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|Trail Name||Mohawk Lakes|
|Elevation Gain||1,750 Feet|
|Low Point||10,350 Feet|
|High Point||12,100 Feet|
|Trip Reports||Mohawk Lakes|
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The hike to Mohawk Lakes and Continental Falls includes sweeping vistas, abandoned log cabins, and ore cars, waterfalls and lakes. This is an intermediate-level hike that shouldn't be missed.
How to get there
Go south from Breckenridge on US Hwy 9 about 2.5 miles to Spruce Creek Rd. (CR 800), on the west side of Hwy 9, near the lake called Goose Pasture Tarn). Turn right (west) and stay on the main road about 1.2 miles to the Spruce Creek Trail parking area and trailhead. No facilities.
The first trailhead is accessible by car. From there, it's 3.4 miles to Mohawk Lakes. To reach the closer trailhead continue on this road, but you will need a high clearance vehicle. Four wheel drive isn't usually necessary, but in places it is rough and rocky, with large rocks to negotiate. From the closer trailhead, Lower Mohawk Lake is 1 mile and Upper Mohawk is 1.5 miles.
This description is from the Spruce Creek Trailhead, which is accessible by car, for a one-way distance of about 3.4 miles. If you take a 4WD vehicle to the second trailhead, the distance to the lower lake is about 1.5 miles.
Start out on Spruce Creek Trail, a pleasant walk through the forest. In the summer, bring plenty of insect repellent; we found the mosquitos to be particularly thick along this stretch. At about 2 miles, you will cross the 4WD road, which is the continuation of Spruce Creek Rd., and is the route to the second trailhead discussed above.
At this point, the trail begins to climb, but is not too steep yet. 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. A short distance further along the trail you will come to a fork in the trail. The main trail goes right, with Mayflower Lake a very short hike to the left. There are many collapsed log buildings near this intersection. From the Mayflower Lake intersection, it is a steady, often steep climb of about one mile to Lower Mohawk Lake. As the trail switchbacks ascending the mountain, take the side trails to the north to view Continental Falls, which spill from Lower Mohawk Lake above and cascade a long distance down the mountain. Near the top of the climb are the ruins of an old cable car system used to transport ore down the hill. This provides some great photo opportunities, with the ruins in the foreground and great mountain vistas in the background.
Scramble over some large boulders, and you'll arrive at Lower Mohawk Lake (11,800'). Lower Mohawk Lake is a shallow lake, with its rocky bottom clearly visible. It is in a very scenic setting, with dramatic views of Breckenridge down the valley, mountain peaks as a background, and the lake itself surrounded by rocks and boulders.
From Lower Mohawk Lake, you can take the trail around the left (south) side and continue on up the trail about 1/2 mile to Mohawk Lake (12,100', about 300' elevation gain from the lower lake), climbing quite steeply most of the way. From Mohawk Lake, the trail eventually climbs upward to Upper Mohawk Lake (about 12,400' elevation). The upper lake is in a rocky basin, and isn't particularly scenic. My preference is to spend the extra time enjoying the scenery at the lower lakes before returning to the trailhead.
Fees, Permits, etc.
After the Hike
- 39.43698, -106.05084, Spruce Creek Trailhead (Accessible By Car)
- 39.421375, -106.0751, Trailhead (Accessible By 4WD)
- 39.421649, -106.08608, Lower Mohawk Lake
- 39.41895, -106.0898, Mohawk Lake
- 39.422, -106.1044, Upper Mohawk Lake