Hike to Ptarmigan Lake

11.8 Miles Round Trip - 3850 ft gain - Out-and-Back Trail

Bear Lake Trailhead - Search Nearby - Added by Jason Hatfield

A tough hike to a seldom visited off-trail lake in Rocky Mountain National Park.

The hike to Ptarmigan Lake has plenty of elevation gain for mountain lovers and views for miles from the Continental Divide. If you want to reach this spot for sunrise you'll need a very early start in the morning, but that also means you won't have to use the shuttle system to Bear Lake. The last half mile of the hike is off-trail so make sure to watch your step and practice Leave No Trace Principles. If you're lucky you might also encounter a herd of elk foraging for summer greens on Flat Top Mountain.

From the Bear Lake parking area head right on the Bear Lake Trail loop to a fork in .25 miles. Take this steep connector trail up Flat Top Mountain Trail and stay left at a junction with Fern Lake Trail at mile 1. Follow the trail all the way to the top and stay straight at the junctions after mile 4. After 5 miles in you should be able to see the lake 700' below you and can carefully choose your own path down. From the outlet of the Ptarmigan Lake, you can see numerous photogenic tarns and the North Inlet.

Tags

Photography
Hiking
Lake
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Details

11.8 Miles
3850 ft elevation gain
Out-and-Back Trail

Stay Nearby

Larimer County, Colorado

Glacier Basin Campground

Estes Park, Colorado

Moraine Park Campground

Estes Park, Colorado

Estes Park KOA

Allenspark, Colorado

Olive Ridge

Nearby Adventures

Hike to Nymph Lake

1.1 Miles Round Trip - 245 ft gain

Hike Flattop Hallett Andrews Loop

10.9 Miles Round Trip - 3238 ft gain

More Nearby Adventures

Tours

More Tours

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating:  Rate this Adventure

Have you done this adventure? Be the first to leave a review!