Hike past two stunning alpine lakes, Stella and Teresa Lakes, as you travel along the beautiful Alpine Lakes Loop Trail with great views of Wheeler Peak along the way.

The Alpine Lakes Loop is a 2.7 mile round-trip trail starting at 9,800ft and gaining 600ft at its highest point. The loop trail travels past two pristine alpine lakes, Stella and Teresa Lakes, while providing excellent views of Wheeler Peak as a nearby backdrop. The trail is easy and accessible to hikers of any level, depending upon the season and amount snow found at the trails elevation. It is best used from approximately March through October.

The trail starts at the Bristlecone Parking Area, near the Wheeler Peak Campground, at the end of the Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive. From the trailhead you hike along a forested portion of the trail, following the same path as the Wheeler Peak Summit Trail, starting the loop in a counterclockwise direction. Once you pass through the forested section of the trail, you arrive at a fork in the trail approximately 0.3 miles in. From there, veer left to continue toward Stella Lake. Veering right leads you further along the Wheeler Peak Trail to the summit. Stella Lake is very scenic, providing stunning views of Wheeler Peak and an array of rich colors in the water. Often the lake has a glasslike quality, especially in the morning light, where it reflects Wheeler Peak and the trees surrounding the lake. 

From Stella Lake, the trail continues about 1 mile, through a sparse high elevation forest, leading to a small creek that feeds Teresa Lake. Depending on the time of year the banks of the creek can be filled with flowers, providing some great photography or enjoyment along the way. Teresa Lake, while smaller than Stella Lake, provides yet another great vantage point to observe Wheeler Peak. Downed Pine Trees can often be found near the banks of the lake and provide a great place to sit and enjoy some snacks or relax while taking in the landscape. 

From Teresa Lake, the trail beings to descend back into the main forested area and meets up with the Bristlecone Grove Trail leading back to the parking lot.

The time of year and weather can greatly affect the conditions on this trail. In late fall, winter, and parts of spring the trail is largely snow covered due to the high elevation and colder temperatures. Also, during much of these colder months the lakes are particularly or totally frozen. Snow on the trail can make staying on trail and general navigation nearly impossible without GPS as a guide and may also require snow hiking equipment. However, in the warmer months the trail is easily accessible with to all with little to no hiking experience required.  

Pack List

  • Hiking Shoes/Boots
  • Water
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Snacks/Lunch
  • Jacket (Seasonal)
  • Snowshoes (Seasonal)
  • Camera 
Show More
RT Distance 2.7 Miles
Elevation Gain 600 Feet
Activities Chillin, Photography, Running, Snowshoeing, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Loop
Easy Parking
Family Friendly


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