The loop route climbs the back side of the Snowy Range Peaks which can be rocky and steep with variable footing. Medicine Bow Peak gives panoramic views of the many lakes and peaks in the Snowy Range. The route back to the trailhead passes many lakes and flower-filled meadows.
Features: Lake — River/Creek — Views — Wildflowers — Wildlife
The loop can be taken both directions. A clockwise loop is preferred so that you view the peaks with the lakes in the foreground as you run back to the trailhead.
An alternate trailhead is the Mirror Lake Parking and Picnic Area. There are fewer parking spots at this parking lot than the West Lake Marie parking area.
The trail starts at the West Lake Marie parking area and immediately climbs steep, rocky switchbacks up to the ridge of the Snowy Range. The trail flattens at 1.25 miles from the trailhead, passing intermittent meadows and rock scree. Keep an eye out for rock piles with wooden poles sticking out; these mark the trail and are useful for finding the trail when it may still be snow covered in the early summer.
Take a right at the trail junction for Dipper Lake, and make the final climb up to Medicine Bow Peak. From the peak, take in the panoramic views of Snowy Range Peaks and the numerous lakes in the basin below.
From the peak, descend steep switchbacks to the trail intersection which leads to the Lewis Lake parking area. Take a right and head back to the trailhead on the Lakes Trail. The Lakes Trail passes through many flower-filled meadows and many lakes as it descends back Mirror Lake.
Once back to the Mirror Lake picnic area, follow the Mirror Lake to West Lake Marie Connector
back to the trailhead. This route involves a short road section to a paved trail which takes you along the southeast side of Maria Lake and eventually leads you back to the trailhead.
The wildflowers are amazing in late June and July, especially along the Lakes Trail.
Remnants of an old fire lookout cabin can be seen by taking a short run off the trail on the ridge of the Snowy Range. Follow the signs off the trail to see the minimal remnants that are left of this early 1900's fire lookout cabin.