The Blue Lakes Trail is one of the premier hikes in the northern San Juans. This hike has everything! It is convenient to the town of Ridgway, the drive in is beautiful, the scenery is spectacular, and the trail is challenging yet not too difficult for hikers of moderate ability.
The trail starts climbing from Dallas Creek right away and continues with alternating stretches of fairly steep climbs and flat recovery sections. There are a few areas of switchbacks, but for the most part the trail just follows the west side of the Dallas Creek drainage until it reaches the lake. In June and July the wildflowers put on an amazing display all along the trail. Just before Lower Blue Lake, the trail forks to the left up past Middle and Upper Blue Lakes and on to Blue Lake Pass, 2.2 miles (and 1,800 feet of elevation gain) beyond. The trail to the upper basin crosses the creek at one point, and early in the season this may prove impassable.
Lower Blue Lake is a lovely place to relax, and backcountry camping is allowed here. The backdrop of the Dallas Divide peaks and the steep cirque sloping down to the lake is spectacular. More wildflowers are likely to be seen in the basin all around the lake.
Note: it is also a great hike to reach these lakes coming from Yankee Boy Basin on the other side of Blue Lake Pass, but reaching the trailhead requires an 8-mile drive on a very challenging 4WD road--a great adventure in itself!