Lofty Lake Loop
What Makes it Great
The loop will take you by three beautiful mountain lakes, Lofty Lake, Kamas Lake, and Scout Lake. Kamas and Scout Lake are known to have good trout fishing. Lofty Lake is the highest of the three sitting at nearly 10,800 feet. The trail also will take you through gorgeous meadows, marshes and over passes with stunning views. The shallow saddle between Lofty and Scout Peak will give you the opportunity to tag both of these worthy summits.
In the course of four miles the trail will climb a total of 1,000 feet. The trail is well maintained and signs will help keep you on course. If you decide to tag the summits of Lofty and Scout Peaks add 300 feet of elevation and a quarter mile for each.
What You’ll Remember
At the Pass Lake Trailhead you will travel the loop in a counterclockwise direction. Starting within a forest of pine trees you will travel past the shores of Scout Lake. Soon the trail will climb to the pass between Lofty and Scout Peaks. You may pick your way through the jumbled talus to the summit of Lofty Peak to the east or follow the giant cairns to the overlook from Scout Peak to the west.
The view of the Mirror Lake Highway, Mirror Lake, Bald Mountain, and Reid’s Peak from Scout Peak is second to none. The view of Hayden Peak from Lofty Peak isn’t bad either. Back to the saddle you will continue north along the east shore of Lofty Lake. You will come to a pass that overlooks Cutthroat Lake and the trail will switch back east then west, eventually leading you south over the pass to Kamas Lake. Early in the morning or late in the day you can hear the unique call of forest frogs in this marshy section of the trail.
Stop at Kamas Lake for lunch and if you brought a fishing pole throw out a line. (Fishing licenses and provisions are available at the Samak Smoke House and Country Store, just a few miles out of Kamas at the foot of the scenic drive.) Below Kamas Lake the trail will take you through the wildflower fields of Reid’s Meadow before returning you to the parking area.
Who’s Going to Love It
Lofty Lake Loop is perfect for beginning hikers and advanced alike. The loop can be done in three to four hours and offers a little something for everyone. If you’re looking for beautiful scenery, alpine peaks, and a lake to fish, this trail is the ticket. From the shade down low to the sweeping views up high you can’t go wrong with an outing on this trail.
The Pass Lake trailhead is located within a Forest Service Fee Area. You may purchase a pass ($6 for a 1–3 day pass) at numerous points along the Mirror Lake Highway.
Pass Lake Trailhead is 32 miles from Kamas on Highway 150 or 46 miles south of Evanston.
GPS Coordinates: 40.714078 -110.893035