Ptarmigan Lake Trail

MODERATE 41 reviews
#1 of 2 trails in

Ptarmigan Lake Trail is a 6 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Nathrop, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

6.0 miles 1545 feet Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

backpacking

birding

camping

fishing

fly fishing

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

trail running

walking

horseback riding

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

snow

Directions from Buena Vista: Travel approximately 12.5 miles west on Cottonwood Pass Road (Highway 306) to the trailhead on the southern side of the road.

hiking
7 days ago

Amazing hike. Moderate is probably the best rating. A steady elevation gain, but if I can make it up than anyone can. Bring plenty of water and definitely go to the top of the trail to the big lake. It was very windy the day I went, but worth it. The last few switch backs were killer, but so worth it. I highly recommend this hike!

14 days ago

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful hike, just make sure to keep going past the first lake. Having driven from Texas with only a day of acclimation, we completed the hike with relative ease. Stunning views and great landscape. Highly recommended.

2 months ago

Gorgeous place! Overnighted with a few friends by the lower lake. Climbed up to the saddle above ptarmigan but felt like making it to the top of Jones would be too risky with the amount of snow.

hiking
5 months ago

some ppl stop when they get to the first 2 ponds not knowing anything is beyond but keep going another half mile up the mountain to the big lake! so many ppl dont go all the way and they miss out.

hiking
5 months ago

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.

6 months ago

6 months ago

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.

hiking
6 months ago

great, easy hike. amazing views, and the lake is beautiful. also, I HIGHLY recommend climbing Jones mountain (13,200 ft) right next to the lake. it's very difficult, and takes close to an hour to peak, but the view is way worth it.

hiking
6 months ago

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.

6 months ago

Good hike. Nice workout! No bug problems.

6 months ago

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.

6 months ago

hiking
6 months ago

Excellent day hike that is easy to get to. Uphill most of the way, but not overpowering. Trail is easy to follow. Don't overlook the second lake on your hike. It is an excellent place for a picnic.

hiking
6 months ago

hiking
6 months ago

6 months ago

7 months ago

Great hike with awesome view of Mt. Yale. The final Lake is worth the work! You can also continue up ok to the ridge if you so desire to get breath taking views of the valley at your own risk of course! ;)

backpacking
7 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

Beautiful hike. Went on June 9 and the last mile or so was still waste deep snow. Post holed through it and completely worth it.