Video of our Day Hike to Lion Lakes, Snowbank Lake and more
Getting to Snowbank Lake is a long hike but worth the reward. To this date hiking here has been my favorite hike so far in Rocky Mountain National Park. Snowbank Lake sits at the basin of Mount Alice (13,310′), Pilot Mountain and the north ridge of Chiefs Head Peak (13,579′).
Hiking Route to Snowbank Lake
Easiest route is to start from the Wild Basin Trailhead in Allenspark, Colorado, located in Rocky Mountain National Park. The trailhead is about 3 miles from the entrance station, and is closed when during the winter and winter conditions. This makes it ideal to tackle this alpine lake in the summer time. Follow the Thunder Lake/Ouzel Falls trail to the campsite junction. Turn off here if you want to save about .7 miles towards the campsites.
Hike through the campsites until you reach the Bluebird Lake/Thunder Lake trail junction and head towards Thunder Lake. Another mile in You’ll reach the Thunder Lake/Lion Lake trail Junction. Take the Lion Lake trail. There is a faint unimproved trail that will lead you all the way to Snowbank Lake.
The easiest route is stay to the north of Lion Lake #1 and then stay to the South when you reach Trio Falls, although scrambling up the waterfall makes for a fun climb for those experienced.
Keep to the south of Lion Lake #2 and follow the cairns that may or may not be there all the way to Snowbank Lake. The climb through Trio Falls and hugging Lion Lakes shore to the north makes a fun scramble and bushwhack that will get you to the outlet of Snowbank Lake.
Snowbank Lake and the Views
The lake lives up to it’s name as the western part of Snowbank Lake holds a permanent snowfield. Fed by the melting snow off surrounding peaks this lake stays cold year round and is to cold to sustain fish.
Mount Alice is the dominating feature to the west as is Pilot Mountain. There’s some boulder formations that you can walk on that will almost lead you to the middle of the lake, although this is dependent on how high the waters are and time of year.
Your exposed to weather elements out here and incoming storms in summer months may be blocked by the towering Mount Alice to the west. It’s best to leave early and start heading back by noon unless you are good at gauging incoming weather.
Snowbank Lake is above treeline so if you decide to make the trek to this amazing lake then take that into consideration. Sunscreen, windbreakers, hats, UV sunglasses, extra layers, gloves, micro-spikes, are all recommended gear I would bring even in the summer.