For an alternate access to the west side of the Sangre de Cristo Range and peaks in the same areas as Lakes of the Clouds, try these directions. For our money, because of the limited access on the east side of the range for peaks such as Gibbs, Marcy, De Anza and Electric, and the number of miles you have to hike, coming in from the west side of the range by the Cotton Creek Trail makes a lot of sense.
From Poncha Springs, head south on HWY 285 over Poncha Pass. Where 285 turns west, continue south on HWY17 for about 2 miles. Turn east onto CR DD.2 and drive a little over 2 miles to CR61. Turn south for a little over a mile, then turn back east on CR CC. Follow it 3 miles east to CR64. Turn south, then shortly back east onto CR CC64 which eventually follows the Cotton Creek Ditch to the trailhead. There is some open camping there with a few trees. The Cotton Creek trail #749 leads east and then swings SE to Cotton Lake which lies directly west, over the central spine by 2 miles, of the Lakes of the Clouds area. We have never used this trail, but it does show on the Rio Grande National Forest map and trails Illustrated #138. The link below goes to the Rio Grande National Forest description of the trail and provides directions from Alamosa.