Ptarmigan Lake Trail

moderate 221 reviews
#3 of 147 trails in

Ptarmigan Lake Trail is a 6 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Nathrop, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, bird watching, and fly fishing and is best used from March until October.

Distance: 6.0 miles Elevation Gain: 1,469 feet Route Type: Out & Back

hiking

bird watching

running

lake

views

wild flowers

snow

no shade

Please note the road leading up to the trail has been closed in the past. Please check current road conditions to ensure trail access.

hiking
snow
4 months ago

Quintessential alpine lake hike. Elevation gain is very steady throughout. Snow on trail whole time but a clear and well maintained trail and still very doable with normal hiking boots. Very cold at lake but worth it. Breathtaking.

hiking
4 months ago

Gorgeous views. Last bit of the trail was pretty steep but so worth the upper lake view

hiking
4 months ago

Little bit of snow. Didn’t go to lake due to time crunch. Very pretty home.

hiking
4 months ago

Done a year ago and still think it's one of my favorites. Make sure to layer for alterations in temp.

hiking
4 months ago

This trail is awesome! Will not be disappointed. Beautiful the entire time! The elevation kicked our butts but it was completely worth it!

hiking
4 months ago

It’s always a great day for a hike, but it was quite windy at the top. We went to the overlook above the top lake, and my hat went sailing into the sky. If you fins a blue hat with “Sportvision” on it, I think south of the lake, call me at (719) 494-1234. The road is paved all the way to the trailhead.

hiking
5 months ago

Great trail for a late start day hike during summer months. Pretty straightforward the whole way. Moderate incline until the end where it is a tad bit steeper and the oxygen level is thinner so it’s difficult to breathe. Beautiful lakes that our dog loved. Pretty cold and windy at the very top of ptarmigan lake (bring windbreaker and layers if you want to stay up there longer). Gorgeous and highly recommend!

hiking
5 months ago

Arrived at 830 am 3 spots left to park. Nice gradual hike through woods to first lake which I measured at 2.8 miles main lake was 3.5 miles so the distance in Trails and the sign at TH seems off. Regardless, excellent fall hiking day, 57 degrees light winds. We could only imagine the wildflowers and beautiful scene in late July and early August. Really impressive hike, will come back.

hiking
5 months ago

GORGEOUS last day of summer hike, there wasn't a cloud in the sky. The hike is appropriately rated as moderate with it's 1,500 ft. elevation gain in about 3.4 miles. The first lake is at about 2.8 miles. We ran in to about 15 people in total all day, I'd expected more being a Sunday. I highly recommend this hike. Will do it again.

hiking
rocky
5 months ago

This was a really great trail. It was a little more difficult and seemed longer than stated but worth the final push to the lake

hiking
5 months ago

One way

hiking
5 months ago

One of my favorite trails in Chaffee County! I've hiked this since I was a kid and finally made it to the lake a couple years ago. This is a beautiful trail with many changing landscapes. There's always something new to see. Bring a lunch and eat by the lake; I think you will love this trail!

hiking
5 months ago

Except for the last push to the lake this was an easy hike. It only gets somewhat steep when you climb up to the lake. We continued past the lake and up the ridge and just kept going until it was time to turn around. Supposedly his fishing for trout.

hiking
6 months ago

Absolutely beautiful hike. Highly recommend climbing up the bluff once you get to the ptarmigan lake. The views from that vantage point is two different bowls looking out over multiple 13ers & 14ers are unbelievable.

hiking
6 months ago

We loved this hike! Great views along the way, well worth it!

hiking
6 months ago

lovely hike! make sure you continue past the small lakes you'll reach... one on the left and right! ptarmigan lake is about 1/2mile further up!

hiking
6 months ago

So happy to have completed this trail....for personal reasons. Tried it May 2018 on a newly healed broken leg....Couldn't do it. Then the pass closed. Now It's open....at least to this trailhead I'm not sure about anything farther. It's a great trail with gentle incline to two lakes.....then you keep going another half mile and wowsers! The Ptarmigan lake is so beautiful! There were no mountain bikes on the trail, although allowed. I'm not against them, I just haven't had a good experience since sooner don't yield to me, the hiker. I don't want to get hurt.

hiking
6 months ago

Great acclimatization hike if you're a flatlander and want to hike some 14ers later in the trip. Lovely forest hike with manageable incline for the first 2/3, then great views of the surrounding peaks until you hit the lake. Just past the lake is a pass where you can see a few peaks to the south.

hiking
6 months ago

Lots of mosquitos but otherwise a really nice hike!

hiking
6 months ago

it doesn't get better than this. the wildflowers are still in bloom

hiking
6 months ago

8/3/2019 Great trail! Made it to the upper lake as the sun was cresting the peak to the east. Beautiful! Mosquitos are in full force so remember your repellents!

hiking
7 months ago

Beautiful! So many wildflowers at the lake. And huge cutthroat trout. We went up the pass a bit beyond the lake and got even more good views.

not closed to foot traffic

hiking
7 months ago

This is a beautiful trail. Nice and steady climb. The lake was gorgeous. No snow at this time of year.

hiking
7 months ago

Great trail!

hiking
7 months ago

Completed on 7.21.19, left trailhead at 7:30 am made it to the lake by 8:25, my son caught 3 cutthroat, mosquitoes were out but not terrible.

hiking
bugs
7 months ago

Thur. 7/18-7/19 Trail in great shape, trail maint volunteers at work. Beauty words cannot describe awaits.... One sketchy crossing just below Ptarmigan if you’re carrying more than a day pack. Mosquitos are numerous. Wildflowers are out. And the heat is on.

hiking
muddy
rocky
7 months ago

This trail is definately open. Tracked 7 miles as we went ober to the other side of the big lake and up onto the crest. Forrest for two thirds of the way. Rocky trail there so watch your footing. Once above treeline there are three or four smaller lakes and the big lake at the top. A stream which needs crossing via a few rocks in it. Wildflowers with more coming. Overall good workout and nice views.

hiking
bugs
7 months ago

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