Mohawk Lake Trail

After our attempt on Grays and Torreys peak the day before Dan, Tim , and I visited Breckenridge and opted for an easier hike today.  Not sure which hike to do in the Breckenridge area, we selected one from a trails website and made our plans for the day.  Before hitting the trail I wanted to ride the gondola to the top of the Breckenridge resort and see the views.  As we were heading to the gondola (which wasn’t opened yet) we passed a lady who worked there leaving work for the day.  We mentioned we were going hiking and she asked where we were going.  Her response was a low “ohhh”.  Since that didn’t seem a reassuring response we asked her opinion on what would be the best hike around.  She directed us to the Mohawk Lake Trail.  After visiting some of the shops in Breckenridge and riding the Gondola to the top and back down, we headed down the road to the trailhead. It was a short drive on good roads to the trailhead and we were soon on the trail.

The trail started out wide with an ascent of only about 700 feet in the first 2 miles.  However, once we passed over the 4 wheel drive road the climbing began.  a short way into this section we came to an old hunters cabin.  We looked around and then took the trail over to the waterfall.  The falls were wonderful with a good view up the valley from the bottom of the falls.  We stopped here and ate a snack enjoying the sun and the sound of the waterfall.  Back on the trail the climb continued and the trail split into several different paths as it ascended the mountain.  At one point we climbed to the top of a rocky area to discover an old mining trolley structure that once hauled material out of the mountains.  The trail continued uphill until reaching Lower Mohawk lake.  It is a crystal clear sub-alpine lake surrounded by trees.  Several fishermen were here trying their luck on the fish species that resided there.  The trail continued on and we wanted to see Upper Mohawk Lake so we continued upwards.  There was an even steeper climb to Upper Mohawk Lake but this one was even prettier than the first.  Upper Mohawk Lake sits at tree line and is bordered on three side by steep mountain sloped.  As we arrived a member of another hiking group was taking a plunge in the icy lake.  Once out of the water he was challenging other to “try it” but got no takers.  We found some convenient rocks, took our shoes off and soaked our feet in the cold water for awhile.  While sitting there we noticed the trail continued on and also noticed a couple of mountain goats on the ridge near the lake.  We dried or feet and decided to see if we could get to the other lakes (3-4 more are further up the valley) and also to get a closer look at the mountain goats.  As we ascended the ridge the mountain goat steered clear of us but watched our progress as we continued down the trail.  The trail continued on top the third lake and eventually to a fourth lake.  We stopped here to rest and eat something to give us the energy to get back.  As we sat near this lake we saw a herd of mountain goats descend from the mountain across the lake to get a drink in the stream leaving the lake.  At this point we had hiked about 4 miles and still had to get back to the car and drive to Salida for the night so we began our trip back.  As we came over the ridge where we had seen the single mountain goat earlier, we came across a herd of goats and were able to walk within about 10 feet of one.  I was in the back of the line as we passed through a bushy area and as we passed the goats jumped in line behind us and followed us through the brush.  The whole time i telling Dan and Time to hurry up because I think I’m going to get attacked by a herd of goats.  The trip down seemed steeper than the trip up and we had several trips, ankle twist , and stumbles on the way back to the 4 wheel drive road.  Once at the road we decided to take the road back to the trailhead where we had parked Tim’s truck and we arrived back at the truck without incident.  Overall Mohawk Lake Trail was a fantastic hike with good climbs, waterfall, historical structures, crystal clear lakes, and exciting wildlife.  This is definitely a  recommended hike if you are in the Breckenridge area.

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