Blue Lakes Trailhead


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). It is 2 miles to the trailhead below the dam. Continue on Blue Lakes road as it climbs west. After 1.2 miles, keep right. After 1.4 miles, keep right again. By early June, the road is usually open to the dam. If not, drive as far as possible and hike the remainder of the road. There is a large parking area below the dam.

Winter Access

Closed about 1/2 mile up from the 850/851 road junction.
Status Updates 
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
Posted By: E_A_Marcus_949
Info: Road clear all the way to the dam. Some washboarding but nothing to worry about. Beware of goats, though, as I’ve heard they like to lick the salt of dirty cars, though we didn’t see any doing that on Saturday.
Posted By: braydn75
Info: cable is down. You can drive all the way to the dam.
Posted By: MountainHiker
Info: Road clear of snow to the closure point parking area (cable across the road) next to the lower dam. Road clear for walking to the main dam.
Posted By: MichiganBrian
Info: Road still blocked ~.2 miles up the road, should be drive-able to near the dam with 4x4 by the 05/20 weekend though as it has been melting out fast with the current warm weather.
Posted By: theglobalguy
Info: Road still in full winter conditions. About .2 miles past the standard parking lot it’s blocked by snow. Easy enough to hike to the dam though...don’t let it stop you.
Posted By: XterraRob
Info: Road plowed a quarter mile past the standard TH for Quandary. After that it was post holing with small sections of wind scoured road up until the dam. Bring snowshoes or skins.

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