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Ptarmigan Lake Trail is a 8.6 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Babb, Montana that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from March until September.

Length 8.6 mi Elevation gain 1,896 ft Route type Out & Back

Hiking

Nature trips

Bird watching

Forest

Lake

Views

Waterfall

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Snow

Closed

No dogs

Description
Waypoints (0)

This trail is experiencing full or partial closure due to COVID-19. Please see the open trails nearby for alternate hiking options.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (126)
Photos (342)
Recordings (72)
Completed (380)
Natalie C
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarThu Oct 24 2019
Hiking

This hike is a CONSTANT incline after you meet the fork for the trails to go to Iceberg Lake or Ptarmigan Tunnel. We already hiked to Iceberg Lake and decided to add this onto our hike last minute. The incline wasn’t major, but it was long and steady and definitely felt gruelling after already putting 6-7 miles on our feet. If you want some nice views with less people, this is a good option. The falls and lake are pretty, and it’s such a cool experience to walk through that tunnel and see a completely different view on the other side. If you hike down the wall a bit further after the tunnel, you can look back to where you came from and see a glacier just beyond the wall you hiked through. Pretty cool hike, but tough, especially when combining with Iceberg. Went mid July 2019.

Kaye Vandenbranden
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Oct 08 2019
Hiking

So enjoy this trail,, went to the ptarmigan tunnel. It’s amazing how this tunnel was carved through the rock. I did this hike in early September. Also went to Iceberg lake that day, long day, but very Doable.

Kelly Dunlop
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Sep 23 2019
Hiking

We did this trail after completing Iceberg Lake Trail earlier than we had anticipated so our legs were a little tired but the tunnel and the spectacular view were well worth the effort. We saw some big horn sheep right on the trail in front of us as well as a deer and her two babies. The views on the other side of the tunnel are stunning and if you walk a couple 100m beyond, you can get a great view of a glacier. Great hike!

Keith Perry
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSat Sep 21 2019
Hiking

We had a great day hiking despite cloudy, windy and fairly cool conditions. The hike is a good workout with over 2,000 ft of elevation changes. Be aware that you spend almost 3 miles in prime bear territory especially during berry season. We took our time and did the hike including 30 mins for lunch and resting in approximately 6 hrs. We are both over 65 so it is a good workout but worth the views.

Kevin Gust
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Sep 19 2019
Hiking

Great hike! We saw a moose just off the trail on the way up. we also continued through Ptarmigan tunnel and saw Elizabeth lake on the other side. Going that far was about 12.9 mi.

View Kevin's Recording
Duke Goss
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Sep 16 2019
Hiking

Great day of hiking!! The tunnel is so cool!! You gotta go about 300 yards past the tunnel and look back up to the left at the glacier!! So worth the extra walk!! Still quite a few huckleberries too!! On the way down we had a black bear cross the trail at about 15’ away!! This happened approximately 1 mile from the trail head. What a great day!!!

Dan Edwards
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Sep 13 2019
Hiking

A great hike with all sorts of terrain. The trail moves through forests and Alpine meadows. Don't miss the view from the north side of the tunnel, it's amazing!

Julie W.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Sep 07 2019
Hiking

First hike in the park and we LOVED it! Lots of late season wildflowers, saw a pack of bighorn sheep near the lake. Enjoyed lunch along the lake. Hiked in the morning, felt like less people than other trails. The tunnel is very cool with an amazing view on the other side. It was recommended to us to go another 0.25 mile passed the tunnel to see the full view on the other side; amazing views regardless. We did this with iceberg lake; both are great but preferred tunnel if you had to pick just 1.

Megan Schroeder
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarWed Sep 04 2019
Hiking

The tunnel at the end is very different and unique! The views on the other side of the tunnel were very different to the side you hike up. There is also a lake before going up to the tunnel which is a great place to stop for lunch.

Chris Copple
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Aug 30 2019
Hiking

Hiked through the tunnel. Worth it!!! Also detoured partially up the Iceberg Lake trail to see a grizzly chowing down on a carcass!

Cheryl Schweigert
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Aug 30 2019
Hiking

August 24,2019 We took a group of kids of various ages and they all made it. Trail was in good condition. Another hiker suggested to go 200 yards past the tunnel exit to view the glacier.

Catherine Fae
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Aug 28 2019
Hiking

Amazing hike! I hiked to the tunnel with my 1 year old and along the way seen so many wild flowers, the lake was beautiful, and the ridge to the tunnel was breathtaking.

View Catherine's Recording
Tammy Friedrich
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarWed Aug 21 2019
Hiking

I hiked this trail with my 19, 21, and 23 year old kids. It was a great hike with lots to see. Several different flower species to see. We stopped at the lake to eat our lunch before making the last climb up to the tunnel. Slow and steady and the last climb is definitely doable! The trail was in amazing shape! It took us approximately 5 hours and I was the obviously the weakest link!

James Sellers
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Aug 18 2019
Hiking

This trail delivers so much -- the falls, the lake, the wildflowers, the mountain views before finally arriving at the amazing 1931 tunnel, with an extraordinary view on the tunnel's other side of Elizabeth Lake and Glacier NP peaks. The crew built not only the tunnel, but also impressive retaining walls. On the sunny day we hiked to the tunnel the last few switchbacks were exposed to cold wind, so pack accordingly. We saw a doe on the trail (seemed unafraid of approaching hikers) and a mountain goat below the tunnel.

