Ptarmigan Lake, 11 surface acres, is a popular destination for hikers and anglers. Fishing is usually excellent for native cutthroat trout in the cold waters of the lake. The lake lies above timberline so be sure to avoid it during thunderstorms.
The trail starts on Cottonwood Pass at about 10,660'. From the trailhead it climbs steadily but not steeply along the western side of Ptarmigan Creek. The trail leaves the creek after approximately 1.75 miles heading west. At about 12,000' it crosses a fork of Ptarmigan Creek. From here the lake is .25 miles away. The ending elevation of the trail is 12,132'.
Directions from Buena Vista: Travel approximately 12.5 miles west on Cottonwood Pass Road (Highway 306) to the trailhead on the southern side of the road.
July through October
(NOTE: paved parking, toilet, Concessionaire operated/Winter Recreation access)