Blue Lakes Trailhead


Range: Tenmile Range
Coordinates: 39.38695, -106.09995
14ers: Quandary Peak
Elevation: 11,700'
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Road Difficulty

2WD, rough dirt road 2   (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)
Rough 2WD dirt to the TH.

Driving Directions

From Breckenridge, drive 8 miles south on Colorado 9. On a sharp corner of Colorado 9, turn west onto the 850 road (Blue Lakes road). Continue on Blue Lakes road as it climbs west. Near 1.4 miles, if the gate is closed, you'll have to park in this area because Colorado Springs Utilities has closed the remaining road to the dam. Follow the road another 3/4 mile to reach the dam.

Winter Access

Closed about 1/2 mile up from the 850/851 road junction.

More Info

Parking: About 20 cars can park at the gate near the lower lake. 12-15 cars can park at the dam, if the road is open that far.
Camping: No good camping spots in the area.
Restrooms? No
Fees? No
Trailhead added by BillMiddlebrook
Status Updates 
Posted By: daway8
Info: Road open 1.4mi past main trailhead, gated 0.6mi below Blue Lakes Trailhead. Could probably fit 30 vehicles or so if everyone parks efficiently. Be warned most of the road is hard packed snow - DON’T TRY THIS WITH BALD TIRES!!! Going up my Jeep Renegade was fine - coming down I crawled at about 5mph - not due to any actual issue, just concerned about going down steep snowy road.
Start of trail definitely won’t need snowshoes - can’t tell about the valley beyond...
Posted By: halfapackofapache
Info: Road is open to lower lake. Puts you roughly 1/2 mile from the upper lake.
Posted By: PikaSteve
Info: Road is very smooth from recent grading. This morning, the road was blocked by a cable at the winter closure. However, by afternoon, that cable had been opened and the road was open up to another cable at the bottom of Lower Blue Lake (elevation 11,350) where there is parking for at least twenty cars. Lots of people were parked here in the afternoon and in my opinion, the parking area is fine and away from the shoulder of the road. From Lower Blue Lake parking to the dam is about 3/4 mile and 350 feet of elevation.
Posted By: blazintoes
Info: There is a sign at the gate closure that says no parking on the road or shoulder. Also if you check the website it confirms that parking is not allowed. See my Fletcher condition report for a screen shot from the website.
Posted By: daway8
Info: The road to Blue Lakes Trailhead is blocked off about 3/4mi before the trailhead (adds 1.5mi RT). There is a fair amount of parking just before the closure. Very few cars there at 5:30am Sat morning but busting at the seams by afternoon (this trailhead is not currently restricted like the nearby Quandary trailhead now is).
Posted By: EMan
Info: If you don’t feel like paying $20-$50 for a reservation (July 30-Oct 31), or taking a shuttle from Breck, park for FREE at Blue Lakes Dam and follow Quandary’s West Ridge Route to the summit. (Class 3). No snow on route.
Posted By: colospgs
Info: Road is clear and dry all the way to the dam.
Posted By: psa954hiker
Info: The road is in very good shape, better than a washboard dirt road. Some sections look like they’ve been recently repaired. Any passenger vehicle could make it to the dam. I got there in a Toyota Camry 2WD sedan without any problems. Also saw a Tesla there. Photo taken on the way down just below the dam.
Posted By: CaptCO
Info: Easy dirt to the top lot. 1/6 rating easy. Also climbed Fletcher last night which had some icy sections
Posted By: angry
Info: Clear to th. There are a few ruts along the way with shallow puddles but easily navigated in a subaru.
Posted By: Trotter
Info: Road open and clear to lower lake (11,400), parking for about 15 cars there. Past that is gated, road is partially snow covered.
Posted By: angry
Info: Road is open to ~10,900. Didnt track mileage to dam, but there is currently a good boot pack.
Posted By: Chicago Transplant
Info: Plowed about 1/2 mile up from the winter Quandary parking. Room for 6 or so cars. We parked at the Quandary lot as we weren’t sure it was legal to park here, but there were 6 cars when we came out later. Snow packed pretty much the entire way to Blue Lakes but well traveled and flotation wasn’t really needed.

