Ptarmigan Lake Trail

HARD 36 reviews
#24 of 134 trails in

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.

Distance: 8.6 miles Elevation Gain: 1,896 feet Route Type: Out & Back

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

forest

lake

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

snow

no dogs

hiking
rocky
2 days ago

definitely a great, yet challenging hike. great views.

We did this trail on 7/13/2019 along with Iceberg Lake Trail, so here’s a review of both. Iceberg Lake Trail: Like other reviews mentioned, it is a fairly easy grade except for the initial part and the final push. Halfway up, a ranger leading a group before us mentioned that there was hail and lightning heading our way in 15 mins, so we doubled down and sought shelter in the woods. After the rain, we resumed and saw a mama and baby moose! Once we hit the lake, it was nothing short of breathtaking. Absolutely gorgeous! Highly recommend this trail! Ptarmigan Lake Trail: On our way down from Iceberg Lake, we split to climb up to Ptarmigan Lake. This is a very difficult trail with steep gradients almost all along. I highly recommend the use of hiking poles! The trail up to the lake is impressive, but still prefer Iceberg Lake Trail. After the lake, the trail continues up to the tunnel. Beware that this part is still being made into trails, and can be dangerous if you slip. It is very steep gradient and is a fantastic bit of trail to challenge yourself! Once you reach the tunnel and pass through, I recommend you hike another 0.3 miles to see 2 other glaciers to the left. The views from here are definitely impressive. The trail does continue onwards another 6 miles? To reach Lake Elizabeth. We did not do this section since we were pretty burnt by this time and chose to return to base. Steep trail, but worth it.

hiking
bugs
4 days ago

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!

hiking
5 days ago

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.

hiking
13 days ago

Flippin awesome.

rock climbing
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

Crows feet mountain summit from just before the lake.

backpacking
6 months ago

Hiked August 2017 and still remains one of my favorites Ive done. Trail itself is not to challenging until you reach the switchbacks that lead to the tunnel. Lots of wildlife along the way and at the lake. We saw mountain goats, sheep, and a golden eagle dive in for a kill all in a span of an hour.

hiking
9 months ago

Did this hike today (including the tunnel). The views are spectacular all the way up. Not very challenging to the lake, some easy switchbacks take you up to the tunnel (to be closed in 2 days!). Saw some deer, mountain goats and big horn sheep. Amazing scenery makes this hike one of my favourites!!

10 months ago

Moderate to hard. Amazing scenery. Lake is nothing special but it is worth the extra effort to get to the tunnel. Views overlooking Elizabeth Lake are absolutely amazing. Even spotted a mom and 2 cubs (grizzly) on the way back.

hiking
11 months ago

Did this beauty yesterday July 28th 2018! Perfect hike if you want a bit of a challenge. wouldn't rate it difficult but it definitely gets your heart rate going:) The Tunnel is really something! The weather was perfect and we even spotted a mama grizzly and her two cubs at a safe but perfect viewing distance on the way down:)

hiking
Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Excellent hike like everything in glacier. Nicely wooded scene opens into an expansive meadow near alpine only to be finished off by the actual tunnel following a few switchbacks behind the lake. Easy directions to get to the trailhead. Would suggest doing iceberg lake on the same day since they share the same trail.

hiking
Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Cool hike with a nice view but went in mid June and it was far too snowy to reach the tunnel :( the lake is cool but not as cool as iceberg.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

WOW! That’s all!

hiking
Friday, September 22, 2017

Hike was beautiful, certainly not difficult. Snow covered Switchbacks to the tunnel were moderate at best, even with no poles. Snowstorm blew in and could not see hidden valley.

Friday, September 08, 2017

Incredible trail to the tunnel...Don't stop at the lake, keep hiking up the incredibly challenging switchbacks to the tunnel at the top. The hidden valley on the other side of the tunnel is amazing!!! This is a long hike, take plenty of water and spend time enjoying the hidden valley. If you do this hike you will have "bragging rights" for life as a hiker

hiking
Saturday, August 26, 2017

For the last 20 years I have tried to hike the tunnel but each time it got closed due to bears. I wish I could have hiked this 20 years younger when I was a bad a--. It is a very hard hike but oh so worth the pain.

backpacking
Thursday, August 10, 2017

We went in early July. The wildflowers were in bloom. Every where I looked, it was a riot of color. The hike had a few challenging spots, but heat and the elevation were the two biggest. It was bright, hot, and not much cover from the sun. Plenty of water along the route, but wear sunscreen, light clothes, a hat, and bring rehydration salts of you aren't use to hike at elevation. Loved it. Plan to go up and over next year.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Great view of the lake and a gorgeous hike. There is plenty of shade along the trail but I'd still recommend bringing sunscreen. Be prepared to walk uphill almost the entire way there. Definitely worth it though.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Lovely hike, try to head out in the morning to avoid the heat, the iceberg lake would be better if it is the beginnings of July, don't miss the ptarmigan tunnel, it is marvelous, the tunnel connected two difference of views. green trees versus red stone mountains.

hiking
Thursday, July 20, 2017

Gorgeous views that include wildflowers and wildlife. The tunnel at the top is really cool as well. Be sure to bring bear spray!

Thursday, September 01, 2016

I'd say a moderate trail, the last little bit is tough uphill. Bring a fishing pole - we caught some nice trout here. Oh yeah - and bear spray

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