Pitkin Lake Trail

HARD 98 reviews
#2 of 22 trails in

Pitkin Lake Trail is a 9.5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Vail, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
9.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2975 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

lake

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

40 minutes ago

Great long and very scenic hike. Plenty of small little tarns to hit with your line. And plenty of scrambling fun to be had.

hiking
2 days ago

Hiked on 12/9/2017

Made it about 1 mile until Pitkin Lake before having to turn around. We had lost the trail several times over the first 4 miles but kept finding the trail again to continue. Trail is under about 1 ft minimum of snow (powder not packed snow), at times 3 ft. Turned around after not wanting to walk through deep snow anymore. Started the trail at 7:30am - back at the lot at 12:30pm. Several stops to figure out where the trail was, 1 food break and lots of stops for photography (our main reason for going out there).

Highly recommend this trail but should wait a few months before hiking unless you have snow shoes. I will be back to complete this hike in Summer. Trail is most difficult at the beginning. No snow at the trailhead but starts about 1 mile into the trail.

hiking
7 days ago

This was the highlight of my trip to CO. Catching wild fish with our bare hands(and obviously releasing them) was something I'll never forget. The hardest part is in the beginning but when you get to the top its worth it.

hiking
14 days ago

Completed hike in August, beautiful wildflowers, wonderful hike... fun. One item to watch-out for are the damn aggressive wasps who got us going up and down!

20 days ago

backpacking
2 months ago

It was fine I mean ppl say it's hard and tough but not really ! I've been hiking since I was a child so it was fine :)go for it

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

Disclaimer: This my first altitude hike after 18 days at sea level and a 35 mile backpacking trip at about 5k ft. however, this hike is beautiful but it is an ass-kicker. Confirming an earlier review, the length identified by alltrails is inaccurate. The one-way distance is 5.3 miles (10.6 RT). The trail is also different than the map indicates. I tracked it with alltrails map and toward the end it detours dramatically. I walked back using a different hiking app and it tracked it as 5.3 miles. I figured the detour added at least 0.5 mile extra and this would make sense given the difference between alltrails one-way estimate. I was up there with one other couple and they put a flyrod to the test and caught at least three fish within 10 mins.

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

Loved the trail. Beautiful sites all the way around. A word of caution . . We tracked 12 1/2 at 11,883 feet. Air gets pretty thin especially to us eastern Pennsylvanians!! That being said a must see lake! Absolutely beautiful! So glad we continued on! It took us 6 1/2 hours with plenty of stopping pictures and encouragement from each other

hiking
3 months ago

What a beautiful and challenging hike with all sorts of terrain and landscapes! Lots of squirrels, chipmunks, birds. Took us 3 hours and 45 min up, 2 hours and 40 min down. We stopped a few times for bathroom breaks and pictures on the way up. Spent 45 min up at the lake and had lunch because it was oh so beautiful! Bring lots of water and snacks to keep you going. The weather was absolutely perfect and we shed our layers a little over one hour in; started at 815am. Also, thank goodness we wore sunscreen! I was thankful for my ankle high hiking boots for added stability. My knees were hurting towards the end from the repeated steep descents on the way back. I exercise daily doing either hot vinyasa or Bikram and run 3-4 miles a few times weekly. I found this to be a pretty challenging hike.

hiking
3 months ago

This hike is going to be a GEM in about 2 or 3 weeks once the aspens start changing in full. Already some yellows and oranges in the upper aspen meadows. There weren't many spots to park at the TH, and equally few hikers on the trail, which was a relief to have the lake to ourselves. We clocked the whole thing as 10.5 miles (honestly, the longer mileage made the elevation gain more doable). Steep descent was hard on the knees and ankles. Even if you don't want to do the full trip, leaf peepers will surely enjoy the first two miles of aspen groves.

3 months ago

Enjoyed this hike a lot! Took us 3hours to get up, and about 2.5 to return.

3 months ago

3 months ago

One of my top five hikes this year. More of a 12 mile hike then advertised. First part was rough but mellowed out. Lots of raspberries to eat and blueberries. The lake was crystal clear. Beautiful big rainbow fish. We will definitely be back! Plan lots of time for this hike seriously an all day thing plan 6-9 hrs or backpack overnight.

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

Longer than advertised ca. 12 miles by our count, but the pristine, clear lake is worth it. Great views throughout, get through the first climb, gets easier after, but never boring. Varied terrain, meadows, rocks, walk by creek. Wear waterproof shoes, many creeks to cross and take waterproof layers. We had hail during august.

It's a very beautiful hike. Really awesome. Haven't seen a bear, tho, just a snake and chipmunk. The hike is not so hard if the weather is nice. Then me and my friend did this hike we walked in rain and hailed storm. We weren't prepared for that. So I would advice you to always take your rain jacket. Just in case, cause it was freezing out there. But I am very happy I did this hike. Lake didn't look so spectacular cause of the fog but still was nice.