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American Lakes Trail

Intermediate/Difficult
 4.5 (12)

A great trail that goes up through the forest to alpine lakes and finishes at the border of RMNP.


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Map Key

3.7

Miles

6.0

KM

85%

Runnable

11,213' 3,418 m

High

9,814' 2,991 m

Low

1,400' 427 m

Up

23' 7 m

Down

7%

Avg Grade (4°)

18%

Max Grade (10°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Fall Colors · Fishing · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

This area receives heavy snow during the winter.

Need to Know

$9/State Park day pass.

Description

In the winter, you'll need to travel along the Michigan Ditch trail to get to the start of the American Lakes Trail. In summertime, you can park at the trailhead directly, and save yourself several miles. Bring $9 to pay for your State Park day pass-- several self-service stations can be found along the dirt road to the trailhead (or you can use a credit card if you drive further down Highway 14 to the Moose Visitor Center).

The trail is very easy to follow-- no directions needed. There are a few switchbacks, creek crossings, and rocky areas incorporated into the trail-- waterproof shoes are recommended. The most "intense" elevation gain is over in the first mile or so, but the (moderate) struggle is definitely worth it. As you hike, you might see moose and deer, or even catch a trout in an alpine lake. In early July, there is a stunning array of wildflowers along the trail as you hike. Once you get to the lakes, you can continue on to Thunder Pass, and look over into Rocky Mountain National Park from the saddle. Additionally, you can scramble up the far side of the lake to see Snow Lake, perched above Michigan Lakes.

Watch out for afternoon thunderstorms!

Contacts

Shared By:

Tom Robson with improvements by Beth Bratschun and 1 other

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 12 votes

#827

Overall
  4.5 from 12 votes
5 Star
58%
4 Star
33%
3 Star
8%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#138

in Colorado

#827

Overall
374 Views Last Month
6,015 Since Apr 26, 2015
Intermediate/Difficult

0%
0%
67%
0%
33%
0%

Photos

View of Moose Down in the American Lakes Valley after meeting up w/ the American Lakes Trail.
Sep 2, 2020 near Grand Lake, CO
American/Michigan Lakes and last winter\'s snow hanging out.
Apr 26, 2015 near Grand Lake, CO
American Lakes Trail about a half mile below the lakes.
Jul 16, 2018 near Grand Lake, CO

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Check-Ins

Aug 5, 2018
Kara Ashcraft
Continued to thunder pass 3.7mi