Lakes of the Clouds 

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Bob Falcone
The Gibson Trailhead serves as the start of this hike. There is plenty of parking.
Bob Falcone
The trail starts next to a informational kiosk at the north end of the trailhead parking lot.
Bob Falcone
Head up the trail from the parking lot for about 500' to the Rainbow Trail/#1336. Turn right (north) here.
Bob Falcone
Follow the Rainbow Trail north for about a half mile to the Swift Creek Trail/#1351 and turn left (west) here.
Bob Falcone
A short distance later there is a wilderness register station. Sign in here.
Bob Falcone
Immediately after, the trail crosses into the Sangre De Cristo Wilderness. From here on, the trail is open to only foot or horse traffic.
Bob Falcone
The trail becomes very rocky (fist size or larger) and climbs steeply for the next half mile. At about 2 miles from the trailhead, the trail splits at this "Y". Turn right over the small creek.
Bob Falcone
Less than .25 miles later, the trail crosses Swift Creek. There isn't really much of a crossing here, but in early September, I was able to walk across it. I have been told that earlier in the year, this is a high, raging creek and difficult to cross.
Bob Falcone
After crossing the creek, the trail again climbs steeply, over rocky terrain. At about 3 miles the trail meets the Lakes of the Clouds Trail. This is unmarked, so on your return, you will need to be watchful for it. Turn left here.
Bob Falcone
The trail climbs steadily, with a few steep switchbacks. When you see this sign, you are almost at the first lake.
Bob Falcone
At a little over 4 miles, the trail passes the first lake.
Bob Falcone
After the first lake, the trail is less rocky and about .3 miles later, the trail goes by the second lake. To continue to the third lake, you'll need to cross Swift Creek as it drains from the second lake to the first lake. This was not hard to do in September, but may be more difficult earlier in the year. Immediately after crossing, the trail makes a "Y". Bear right.
Bob Falcone
Follow the trail until it opens up to a small meadow. The trail can be hard to find here. Bear right and head down to the 3rd and highest lake.
Bob Falcone
At about 5 miles, the trail ends at the 3rd and last lake. To return, follow your tracks back.
Bob Falcone
GPS track of this hike.
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Bob Falcone
The Gibson Trailhead serves as the start of this hike. There is plenty of parking.

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