Overland’s Best Day Hikes: Mohawk Lakes Near Breckenridge, Colorado

Looking for a great day hike near Breckenridge, Colorado? Read on!

Day Hike Information At A Glance:

  • Where: Breckenridge, Colorado
  • Distance: Up to 8 Miles Round Trip
  • Duration: About 4 to 5 Hours (without stops)
  • Difficulty: Moderate to Challenging
  • Popularity: High
  • Highlights: Views, views, views!

Introduction

Picture a hike that starts at a shady trailhead where the light is filtered by aspens and the air is scented by balsams. All around snow-capped mountains stretch to the horizon. It’s dry and sunny—a beautiful summer day, with thunderstorms a possibility—as they almost always are—in the early afternoon.

Your day is just getting started, and you’re going to be on the trail for about four hours or so—with plenty of stops for rest, water, snacks, and views. There will be challenges—some steep sections and some elevation gain—but nothing you can’t handle. You’re ready, and eager, but where in the world are you? You’re in the Colorado Rockies.

Mohawk Lakes Trail Day Hike

The Mohawk Lakes hike starts at the Spruce Creek Trailhead just south of Breckenridge, Colorado, a 19th century gold rush town that became a ski resort in the mid-20th century. Breckenridge is a two hour drive west of Denver.

Chelsea Colby, a Rocky Mountain Expedition trip leader for Overland Summers, led teens on the Mohawk Lakes trail during the summer of 2022. Here’s her report:

Important Information About The Mohawk Lakes Hike

Difficulty

  1. This is a moderate to challenging hike.
  2. It is generally suitable for active families with kids as young as thirteen years old.
  3. It is generally suitable for active adults in good shape who can exercise at altitude.

Basic Trail Options (there are lots of others!)

  1. Hike out and back hike to Lower Mohawk Lake (about six miles)
  2. Hike past Lower Mohawk Lake to Upper Mohawk Lake (about eight miles).

Helpful Basics

  1. Nearest town: Breckenridge, Colorado (about fifteen minutes by car from the Spruce Creek Trailhead—see below).
  2. Distance from Denver International Airport to Breckenridge: Usually less than two hours, but can vary +/- thirty minutes (or more) due to traffic on I-70.
  3. Estimated time roundtrip: four hours to Lower Mohawk Lake, five hours to Upper Mohawk Lake. These time estimates do not include stops for water, snacks, rest, views, or lunch.
  4. Starting elevation: just over 10,000’
  5. Elevation gain to Lower Mohawk Lake: about 1,500’
  6. Elevation gain to Upper Mohawk Lake: about 1,900’
  7. Tree Line: The trail starts below the tree line, but pushes beyond it after several miles.

Trailhead Information

The Spruce Creek Trailhead is located a short drive (about fifteen minutes) from the center of Breckenridge, Colorado.

Helpful Resources

There are several variations of the hike on the AllTrails site—check out: 

  1. Mayflower Lake and Mohawk Lakes
  2. Spruce Creek Trail to Mohawk Lakes Trail
  3. Spruce Creek Trail to Mohawk Lake and Continental Falls

Day Hikes Near Denver also has a page with information on this hike.

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    Tom Costley

    When Tom Costley founded Overland in 1984, he sought to create experiences for young people that were fun, where new friendships could grow, where natural beauty was embraced, where there were real and varied challenges, and where Overland’s students would achieve something of importance to them. Overland’s focus on small groups, carefully crafted trips, and superlative leadership has made it a leader in the summer camp world. Overland’s commitment to excellence in everything it does has led to its success: over the past four decades, Overland has served 40,000 students and 5,000 trip leaders. Tom writes about the outdoors and travel from Williamstown, Massachusetts.

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