This 2.4 mile hike follows the Lake Fork drainage to a pretty lake nestled in a high tundra bowl. The well-established trail climbs at a steady, moderately steep grade. Allow about 1 hour and 20 minutes to reach Gibson Lake. The elevation gain is 1,544'. The last .5 miles is above tree line. The lake is regarded as a good fishing spot for brook trout. There are virtually no areas along the trail suitable for overnight camping. The lake is situated east of and below Whale Peak (elevation 13,078'). The trail is suitable for foot and horse travel only.
The trail travels in a westerly direction up the Lake Fork drainage. Below the parking area you will cross a small stream. From that point until you reach tree line the stream drainage will be to the left (south) of the trail as you ascend. At about 1.75 miles the trail reaches a fork. Bear left at this trail junction (the right fork is an unmarked trail leading up to the Continental Divide). At about 2.0 miles you will be at tree line. Shortly after reaching tree line the trail makes 3 major stream crossings. After the third crossing, the trail bears southwest through willows and tundra up to the shelf on which Gibson Lake is located. Tundra flowers are in abundance in midsummer. At the south end of the lake there is a long, ribbon-like waterfall draining into Gibson Lake from a smaller lake above it.
Directions from Bailey: From Bailey drive west on Highway 285 for 14.3 miles. Turn right (north) on to Park County Road 60. This road is also designated as Forest Service Road 120, and commonly called the Hall Valley Road. Travel on 120 6.5 miles to the trailhead. At mile 5 immediately before Hall Valley Campground bear left at the fork in the road. The last 1.4 miles above Hall Valley Campground are very rough, and may be classified a four-wheel drive road.
Early Summer through Mid-Fall .