Blue Lakes Trailhead

The summer parking permit/shuttle system that is in place for the main Quandary Peak trailhead does NOT include the road to Blue Lakes. Hopefully we will continue to have free, unreserved access to this area. Also, it appears Colorado Springs Utilities, who owns the dam, has recently gated the road 3/4 mile below the dam. If it is closed, there's still parking near the gate.
Posted By: GuiGirard
Info: I drove up to the gate and lower lake, I was surprised that after I felt more comfortable turning on the X-mode on my Subaru on two short sections that there were people who had taken 2WD sedans all the way to the campsites. There was also a piece of car bumper and a trail of engine oil in one of the rougher sections... bottom line, it’s your vehicle, your driving skills, your decisions. I wouldn’t take a sedan I care about up there.
Posted By: OriLindner
Info: 2wd could make it no problem, but it did get a little more bumpy the last mile. Indeed the gate is still closed so it adds about an extra mile total, but it’s easy and gives a pretty view of the lakes. Recommend getting there the night before & car camping or quite early in the morning because the lot definitely fills up.
Posted By: GaryBroome6
Info: Road is easy driving. Could get a Lambo to the lot. Road is still gated about .5 miles from the actual TH as mentioned in the reports from 2022. Not a bad little road walk. Arrived right around 8am on a Sunday and there was plenty of room. Returned to car around 3pm and it was about full but you could probably improvise some parking spaces. Saw maybe 20 goats throughout the day once on the the west ridge so other updates about them messing with your car could still apply.
Posted By: Wildernessjane
Info: Returned to Blue Lakes trailhead today to find 6-8 mountain goats chilling underneath our lifted 4WD van (many scratches and wires pulled out from their horns - we really need a skid plate). Just thought I would put out a warning to those of you with lifted vehicles.
Posted By: amderr22
Info: I received confirmation that Blue Lakes will remain open without a shuttle or reservations for summer 2023.

From Summit County Staff: "If hikers choose this route, they will not need a parking reservation, as Blue Lakes is not included in the parking and shuttle system."

Happy climbing!
Posted By: 14er101
Info: Closed about a half mile up from the Quandary Trailhead, 1.5 mile below the upper dam.
Doesn’t look like it is going to melt out for a good while.
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: Unknown
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: 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.

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