Beautiful hike to alpine lakes with great views of Mt. Yale along the way! Wild flowers are in full bloom in July.

When you begin the trail, make sure to choose the correct trailhead from the parking lot (located on the south side of the lot to the left, NOT behind the bathroom).

From there, begin a moderate climb through a shaded fir forest to the tree line. Emerge in a meadow at a pond and the lower lake, framed by towering peaks. This is a great spot for a picnic or for camping overnight (*please be sure to set up camp at least 100 feet from the lakeshore).

Many people turn back here, believing they have reached the end, but continue hiking up past the lower lake. As you gain elevation, enjoy breathtaking views of Mt. Yale and the valley below. At the top, you will reach Ptarmigan Lake, a beautiful alpine lake with a great vantage point. There are often people fishing here, so stop and take a few casts before heading back down.

This trail is dog and family friendly.

If you're looking for the Ptarmigan Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park, head to Hike to Ptarmigan Lake

Pack List

  • Backpack
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Camera
Show More
RT Distance 6.5 Miles
Elevation Gain 1800 Feet
Activities Camping, Fishing, Photography, Snowshoeing, Backpacking, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Year Round
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Family Friendly
Lake
Scenic
Wildflowers

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Nearby Adventures

More Nearby Adventures

Summit Mt. Yale

This amazing adventure starts at 9,900 feet and goes up 4,300 feet over the course of a 9.5 mile round trip. You will want to start at the Denny Creek Trailhead.

141 Saves

Hike to Lost Lake

This Trail starts at about 11,200 feet right before the top of cottonwood pass.

272 Saves

Take in the Views on Cottonwood Pass

Starting in the town of Buena Vista, head west on E Main Street until it turns into State Highway 306.

120 Saves