There is something special about alpine lakes. They stand in peaceful contrast to the rugged, rocky mountains which surround them. They create near perfect reflections of those same rugged peaks. They are often unbelievably clear, to the point where you can see straight to the bottom and watch fish swim by. And on a peaceful day, an alpine lake is the best place to sit and let the world go by. The Snowy Range is home to many, but I’ve but together a list of our favorite alpine lakes.
- Gap Lakes: I say it all the time but Gap Lakes Trail is my favorite trail in the Snowy Range. North and South Gap Lakes beautiful in their own right but what really makes the Gap Lakes Trail stand apart is all of the other alpine lakes you’ll pass on your way to get to them. The other great thing is that all these lakes start right from the trailhead with Libby Lake and Lewis Lake. If I could only go one place in the Snowy Range it should be here.
- Sheep Lake: Sheep Lake is a pretty good sized alpine lake found and roughly the mid point of the Sheep Lake Trail. You’ll also walk past a few other alpine lakes to get there with more of them or less of them depending on your chosen route. Sheep Lake is surrounded by grass and lacks the rugged feel of most other lakes at this altitude which makes it a unique place to visit. In addition to the lake itself you’ll have great views of the Rock Creek Knoll and Brown’s Peak. The most direct way to get there is to use the south trailhead near Brooklyn Lake.
- Reservoir Lake: Reservoir Lake see’s the fewest visitors of any lake on this list mostly because it’s out of the way and it takes a bit more effort to get there. When you get to it you’ll likely be taken aback by how large it is. When I saw it, part of me wished that I had hauled a kayak back in there so I could get out on the water. Even though Reservoir Lake is found along Quealy Lake trail, the easiest way to get there is to take Gap Lakes Trail to Quealy Lake Trail. And I can’t talk about Reservoir Lake without at least mentioning the Reservoir Lake Falls.
- Lake Marie and Mirror Lake: Lake Marie and Mirror Lake are by far the easiest to get to and the easiest to explore. I recommend these two for the people who are looking for an easy hike or even no hike at all. Both of these beauties are right next to Wyoming Highway 130 a short distance after going over the summit (if you’re traveling west from Centennial). It’s very hard to have a bad day at these lakes. Bring a picnic and stroll around for a while, there are several places to relax and take it all in. Just remember that easy to get to means there will be more people you’ll have to share the lakes with. (By the way, I put the link to the Medicine Bow Peak Trail web page because that map shows the Lake Marie and Mirror Lake better than the others.)
Did I miss your favorite alpine lake in the Snowy Range?