When you get to the trailhead, make sure you take the right path. There is a trailhead sign with a trail departing from behind the restroom area, but even though the trail is marked, it's not the right one. I spent two hours navigating it before it ended, and so did four other people I met on the trail. The actual trailhead is on the south side of the parking lot. You won't notice it if cars are parked there. Luckily I got an early start, so I did the real trail after messing around on the wrong one. Beautiful views! Windy on top. Bring extra layers.
Had a good family hike up to the top lake. We took our kids (4 and 2). The hike was steady but not too hard for a 4 year old to complete. GPS measured the entire hike at 7.6 miles and took us 5 hours. There was a good place to stop and eat a picnic with a great view. The trail is good for all levels, ages and dogs.
Enjoyed this trail but pretty busy on 4th of July weekend. Great views and the trail was a steady but doable climb to the lake. Be prepared for no one having their dog on leash. Too many morons just can't follow the rules and think they're dog will obey their commands but all they do is bee-line towards our leashed dog without thinking twice. We finally gave up and took our dog off leash to give her a fighting chance. Some guys fishing at the lake let their dog run over to ours and never even tried calling it back. People always ruin it! Otherwise, great day.
Beautiful day hike. It's not too rigorous but definitely has rewarding scenery at the lower lakes and at Ptarmigan lake. In the beginning there are some cool rock slides to walk through. I went on a Saturday afternoon when there were a lot of people, but I didn't mind. I also went on a Tuesday at midday and it was much less populated. Great trail for dogs.
The trail to Lamphier Lake is just 3 miles up a wide rocky trail. The lake is beautiful. We camped at a smaller lake nearby. From our campsite we hiked to Gunsight Pass for some fabulous mountain vistas. All along the trail was a vast array of flowers and interesting rocks and fossils.
Finding the trail to SquareTop Mt. was a little tricky. We bushwhacked through willows and small streams to the trail. The other route to the summit was along a knife edge ridge...scary looking. The trail is a strenuous climb but worth it. Lots of flowers ...and bugs.
Beautiful views and variable landscapes throughout the hike. It was challenging to us beginner hikers but well worth the effort. There were periodic light showers at the beginning of July, and the areas close to the lake were wet and muddy.
If you continue on the trail, keeping Ptarmigan Lake on your left, there will be another smaller lake and more scenic views.
Ptarmigan Lake Trail is normally a 6 mile in and out Hike With snow levels being around waist deep in spots, once I cross the Creek and climbed to the top a ridge in the sun for a half mile of very little snow. Once I past the two lower pothole lakes the trail comes and goes, in and out of the snow.
As I waded through the snow I couldn't help but notice how breath taking the scenery was in every direction.
Once up to Ptarmigan Lake the snow disappeared to the beginnings of Alpine Flowers The lake was still frozen but ought to be open in the next couple of weeks. The hike down was about as rough as going up for a bit. I actually got stuck up to my waist and had to have a little help to get out.
I met a great group of women hikers that forged a great trail through the snow. Make time to do this hike.
Hiked June 12, 2016. Beautiful trail through a pine forest with sound of nearby stream for most of the hike. We made it to about 11,700 just below the lower lakes before the snow on the trail became more consistent, about 2.2 miles in. A trail runner coming down from the lake said the trail evident all but the last tenth of a mile which was still a snow field. The trail was a consistent moderate grade. We started at 7:45am and had the trail to ourselves going out, and encountered a few groups on the return. I would love to do this trail again in a few weeks when there is less snow.
Lake was still frozen during our visit in mid-June. Backtracked down to split off from the trail and the creek, where CR 346 cuts on the southside. Found a secluded campsite near the creek with views of Gladstone Ridge towering above us from across the creek. Aim to camp near the lake at the end of June or beginning of July for snow-free experience.
Didn't make it to the main lake, which I was told was still covered in snow by the two serious hikers with leg gators and trekking poles. They were complaining of not having SNOW shoes, I'm in sandals .....so I stopped at the lower lakes about 2 miles in and did some fishing. Because of the snow parts of the trail were gone so you had to do a little detouring. Would have liked to fish the main lake but it was just too early (2nd week of June).
Robin T. on Ptarmigan Lake Trail
In August even a light rain did not detract from the enjoyment if this trail. Perfect. Hiking, pine, rocks, lakes. Loved it!
Here is a great blog post we used to choose and navigate this trail: