Lone Pine Lake - Snowshoeing

January 18, 2020 · Rocky Mountain National Park

The trek along the Lone Pine Lake trail is an easy trail along the oxbows, I have been to Lone Pine Lake in the Summer and in the Winter the snow-covered oxbows are very pretty. It was overcast for most of the trek in and began to clear up on the way out. I knew I would not make it to Lone Pine Lake, as the trail picks up in elevation just after the oxbows and the final pitch to Lone Pine Lake is hard in the Summer.

There was only one person ahead of me when I started the trek, he was cross-country skiing, and started about fifteen minutes earlier than I did. Given how overcast it was and how cold it was in addition to the fact that this trail is on the West side of Rocky Mountain National Park, I did not expect many people on the trail, and that was true for the entire way in and most of the way out.

Following the oxbows on the way in, Mount Craig is constantly in view and is very impressive covered in snow. For the trek along the oxbows I did not need to use my snowshoes, so I used traction spikes until I got to the bend in the trail where the elevation gain begins. The decision to switch to snowshoes came when I stopped to take some pictures and started postholing up to my waist.

While I was switching into my snowshoes the cross-country skier was on his way back out. We talked for a while about how nice it was, albeit a little on the cold side. He said he did not make it to Lone Pine Lake and decided to turn back because the trail ran out. In a way that was nice to hear and reassuring to know there was nobody else in front of me on the trail. At the same time, knowing how hard the last pitch to Lone Pine Lake is in the Summer, I knew I would not make it to the lake, but it was worth continuing as far as it made sense.

From here the trail picks up elevation quickly and then begins to undulate. There several river crossings, but with as much snow as there was, you could not tell you were crossing the river. There are number of short but steep inclines that hang off the side of the mountain. The icicles are very impressive, they are very large and very thick, a sign of slow-moving water seeping out of the mountainside.

I stopped for lunch on a ledge that overlooks the valley below and you can see Grand Lake in the distance. During lunch the weather started to clear up and it was very nice here. This would have been a good place to call it a day and head back. However, it still felt early and with the improvement in the weather I decided to keep going.

From here on, the wind had covered any remnants of tracks in the snow, the surface of the snow was very hard and about an inch thick, but when you punched through, it was fine powder and more often than not about knee deep, with snowshoes.

The trail undulates again and begins to go down more than up at this point, this is part of what makes the final pitch to the lake hard. Knowing that I was getting close to the final pitch and comfortable with the distance and very happy with the sites, I decided to turn back. On the way back there was a very light breeze and the skies had changed to partly cloudy, making for a nice easy glide back to the trailhead. This trek turned out to be a little over seven miles. It was a very nice quite day on the trail.


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AREAS HIKED

Collegiate Peaks Wilderness9
Eagles Nest Wilderness10
Fossil Ridge Wilderness1
Fraser Experimental Forest1
Gunnison National Forest1
Holy Cross Wilderness12
Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness3
Indian Peaks Wilderness17
James Peak Wilderness1
Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness2
Mount Evans Wilderness2
Mount Massive Wilderness2
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San Isabel National Forest6
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SEASONS ON THE TRAIL

2021

The 2021 Season has started. Though the pandemic created a challenging 2020 season, I am looking forward to building on the 2020 season to create an incredible 2021 season. The pandemic has taught me a few things about when and where to go hiking. As such planning for the 2021 se...

2020

The 2020 hiking season has been incredible, even in the face of adversity. The pandemic has made for a logistically challenging season. Somehow, I was still able to piece together an incredible 230+ miles on the trail this season and able to see some truly spectacular places. Enj...

2019

The 2019 hiking season was an interesting season, this was the first season that I started and ended the season snowshoeing and a full summer of hiking for a total of just under 225 miles on the trail. What this season has taught me is that it's winter in the mountains for a long...

2018

The 2018 Summer Hiking Season has come to an end. What a season, incredible views and just over 230 miles on the trail. Even with 230 miles, this season seems short to me, perhaps I'll add something to it during the winter season - snowshoeing perhaps. In the meantime, I hope you...

2017

The 2017 hiking season was interesting, I was able to explorer more of Colorado's National Forests and get in some camping, not as much camping as I would have liked, but hopefully next year I'll able to get in more multi-day hikes. This season came in just under 129 miles roundt...

2016

The 2016 hiking season was about spreading out and exploring more of Eagles Nest Wilderness, Indian Peaks Wilderness and touching on White River National Forest - and of course a few trips into Rocky Mountain National Park. These are amazing National treasures. This season came i...

2015

The 2015 hiking season was a big hiking season, I decided to do a fundraiser for The Red Cross (I learned a lot about fundraising - it was very interesting) with my pledge to hike over 200 miles for this season, I came in at 217 miles for the season; what a great time out on the ...

2014

The 2014 hiking season was almost all about exploring Rocky Mountain National Park, it really is a beautiful park. What I learned during the course of this hiking season is, although people may roll their eyes when you say you're going on a hike in RMNP, it really is spectacular ...

2013

2013 is the year this all started. The hike to Pitkin Lake started it all. Although it was a difficult trail, I was hooked immediately. However, I didn't have the right gear and the seasons were changing quickly. So, even though this season only brought two hikes, I new this was ...