West Lakes Trail
ElevationAscent: 3,564' 1,086 m
Descent: -1,702' -519 m
High: 5,145' 1,568 m
Low: 3,219' 981 m
GradeAvg Grade: 9% (5°)
Max Grade: 36% (20°)
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“A trail up and over a steep ridge leads to a wooded valley with a chain of lakes.”— Jake Bramante
From here, the trail traverses the ridgeline that borders old and new stands of trees. It then drops down on the north side of the ridge, dropping into the Camas Creek drainage through a wetter forest with older stands of trees with moss. Occasional views of Rogers Lake and Rogers Peak give a hint of the scenery in the valley down below.
After dropping approximately 1,000 feet, you pass the junction with the Camas Creek Trail and continue on to the foot of the long and beautiful Trout Lake. A large log jam at the foot of the lake tempts you to work your way across. Continue along the trail that follows the south shore of the lake, never straying far from the lake as you pass wooded areas and avalanche chutes. Few people stray onto this trail, but frequent bear scat lets you know you aren't alone despite the remote feeling.
The trail continues to the head of the lake where it climbs up over a ridge to a large avalanche chute where views of the surrounding mountains are spectacular. Camas Creek and Arrow Lake are also visible as you move towards the campground.
From the campground on the shores of the lake, you ford Camas Creek to continue on. This ford can be a bit sketchy in the spring making the next section more palatable when the creek goes down and the snow has melted out more further up the trail.
Follow along the northwest edge of the lake and cross the creek as it enters the lake. Keep crossing the feeder creeks and keep an eye to the north for orange markers that guide you to the obvious trail that continues through the meadows. At the end of the large meadow, the trail is frequently fairly overgrown with vegetation such as thimbleberries. Make sure to make plenty of noise from this point on due to low visibility and frequent grizzlies.
The trail begins to climb up along Camas Creek which is playfully bubbling over rocks. As you gain elevation and cross the creek again, the views open up as you enter the open alpine. The trail turns up the drainage to Camas Creek. A ford through soft mud brings you to the campground along the lake.
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Land Manager: NPS - Glacier National Park