A Colorado Fourth of July – Spruce Creek Trail, Mohawk Lake, and Continental Falls

After climbing Quandary the day before, we spent July Fourth doing a fun hike.

Now, with all the snow melt (Arapahoe Basin ski area was still open for skiing!), the river running through Breckenridge is rather high right now.

Breckenridge, July 3rd 2011

So, we thought a hike to Continental Falls and then to Mohawk Lake would be a good idea. Turns out, this is now my favorite Colorado hike of all.

We started early (again, important to beat the crowds on these), but not as early as our Quandary hike – 8:30 a.m. The trail is called Spruce Creek trail and it leads to both Continental Falls and Mohawk Lake. It’s about 7 miles round trip.

It starts with a nice comfortable hike through woods that look like the ones you think of from fairy tales. There were rough bridges over rushing waters:

Spruce Creek Trail, July 2011

… and beaver ponds reflecting the surrounding peaks:

Spruce Creek Trail, July 2011

… and all-natural driftwood sculptures:

Spruce Creek Trail, July 2011

Then, we ran into an old mining camp and wow, what a blast from the past. Look at the construction of this cabin!

Spruce Creek Trail mining cabins

This one had been lovingly restored by some locals:

Spruce Creek Trail mining cabins

Just look at the view this miner enjoyed!

Spruce Creek Mining Cabins

We climbed a little further – following the sound of rushing water to see Continental Falls.

Continental Falls Summit County

We kept climbing and I found this awesome rock to sit on next to the falls where I could see the mountain ridge in the background.

Continental Falls on Spruce Creek Trail

Is that breathtaking or what? I soaked it all in.

We kept climbing up the rocks next to the falls – now getting closer to the top of the falls.

Continental Falls on Spruce Creek Trail

After we reached the top, we turned and snapped photos of the valley through which we’d come.

Continental Falls on Spruce Creek Trail

After the top, we worked our way across a snow field and up a bit more to Mohawk Lake.

Mohawk Lake July 2011

Where we saw more remnants of the mining work.

Mohawk Lake - miner's cart

Folks, this has to be one of the most gorgeous places on earth – truly!

Mohawk Lake July 2011

… and to round out our hike, some lovely alpine flowers.

Mohawk lake flowers

fourteenergirl Written by:

A mother, sister, wife, and daughter who writes, knits, hikes, and practices yoga on the west coast. Loves a zippy chardonnay or a tart margarita!


  1. July 12, 2011

    Hi! So, I came across your blog via trying to figure out whether or not this hike would still have snow on it (so first, thanks!) Secondly, I wanted to tell you that if you love this trail, there are actually 5 more lakes beyond this first one that are all absolutely gorgeous (the only time we’ve gotten to the 6th lake is in September, other than that, it’s a little wet.) Thanks again!

  2. July 19, 2011

    Yay, glad I could help. We are taking a scrambling class up in the same area with the Colorado Mountain Club this weekend. We’ll be on snow and practicing some new skills, but I really enjoyed the heck out of this trail and we heard there was a lake higher up, but after climbing Quandary the day before, 7 miles round trip is just fine thanks!

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