Michigan Lakes


You can hike to the Michigan Lakes from the Colorado River trailhead, but that is a long hike.  So instead, I took a long drive to the trailhead off highway 14 north of the park.  That is just under 100 miles and a little over 2 1/2 hours from Estes Park to the trailhead.  Most of that drive was in the dark since I didn't want to get too late a start on the trail.  Most of this hike is in the Colorado State Forest and they require a fee to enter the area.  I paid my fee, picked up my window sticker and was on my way.

Be sure to click on these photos for larger versions.


1. They need to take some of those entrance fees and fix this bridge.  It's breaking down, but still sturdy enough to cross.

2. After a short distance, the trail crosses Upper Michigan Ditch.  No water here today.

3. It didn't take too long for me to find some very nice displays of wild flowers along the trail.

4. New growth makes for a colorful shot.

5. Another pretty scene at a stream crossing.

6. A gorgeous little meadow.

7. The trail continues up through the trees.

8. A small display of paintbrush at the base of a tree.

9. A butterfly.

10. I'm getting excited now.  Looks like I'm getting close.

11. The trail peaked out on the top of a little hill letting me see what's up ahead.  Follow that trail!  Super Size It!  (331kB).

12. The closer I get, the more wild flowers I see.

13. The wild flowers are incredible up here.

14. Stepping stones across the outlet stream of the lower Michigan Lake.

15. That's Static Peak in the center of the picture and the lower Michigan Lake.  Before I explore the Michigan Lakes area, I decide to go to Thunder Pass first.  I'll be back.

16. Mount Richthofen is poking his head up between the unnamed peak on the left and Static Peak on the right.

17. Iron Mountain.

18. The low spot in the ridge is Thunder Pass.  Behind that is Lulu Mountain.  You can see the trail leading up to Thunder Pass.

19. Looking back across a little stream.  That is Nokhu Crags.

20. I'm standing in Thunder Pass now looking back toward the Michigan Lakes area.  The peaks left to right are an unnamed peak, Static Peak, Nokhu Crags and way off in the distance is Clark Peak.  Super Size It!  (257kB).

21. Clark Peak.

22. The ridge northwest of Iron Mountain.

23. As I was standing in Thunder Pass enjoying the view, these two young gals came jogging through.  They stopped briefly for a quick chat.  I said "You must be camped up here somewhere."  "Oh no." they replied. 

Thunder Pass is right on the boundary between the Colorado State Forest and Rocky Mountain National Park.  This is looking into RMNP.

24. After visiting Thunder Pass, I went back to Michigan Lakes.  This is Static Peak.

25. I starting following the trail toward Snow Lake.  All the maps I have show the trail on the south side of the lakes.  I didn't see anything leading to the south side.  This is along the north side of the lakes.

26. Looking back toward Iron Mountain.

27. The un-named peak east of Static Peak.

28. That's Lulu Mountain and Thunder Pass.

29. This is part of the steep climb up to Snow Lake.  The whole hillside was thick with wildflowers.

30. Part way up and looking back at Thunder Mountain on the left and Lulu Mountain on the right.  Thunder Pass is just this side of Lulu Mountain.

31. Still more to climb, lots of wild flowers and Static Peak.

32. Here it is, Snow Lake below Static Peak.  Super Size It!  (311kB).

33. Turning around and looking back.  Iron Mountain on the left, then Thunder Mountain, then Lulu Mountain and the un-named peak east of Static Peak on the right.  Super Size It!  (326kB).

34. A fisherman at Snow Lake.

35. What a trouper!  FHFOM made it all the way up here too.

36. One last picture with all the amazing wild flowers.