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  • Writer's pictureJoanna Lee

Tuhare Lakes

July 15, 2023

Lake Constantine + Tuhare Lakes

11 miles; 3000 feet elevation gain

Total time: 6 hours 10 minutes

The first time I saw Tuhare Lakes was from above as I was climbing Mount of the Holy Cross via Halo Ridge. The upper lake was the most stunning alpine lake I had ever seen, bright turquoise in color surrounded by jagged peaks. I knew then that I needed to hike to these lakes. The upper lakes are somewhat of a hidden gem because they are not a designated route on AllTrails. So, almost a year later I set off on this long day hike....

We arrived at the Half Moon trailhead on Friday evening at 7PM. There were still quite a few dispersed campsites available along Tigiwon Road (#707). We took our chances and drove all the way to Half Moon Campground, which is next to the trailhead, and got the last paid site for the night. The campground is $16 per night with 7 campsites available, first come first serve.

We set out on Fall Creek Trail at 5:50am. The trail link above is the trail you will follow to Lake Constantine. We didn't see any other hikers on our way to this lake but did run into three moose. While this wilderness area does allow dogs off leash under voice control it is important to be aware that this area is very heavily populated with moose. The trail is straightforward with a gradual incline all the way to the Lake Constantine. Backpacking to this lake is popular but camping area is limited. This lake is beautiful and surrounded by beautiful mountains and views.

After this lake you will continue following Fall Creek Trail. This trail continues on the AllTrails map all the way to Tuhare Lakes, it just isn't a searchable or downloadable route. This part gets more strenuous in terms of elevation gain and includes a few scrambling moves. You will pass impressive waterfalls and some remaining snow, as of this date. About 1.5 miles later you will reach Lower Tuhare Lake, pictured below. This lake was absolutely stunning, probably my new favorite alpine lake. The water was still incredibly cold and we could barely tolerate our feet being in it.

Since it was my mom's first day at high elevation we decided to end here rather than push for the upper lake. The trail to the upper lake appears short but very steep and looked like it may require crossing a waterfall right now. A friend who made it to the upper lake last fall will be writing a segment on that part of the hike, coming soon!

From here you go back the way you came, all the way down Fall Creek Trail back to the trailhead. We encountered many more people on our way out, all of which were backpacking in. Overall this was a stunning hike. I think both lakes are absolutely possible in a day hike but I would allow 7-8 hours to do so. However it would also be enjoyable to backpack in to Lake Constantine and complete Tuhare Lakes as a day hike from your campsite.

Hike Details:

Trailhead: accessible in any car; rough gravel road to access trailhead.

Camping: dispersed camping along Tigiwon Road and paid camping at Half Moon Campground.

Fees & Reservations: none.

Bathrooms: bathrooms at the trailhead and in campground.

Trash: no garbage at the trailhead.

Dog-friendly: this route is very dog friendly. Dogs are allowed off leash in Holy Cross Wilderness but must be under voice control and may not harness wildlife or other hikers.

Recent Conditions: see AllTrails.

Forecast: (adjust forecast elevation accordingly).

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