Pitkin Lake Trail

HARD 30 reviews
#2 of 12 trails in

Pitkin Lake Trail is a 8.5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Vail, CO that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

8.5 miles 2916 feet Out & Back

dog friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

walking

lake

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

hiking
1 month ago

Pretty easy dirt trail the whole way up. From the lake went up to top of ridge to look at booth lake. Round trip took almost 5 hours but I was alone and going fairly fast.

hiking
1 month ago

This is a tough hike. Plan on about 5 total hours. Beautiful. I did in in late July and I'd recommend doing it on a cooler day. My 2 small dogs were whooped after this hike.

hiking
2 months ago

Very beautiful! As mentioned below, longer than listed by All Trails.

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful views of mountains and aspen after the first hour. Very steep. I logged 10.5 miles round trip. took me 4.5 hours to get to lake stopping for photos and to catch my breath, 2.5 hours down.

2 months ago

3 months ago

So beautiful! Very difficult up. Taxed my cardio. Took 3 hours to go up. Gorgeous and interesting. Forest, meadows, water, views. Much easier down. 2.5 hours down. Even prettier down than up due to views. Lake at top is pretty but not the highlight of the hike. 10 miles total.

3 months ago

Great hike. As others say, the first part is pretty steep but then it flattens out until the end, where it gets steep again. The views at the lake are great. And good views throughout the hike. A nice mix of woods, Aspen meadows, a few waterfalls, and then the lake. It's closer to 10 miles from the trailhead

hiking
3 months ago

This is not 3.8 miles! It is a mimimum of 4.8 miles. I would do.it again. Be sure to.look at the elevation profile before you go. Each ridge you crest, and there is a lot, you think your there. We were at a average constant pace and it was 2 hrs and 50 minutes. This is not a two hour hike up unless you are moving. Took 2 hours 20 minutes down.

hiking
3 months ago

Beautiful hike with awesome views pretty much the entire time! First mile up is a decent climb, and then again as you get closer to the lake - but really not too bad. Took about 2 hours to get to the lake, and then a little under 2 hours back down. Despite it being downhill the whole way back to the lot, it's rocky and requires attention so you don't face plant - so it's not a quick trip back down. But, there's a ton of wildflowers (for now!) with beautiful meadows you pass through, and if you leave early enough - very few people. GPS watch tracked 9.2 miles, which is more accurate than my Fitbit (which said 10).

hiking
3 months ago

Spectacular views, but definitely more than 4.5 miles. I would say at least 5.5 miles according to my Fitbit. The first and last mile or so are really difficult and most of the trail requires an attentive eye. If you run into the trail dividing, then stay to the left. It took about 6 hours total and I am not an avid hiker (but trying to be)!

3 months ago

Great trail. Perfect for the avid hiker looking for a great day to put a marathon under their boots. Lots of rocks and open valley. Very steep start makes you feel you bit off more than you can chew - which you may have if you're not experienced. Definitely more than 4.5 miles in to the lake. We didn't make it due to time constraints, but next time for sure.

hiking
3 months ago

This trail is incredible! Just the right amount of open and undergrowth trails, it will seem really wrong and parts that are NOT part of the actually trail, these are blocked by logs, they are quite clearly marked. The lake is just magic once getting to it at the very back of the valley. The lake is quite big too and is also great to hike around and jump in, if warm enough! Overall, one of the most scenic hikes I've ever been on.

backpacking
4 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

It's tough. All the way around and more like 11.7miles but who's counting. Pure incline from the start. It's rewarding when you reach the top. There's some spot that will make you think you've reach the lake but just keep pushing its up there! (The waters just fine btw) Great hike but it is very tough if you're not an active hiker...

hiking
4 months ago

Go hike this trail. Everything about it is absolutely awesome. Starts off tough, gets easier through some meadows, than the last part gets tough again. Overall was an easy day hike right off the highway in East Vail. I started at 1130 and was back down by 330. A few people on the trail but not a lot, trailhead parking lot was not full either.

hiking
4 months ago

I hiked this outstanding alpine lake trail on 7/16/2016. Challenging (due to length and elevation gain), with views well worth the effort. This trail offers a creek (Pitkin Creek parallels the lower trail), waterfall (large cascade in the distance about 1/2 way up), peaks galore and a beautiful lake at the top. Starting at 7:30 am, I did not encounter other hikers until descending in the early afternoon. Bonus that the trailhead is right off the freeway for quick, easy access.

4 months ago

Super steep for the initial mile then levels out through the meadows and then gets steep again very rapidly a few more times throughout the hike. The Aspen trees, wildflowers and pines are breathtaking and panoramic views are some of the best this area has to offer. Obviously highly recommend.

4 months ago

hiking
5 months ago

I'm an avid hiker and this was a challenging, steep trail. Big steps, lots of rock hopping, and oh steep! Trail had moments of being narrow and washed out.

My watch calculated 10.9 miles from trailhead to the lake and back. 3094 feet of gain. The basin in gorgeous and it's well worth the day hike. I don't think I would lug my backpack up this trail.

5 months ago

Great family hike!!