Blue Lakes and Blue Lakes Pass

Distance: 6.3 - 11.0 miles (round trip)

Mt. Sneffels Wilderness Area, Uncompahgre National Forest, near Ouray in Southwest Colorado

Flowers growing by Upper Blue Lakes

Flowers growing by Upper Blue Lakes


This popular hike visits three scenic lakes in a beautiful glacial basin surrounded by the rugged summits of Mount Sneffels (14,150-ft.), Dallas Peak (13,809-ft.) and Gilpin Peak (13,694-ft.).
See Trail Detail/Full Description

  • Distance: 6.3 miles (round trip) to Lower Blue Lakes
    8.2 miles (round trip) to Upper Blue Lakes
    11.0 miles (round trip) to Blue Lakes Pass
  • Elevation: 9,350-ft. at Trailhead
    10,940-ft. at Lower Blue Lakes
    11,750-ft. at Upper Blue Lakes
    13,000-ft. at Blue Lakes Pass
  • Elevation Gain: 1,590-ft. to Lower Blue Lakes
    2,400-ft. to Upper Blue Lakes
    3,650-ft. to Blue Lakes Pass
  • Difficulty: moderate-strenuous
  • More Hikes in:
    Ouray / Southwest Colorado

Why Hike Blue Lakes and Blue Lakes Pass

Turquoise lakes nestled in dramatic glacial cirques, wildflower-filled meadows ringed by craggy peaks and a pass with see-forever views puts Blue Lakes atop my "to do list" on every trip to southwest Colorado.

The hike, one of the few in the Mount Sneffels Wilderness, culminates at spectacular Blue Lakes Pass (13,000-ft.) located on a steep ridge extending south from Mt. Sneffels (14,150-ft). Along the way the trail visits three scenic lakes cradled in beautiful glacial basin set amid rugged 13,000-ft. peaks.

For an easy day Lower Blue Lake, lying in a pretty cirque dominated by Dallas Peak, makes a worthy destination. Still have energy to burn? Continue on the steep trail leading to the upper lakes, set beneath the western flanks of Mt. Sneffels in wildflower filled meadows ringed by jagged ridges. Beyond the lakes a demanding trail ascends 1,250-ft. in 1.4 miles to the panoramic viewpoint at the pass.

Elevation Profile

Blue Lakes and Blue Lakes Pass Elevation Profile

Best Hiking in Southwest Colorado around Ouray, Telluride and Silverton

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Trail Resources

Trail Detail/Full Description / Trail Photo Gallery / Trail Map

Basecamp(s) Information:

Region Information:
Southwest Colorado

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