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Backpacking: Colorado > Rio Grande National Forest > Conejos Peak Ranger District

Quick Facts

Blue Lake

Elevation: 11,400 Feet (3553.6 Meters)
Usage: Heavy

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

Blue Lake, headwaters of El Rito Azul - 1975
Copyright: Unknown
Blue Lake, headwaters of El Rito Azul - 1975
Located in the South San Juan Wilderness, access is by foot or horse travel only. From Platoro Reservoir go to Three Forks Trailhead and follow it to El Rito Azul Trail. South Fork Conejos River Trail comes west from a trailhead south of The Pinnacles and meets El Rito Azul. From this trail junction go south less than a mile and you will reach the Colorado Trail. Head north on the Colorado Trail, Blue Lake is about a mile from the junction, on the east side of the trail. This scenic lake is heavily used. Brown and brook trout can be caught here.

Directions from Forest Road 250: South Fork Conejos River Trail starts from a trailhead south of The Pinnacles on FR 250. From Platoro Reservoir drive to Three Forks Trailhead on FR 247.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Accessible: Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend .

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

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Filed By: T Decker (Lees Summit, MO)
Difficulty: Easy
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Horsepacked from Platoro Res.up the Conjoes and El Rito Azul to Blue lake. Camped on bench on west sholder of Conjoes peak due east of Blue Lake. Trail very steep up the Azul from Rio Conjoes.
Conditions: Trail very muddy, worked up by horses, would be difficult backpacking.Weather in June varied from sunny 75 to sudden thunderstorms coming over devide and dumping an inch of hail in 15 minutes.Encountered one hungry mountain lion that climed one of the trees our bear bag was hanging from.
Water Availability: Used water from Rito Azul, treated/boiled.Stream very clean.
Recommended Clothing: In June, 70's daytime, 30's at night.Tee shirts, sweatshirts and down parka about covers clothing. Rain gear or poncho is a must.
Suggested Accessories: Fishing gear. Blue lake full of large Brown Trout, Rito Azul full of suicidal Brook Trout.Take a Camera, lots of film or memory cards and bastteries if digital. Scenery spectacular. Contenental Divide is the ridge line above the west side of Blue lake. Seems like you can see all the way to Durango from there.

Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Cold Water Fishing Brown and brook trout
ICON Hiking & Walking Foot and horse travel only
ICON Horseback Riding Foot and horse travel only
ICON Lakes & Reservoirs Blue Lake
ICON Viewing Scenery Scenic lake

Related Activities
Baker Trail - Baker Trail is accessed via Dodgeton or Indian Creek Trails, making a loop trip possible.

Bear Lake Campground - This campground is located at 10,500 feet above sea level and is within a short hike of Bear Lake. There are 14 single family units, each with a table, fire ring with grill and parking spur. Drinking water is provided.

Bear Lake Day Use Area - Bear Lake Parking and Day Use Area provides access to Blue Lake, Bear Lake Campground and the Indian Trail.

Continental Divide - Blue Lake to Elwood Pass Tra - Visitors will be rewarded with spectacular vistas in all directions. Due to the exposed nature of most of this trail, extremely close watch should be kept on weather conditions.

Continental Divide - Cumbres Pass to Blue Lake Tra - This is a short segment of the entire Continental Divide Trail but the terrain differs considerably from that of most of the divide.

Crater Lake Trail - This is a wonderful, though moderately strenuous day hike. The trail starts in a forest and climbs above timberline to the Continental Divide. Spectacular views abound here.

El Rito Azul Trail - The El Rito Azul Trail #718 begins in Three Forks Park and follows El Rito Azul to Blue Lake. The visitor passes through stands of spruce-fire alternating with open meadows. Magnificent views await the visitor at trails end.

Indian Trailhead - The trail starts at the north end of Bear Lake; connects with Baker and Dodgeton Trails, goes over Raspberry Mountain and ends at Indian Creek Road (County Road 421).

Middle Fork Conejos River Trail - The trail follows the edge of an alpine meadow and offers a spectacular view of the Continental Divide with a glacial valley in the foreground.

More Information
Frequently Asked Questions
Email the Local Ranger

Visitor Information:

Conejos Peak Ranger Station, 15571 County Road T-5, P.O. Box 420 , La Jara, CO, 81140, Phone: 719-274-8971, TTY: 719-274-3139


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