|Park/Forest||Colorado State Forest State Park|
|Trailhead||American Lakes Trail|
|Distance Roundtrip||11.0 Miles|
|Elevation Start||9520 ft|
|Elevation Gain||≈ 1520 ft|
|Dogs Allowed?||Yes, on leash|
This trail is also sometimes called the Michigan Lakes Trail or the Thunder Pass Trail. The American Lakes Trail is a popular hiking trail and backpacking destination. It's popular for good reason, as there are stunning views and good chances of spotting wildlife, especially moose. The first half of the trail is mostly forest. As you continue to climb there are wide open valleys and mountain views. Once you get to the area where the lakes are, you are surrounded by peaks and great views all around. Most of the suitable camping spots are by the trees before you reach the lakes. The two lakes sort of run into each other. There is another very pretty lake above them called Snow Lake, which is a scramble to get to and is surrounded by cliffs and boulders. Snow Lake is exposed and rocky and not suitable for camping.
From the American Lakes, you can do some extra hiking and take the trail all the way up to Thunder Pass and the edge of Rocky Mountain National Park. At the top of Thunder Pass you will be treated to absolutely stunning 360 views. You can see the the valley below, the peaks all around, the Nokhu Crags and Rocky Mountain National Park.
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From the junction of Highway 14 and Highway 287(Ted's Place), travel 60 miles west on Highway 14, then take Co Rd 62 two miles east to the trailhead parking area. It's a little confusing getting to the parking area as it's not well marked but Co Rd 62 basically parallels Highway 14 most of the way to the parking area.