Ptarmigan Lake Trail

MODERATE 95 reviews
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Ptarmigan Lake Trail is a 5.9 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.

DISTANCE
5.9 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1466 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

backpacking

birding

camping

fishing

hiking

horseback riding

mountain biking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

snow

Road leading to the trail is closed 2.4 miles before the trailhead.

hiking
2 days ago

So I attempted this as if I were not a native of CO. Surely others were shaking their heads. You need waterproof hiking footwear!

Can't wait to go back with hiking boots and poles!

Gorgeous!

trail running
2 months ago

Didn’t actually make it up! The east access road is currently closed off to traffic. Didn’t know how to update that without a review! I’m sure it’s a splendid running trail though!

hiking
6 months ago

Cottonwood pass is currently open to the trailhead as of 11/18. There’s a LOT of snow on the pass and the trail. You would need 4WD and high clearance. No one else was on the trail though! Really nice hike with great views of surrounding 14ers. Lost the trail about 3/4 of the way up due to snow and down trees.

hiking
6 months ago

Went with a big group with ranging hiking skill levels. Everyone had such a blast - it was a very gradual incline that I'd consider easy. There's some snow on the ground, so be careful. Great views of some lakes surrounded by 14ers.

7 months ago

Loved this hike!!!

8 months ago

Great trail. Good for a quick easy backpacking trip.

hiking
8 months ago

Absolutely love this trail! Beautiful views pretty much everywhere. Aspens and bushes are changing colors. Keep going past that first lake to Ptarmigan lake at the top.

hiking
8 months ago

The road west of the trail is closed, but access to the east from BV is open. Plenty of parking on the road near the trailhead, even though we got there relatively late in the day. Pretty much the definition of a moderate hike. The trail wasn't heavily populated. Views up top were incredible...14ers everywhere you look, mountain lakes, you name it.

8 months ago

my dogs loved this trail. beautiful.

8 months ago

I am a bit out of shape, so the trail was a bit challenging for me. I'm so glad I completed it. The views were so worth the work!

hiking
8 months ago

Great hike in beautiful area. Mountain lakes are so nice and this is a steady easy climb. Do not miss turn at lower lake.....bear right after lower lake that is on the right...several were searching for trail to upper lake...Ptarmigan.

hiking
8 months ago

This is a great hike with easy elevation. I had it measured as 6.2 miles. My wife and I never felt challenged enjoyed a nice steady pace.

8 months ago

Such a great hike! Beautiful views, gradual climb making it doable to many! Get an early start to avoid the crowds and storms.

9 months ago

Awesome hike! Loved everything about this hike! The trail was great and easy to follow. The views are spectacular. The lake is large, beautiful, and full of fish! We started early so we saw no one until up at the lake. On our return we ran into numerous hikers! Trailhead parking lot is small so many park out by the road! Highly recommend this hike! The wild flowers were spectacular!

9 months ago

Great hike with a spectacular amphitheater at the end. Pretty easy, even for a couple of 70+

10 months ago

Rewarding hike. I'm not used to the altitude so I barely made it. All others in our group of 10 made it without difficulty.

10 months ago

Great trail! Gentle, steady climb to the lake. Ran into some spotty weather with hail on the descent. Lots of fish in the lower lake. I wasn't able to fish at Ptarmigan lake due to exposure and the questionable clouds moving in. Surprising amount of people on the trail for a weekday.

hiking
10 months ago

Very challenging, rocky hike for me but loved every minute. Very pretty wildflowers here and there. Everyone was super friendly; loved seeing the many happy dogs charging up the trail

hiking
10 months ago

Great time of year to see the wildflowers:) Nice day hike. Only negative was there were a lot of people on the trail with dogs and only one or two others (besides us) had them on leashes.

hiking
10 months ago

This was a wonderful trail that we did up and back in about 3 hours - beautiful scenery, not very challenging, but OH the bugs! I would HIGHLY recommend mosquito repellant! Flowers are almost at their peak bloom - will probably be beautiful within the next week. Definitely a trail I'd come back to

10 months ago

I loved it! I caught 30 of the most brilliantly colored Rainbow Trout (fly & fly on bobber) between an evening and the next morning (I stayed overnight).
The trail is easy enough for cross trainers or a light trail shoe if you have strong ankles, but plan for wet feet if you want to explore around the lake due to snow-melt from nearly every side. I wore Tevas (sandals) in/around the lake and 3 miles back down the trail and actually liked that better than slogging around in wet shoes and socks. Bug repellent is definitely a good idea near the lake

hiking
10 months ago

Very nice walk to Ptarmigan Lake. Trail climbs pretty gently and continuously.

hiking
10 months ago

Great hike with amazing views of mountain ridges, nice clean creeks, and great amount of shade. The lake it self is amazing, crystal clear and you can get great views of the lake anywhere around the hike when you get, bonus small pond next to the lake when you get there. only down side was the mosquitos, at the lake were out of control.

10 months ago

Beautiful trail but the mosquitos and flies were out of control.

hiking
10 months ago

Definitely a beautiful trail. Would hike it again. Went in mid-June, so still hit quite a bit of snow in the higher elevation. Gaiters were a must for the last couple miles. Due to the snow and the snow melt, ended up re-trailing in a few areas, but were able to pick up the trail fairly easy. Would like to see it again late summer.

backpacking
10 months ago

Beautiful trail to backpack up and stay the night. Although be warned... mosquitoes galore near lakes! Most of the snow on trail has melted.

backpacking
10 months ago

Easy drive. Take co rd. 344, look for easy 4x4 trail south of lake Ptarmigan on google maps grid 38.770900, -106.384929. Park at the end. Then you can walk 0.5 mile to the lake or 1.5 further north and camp at the lower lakes. Fun and easy 2 days 2 nights.

11 months ago

Love the hike. Still too much snow to make it all the way through if your alone as I was. I didn't mind the snow since I got hot on the way up, I used a little to cool off with.

hiking
11 months ago

There is still lots of snow as of June 13th on the upper part of the trail. At about a half mile before the lake it was impossible to clearly see the way and easy to lose the trail. Other than not reaching the lake it was a nice hike and we will be back later this summer to finish it. I would not recommend the upper part of the trail until more snow melts, unless you know the route very well and don't mind slogging through some (still) fairly deep snow.

hiking
11 months ago

Cottonwood Pass (County Rd/Hwy 306) is closed for the entire 2017 summer season on the west (Gunnison County) side, as well as most of 2018 on the east (Chaffee County) side, while the road undergoes widening and paving. For more information, call Gunnison County Public Works at 970-641-0044.

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