Julie Lewis
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Aug 12 2019
Hiking

Go past the lake to the tunnel. It may be a little hard - but SO SO worth it!!

View Julie's Recording
Chris James
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Aug 06 2019
HikingNo shade

Start early. Much of the trail was out in the sun. Mid day would have been hot and miserable. The lake itself really isn't that impressive. The climb to the tunnel looks daunting but it's no harder than the climb to the lake you're just in the open with no shade. The views on the other side of the tunnel is great. Also did iceberg lake with this. Do this side first if you do both. Iceberg is much easier and will be easier with tired legs. The views were fantastic but not as good as grinell.

Colette James
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Aug 04 2019
Hiking

Hiked just past the tunnel and to iceberg lake. Great days lots of miles on the feet. It does it warm with spots of sun exposure towards mid day so be prepared. Also don’t believe my miles and elevation gain if you look at my recording it somehow get messed up. Car to car it was around 17 miles and 3000 in elevation gain

View Colette's Recording
Mike Morra
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Aug 03 2019
Hiking

I am going to make this short and sweet. This hike ends at the tunnel. If you choose to continue on to see some epic views then just remember it’s a good climb back up. So I did this with a pack with about 50 lbs on my back and we loved the hike it was absolutely stunning saw a moose and about 7 mountain goats. Well worth the day that we spent here.

View Mike's Recording
Josh Russomanno
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarThu Aug 01 2019
HikingRocky

Easy hike with only a few spots where the elevation gain makes you breathe very hard. The switchback once you get up to the lake is not near as daunting as it looks from the bottom. Overall great hike and worth doing.

View Josh's Recording
Mike Tacchella
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Jul 28 2019
Hiking

Great hike! My wife and two kids (9 and 4) did this yesterday 7/26/19 on our way back from Iceberg lake. It made for a really long day (17 miles) bit the trail to Ptarmigan was amazing. Bear grass everywhere! Hike up to the tunnel was fun and about a third of a mile past the tunnel you very stunning views of a glacier and some other peaks that you can't see without going a little past it. Highly recommend. The lake itself is nice, but not like Upper grinnell, iceberg or Cracker.

Christina Siau
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jul 27 2019
Hiking

Great trail up to an alpine lake. If you walk and extra mile past steep switchbacks you can make it to a tunnel that passes through the mountain

Mike Tacchella
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Jul 26 2019
Hiking

Great trail, thoroughly enjoyed it. Not a ton of ice on the lake at this point. We did ptarmigan page and tunnel on the way back. Made for about 17 miles round-trip but it was worth it

View Mike's Recording
Drake Kutkat
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Jul 26 2019
Hiking

Trail is well kept and has a wide path majority of the way - which makes it great to look up at the views vs looking down to avoid roots and rocks. Descent incline to start off the trail before it levels off until the waterfall and then the incline increases again until you reach the lake followed by a half mile steep and tough incline to get to ptarmigan tunnel. It’s worth taking a breather when you get to the lake to prepare for the last incline to the tunnel. Amazing views - out of the world!

sal s
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarThu Jul 25 2019
Hiking

Tunnel is a must

M A
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Jul 25 2019
HikingRocky

From the parking lot to the tunnel (and walking through it and looking at the other side/taking pics) and back was approximately 11.25 miles. Significant gain at the end portion of the hike past Ptarmigan Lake. Very exposed so wear sunscreen. Be aware of falling rocks on the other side of the tunnel. Today was super windy and a rock fell down from the cliff above and hit me in the head really hard. Luckily wasn’t bleeding, but felt dizzy for a while and have a huge bump. If you or a loved one are afraid of heights I would not recommend. The part past the lake to the tunnel is on a super thin path climbing up the edge of a cliff for a substantial amount of time. Beautiful scenery all together.

Aiden N Korotkin
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Jul 15 2019
HikingRocky

definitely a great, yet challenging hike. great views.

Kim Small
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jul 13 2019
Hiking

Trail in good condition. More crowded before split to tunnel. Was thinking we’d only be able to go lake but tunnel opened right before we got there. Views were amazing! Encountered huge bull moose on way up. Elevation gain ramps up right after split and on switchbacks after lake. Worth every step!!

Shay Mur
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jul 13 2019
HikingBugs

This hike follows the same trail as Iceberg Lake for the first 2 miles or so then splits off. It goes somewhat gradual at first but then kicks it up a bit. We saw no wildlife on this trail as we started at 2:30 (we had gone up to Waterton earlier) otherwise we would have been up first thing! Other hikers saw moose and Grizzly. Once we got to the lake, you can see the grueling switchbacks to the tunnel ahead of you. Just another 2/3 of a mile and 500' more and you are at the tunnel. These switchbacks are exposed and a lil freaky for me! If you go through the tunnel, keep walking another .1 or so for a really great view of a Glacier!

Michael Weber
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Jul 12 2019
Hiking

Great hike. Decent elevation gain to the lake that will get your attention, but saw plenty of families making it. Once you’re at the lake, the switchbacks up to Ptarmigan Tunnel look much worse than they are. We went up and all the way through the tunnel (which was open) and took in an amazing view.

Esteban Peralta
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Jul 04 2019
Hiking

Flippin awesome.

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