There was an avalanche (not sure how recent) off a coulour on the south side of Quandary near the dam. Not Cristo, another one to its east. Pics below. The road definitely crosses slopes that can slide as it nears the lake and visits to this area should be carefully planned to avoid times of elevated avalanche risk. Also note that the standard approach to Fletcher and the West Ridge of Quandary in summer is NOT winter safe as there are two significant steep roll overs in that basin (pic 3 below), you need to get on the ridge to the left (west) of this gully. This involved some class 3 scrambling, maybe a move of 4th the route we went. We found a better way down farther up the creek beyond the lake.
Posted By: dwoodward13
Info: Road is chained now at the lower lake. Road up to the chain was in good shape. Minimal snow, and on steep sections it was totally dry.
Posted By: tauma
Info: Easy drive to the upper TH.
Posted By: plasticman
Info: Similar to previous reports- parking is about .8 miles below the upper dam where the road branches to the left for the lower dam. I think there were about a dozen vehicles parked here. The gate above this is still locked and across the road. The upper road still has quite a bit of snow on it, which would push vehicles close to the edge. Maybe in July this will be melted out enough? A bigger truck can get to this gate (but it’s locked). You can see there’s probably a week’s worth of snow left across the road here. Farther up towards the upper dam, still quite a bit on the road.
Posted By: Trotter
Info: Echoing the last report. Road is still impassible due to snow, about 80% covered. Parking for about 10 cars at old Monte Cristo pull-off
Posted By: ma1919
Info: Road still closed at the parking area about 2 miles below the dam (about 800 feet from the lot next to Highway 9). There is continuous snow along the road past the closure except for the area right next to the dam.
Posted By: Scary_Canary
Info: Road still closed roughly 1.5 miles below the TH. There is a bunch of snow in the lower areas through the trees, but the upper road is starting to melt out. The parking lot for the dam is totally dry. A few big avys ran across the road and down into the lower lake.
Posted By: BillMiddlebrook
Info: Road is plowed to the old Monte Cristo pull-off, 1.5+ miles below the end of the road. Vehicles have been driving on the snow for another 3/4 mile but it’s getting deep and difficult to turn around. Even with 4WD, I wouldn’t drive past Monte Cristo.

I wouldn’t recommend skiing Cristo Couloir this time of year but if you want to ski/snowshoe into the upper basin, the road is completely snow-covered.
Posted By: Wight Walker
Info: Road open to dam, if you have subarus, jeeps, trucks etc. Just a little snow drift left on the last bit of the road. Not a big deal to cross. I expect 2wd could make it fine. If not, just park .2 down the road (but above the gate).
Posted By: MountainHiker
Info: The road is clear to just before the small parking lot at the gate about a half mile before the dam. There was a patch of snow that was no problem for 4WDs with decent clearance, but low slung cars were not chancing it. The gate was open and more vehicles were driving up to the usual drift closer to the dam. Not a problem to walk past the drift, but it would still be foolish to try driving it. Note, if you do go past the gate, you will have a multi point turn-around on the narrow road best done with a spotter due to the exposure on the left side.
Posted By: Buckie06
Info: Open 1.6 miles below the dam. Multiple trucks that tried to drive further were stuck and had to be shoveled out. It is not a continuous skin up to the dam, you’ll have to carry skis for half of it.
Posted By: drewwhite88
Info: clear all the way to the Dam; snow on the road and a couple of spots w/ a handful of inches of buildup. Otherwise, smooth sailing for my Subaru Forester- happy hiking
Posted By: clairekm
Info: Gate is open, but snow on the road. Saw tire tracks going higher, but most people were parking just past the junction with 853
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