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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

Point to Point

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

#810

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

#136

in Colorado

#810

Overall
188 Views Last Month
6,813 Since Apr 26, 2015
Intermediate/Difficult

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

Photos

American Lakes Trail about a half mile below the lakes.
Jul 16, 2018 near Grand Lake, CO
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

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
All Clear 99 days ago See History
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Check-Ins

Jul 11, 2021
Tucker Kern
8.5mi — 2h 40m
Jul 19, 2020
B K
Aug 16, 2019
John Bowen
Jul 28, 2019
Justin Wilcox
Sep 8, 2018
Colin K
3mi
Aug 20, 2018
Jessica J
Jul 14, 2018
Ro Lyon