Trip Report    

Ptarmigan Ridge

This trail shot was taken during my first hike of the Ptarmigan Trail.

  • Fri, Sep 1, 2017
  • Ptarmigan Ridge
  • Photography & Day Hiking
  • Successful
  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • The Chain Lakes Trail taken from Artist Point leads to the Ptarmigan Trail. The attraction for me was the volcanic nature of this trail. Unfortunately the metadata is blank so I believe it was at the end of the Summer of 2017 that I took this trail. The down trail shaded area can be quite slippery as it remains wet due to lack of sunlight. The flat, wet large rocks on the trail are similar to ice. Other than that short section the trail is fine. There is a small lake after several miles. On this day I did not encounter anyone else on the Ptarmigan Trail. 

    The trail has now become popular just like most other trails in the North Cascades. Last Summer there were several parties ahead of me as well as behind me. I stopped just as I was entering the slippery shaded area. A backpacker slipped hitting the rocks hard. This is why I mentioned this short section above. I decided to turn around. I suspect it was a Sunday. My advise if you prefer fewer fellow hikers on this trail is to visit during a weekday.

    The article "It Doesn't Always Take a Village" (great read) posted by The Mountaineers inspired me to share this empty trail shot. Also, there are many shots on the net but I have not seen any of only the trail itself. I hope it's helpful for those visiting for the first time as the volcanic nature of the terrain is a rather uncommon sight. For me, it feels very different than the other trails I have taken. Its desolate vibe is quite appealing to me.


During the weekends in the Summer months it's hard to find a parking spot at Artist Point. Arriving early as well as hitting the trail at daybreak works. During the Fall the section of Chain Lakes Trail before the left turn to Ptarmigan really fires up with beautiful colors. This trail offers awesome open views. Highly recommended.