the items listed (around a 25-40L bag)
    • Trekking poles (available to rent)
    • Water bottle or hydration bladder (2L capacity)
    • Close-toed shoes
    • Synthetic t-shirt or long sleeve shirt
    • Long pants or shorts
    • Spare clothes for layering
    • Waterproof rain jacket
    • Sunhat
    • Food you can eat on-the-go
    • Toiletries (sunscreen, hand sanitizer, bug spray, toilet paper, etc.)
    • Headlamp or flashlight
    • Sunglasses
    • Camera — optional (but recommended)

Dress comfortably and for the weather in clothes you can move in. We suggest bringing clothing appropriate for the season. Layers are best and don’t wear jeans.

Group sizes and age requirements

Group sizes and prices:

    • For these private hikes, the max. client to guide ratio is 6:1. 
    • Cost per person decreases as the group grows, so it’s the perfect opportunity to hike with friends and family!  

Hiking to Summit County’s alpine lakes can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

Min. age requirements:

    • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
    • Minors younger than 18 may be permitted to join the hike on a case-by-case basis, but must be in the presence of a parent or legal guardian.

If your group has hikers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

Cancellation policy

Once the trip is confirmed by the guide, the cancellation policy stated below applies. 

    • Refunds will be honored for cancellations with more than 48 Hours PRIOR notice to trip start time. An administrative fee of 10% will be assessed for all cancellations.
    • Rescheduling will be honored 48 HOURS prior to trip start date. An administrative fee of 10% will be assessed for all rescheduling.
    • All activities are rain or shine. In case of operator cancellation due to adverse or unsafe conditions prior to start time, first the operator will attempt to reschedule. If rescheduling is not possible, the client will receive a full refund. Operator, including guides in the field, reserves the right to shorten or reroute activity in case of unmanageable hazards or inability of guest to complete the objective. Completion of objective-based routes is not guaranteed.

Getting there and meeting location

To get to Summit County, most people fly into Denver International Airport just under 2 hours away from Summit County. From there, you can rent a car or take a bus.

Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, your guide will suggest the best place to meet, whether that’s at the guide shop or a predetermined location. Half-day tours depart at 8 am and 1 pm, while full-day tours start at 8 am. The guide will choose the appropriate terrain dependent on conditions and the ability of the group.

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