Pitkin Lake Trail

HARD 51 reviews
#1 of 18 trails in

Pitkin Lake Trail is a 8.5 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
8.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2913 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

walking

lake

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

19 minutes ago

hiking
4 days ago

Lake is still frozen and is packed snow for the last mile or two. It is also nearly impossible to follow the trail for the last mile or two. Only saw two other groups that made it to the lake and we all took very different routes. Beautiful views throughout so definitely worth it. I would maybe wait until July for the snow to melt.

hiking
6 days ago

hiking
11 days ago

Hiked on 6/10/17. Great trail that follows along the creek. We only went about 2 miles in and hardly encountered snow. First .5 miles is tough, but it levels out and provides great scenery.

hiking
12 days ago

13 days ago

Hiked on June 10, 2017 still a lot of snow about a mile away from the lake. It's really difficult to see the trail or footprints so we turned back around!

hiking
15 days ago

hiking
23 days ago

Started this hike in mid-afternoon so only had time to go about halfway to the lake (turned around a little past where you can first see the big waterfall in the distance). The first mile or so is pretty steep, but then starts to level out a good bit after that. Gorgeous hike, and plenty of long-range views after you get up past the initial steep section. As of late May... the trail is *mostly* dry below 10K feet (with some minor hard-packed snowy areas here and there). Above 10K, snowshoes would definitely still be helpful. The trail is a bit tough to follow in places, but you're going up a relatively narrow valley surrounded by steep mountains on both sides, so no need for concern if you wander off the trail a little. Looking forward to hiking to the lake later this summer!

7 months ago

hiking
8 months 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
8 months 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
8 months ago

hiking
8 months ago

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

hiking
9 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.

9 months ago

9 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.

9 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
9 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
10 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
10 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)!