Blue Lake in Poudre Canyon has been named one of the 99 Gorgeous Places in Colorado by Colorado.com. The website said:
The shady trek to Blue Lake is one of the Front Range’s most diverse wildflower hikes. More than 90 varieties — including white bog orchids, scarlet paintbrush, monkshood and glacier lilies — have been spotted along the impossibly colorful trail.
The trailhead for Blue Lake is on Highway 14, 54 miles from Ted’s Place (directions below). The hike starts by a sign in the parking lot. Take the dirt path a few steps and you’ll find yourself in the thick forest. The hike starts easy because it starts downhill. Follow the path as it winds past a turnoff for the Long Draw Parking lot, then crosses a bridge over Joe Wright Creek.
The trail drops about 120 feet in the first 0.6 miles, then begins climbing. At times the trail is wide, at times the trail is only wide enough for one to two people. The Forest Service website says the first two miles of the trail follows an old wagon trail.
About 1.9 miles from the trailhead, there’s a small opening in the trees. Take a few steps and you’ll find yourself at an overlook of sorts. That’s Chambers Lake below you.
At 2.25 miles, you’ll cross Fall Creek, then enter the Rawah Wilderness. The Forest Service says “Rawah” is a native American term meaning “wild place.” There are 25 named lakes and 86 miles of trail in the 78,000-acres Rawah Wilderness.
At this point, you’re nearly half way to the lake, but you’ve only had about 250 feet of elevation gain, so the trail is about to get steeper. Tall spruce and fir trees keep the trail shady in the morning as you climb nearly 1200 feet of elevation gain in the next 2.6 miles.
Suddenly, the trail leaves the forest and you’ll find yourself on a ridge below the nearby peaks. It’s a short distance from this spot until you see Blue Lake in a bowl below you. Come here in June and July and the wildflowers put on a show on the banks of the lake. Come here in late August and you may miss the colorful display.
Blue Lake is a great place to lunch, nap and fish. After a break you’ll have to decide if you’re hiking another mile or so to the top of Blue Lake Pass or turning around. I highly recommend hiking to the top of the pass for the impressive mountain views in the Blue Lake Valley and the views on the other side of the pass.
Details: The hike to Blue Lake is 4.9 miles with 1300 feet of elevation gain. Add extra distance for hiking to the end of the lake, hiking down to the lake and hiking up to the pass. The hike to the top of the pass adds about 1.1 miles each way with 300 feet of elevation gain.
If you’re looking for hiking in Poudre Canyon, my favorite hikes are Lake Agnes, Lake Emmaline, Mirror Lake and the B-17 crash site. Find more Poudre Canyon hikes and hikes across the state in this list of 400+ Colorado hiking trails. Don’t miss any of my trip reports, sign up for an email alert by clicking on subscribe at the bottom of this article and follow me on Facebook.
Directions: From Fort Collins, take Highway 14 through town. When Highway 14 makes a left turn at a gas station (Ted’s Place), zero your odometer. Drive about 54 miles to the turnoff for Long Draw Road. The Blue Lake Trailhead is on the right side of the road where Long Draw turns left.