American Lakes

· North Park

American Lakes

Aliases: Michigan Ditch

Since there is no roadside tundra on this trail, one of the easier ways to get above treeline is by hiking along the Michigan Ditch south from Cameron Pass to a trail which leads up to three gorgeous alpine lakes in the shadow of the Nokhu Crags. These three lakes are called the American Lakes or the Michigan Lakes, depending on the map you’re looking at; the largest and highest of them is often called Snow Lake. Brown-capped Rosy-Finch breeds on the cliffs around Snow Lake, about four miles from Cameron Pass. The chirps of pikas are often heard in the area. Look for ptarmigan in the grassier areas above the other two lakes, and typical spruce-fir birds along the rest of the trail. Moose and elk are both common here.

County: Jackson

Habitat: Spruce-Fir Forest, Krummholz, Alpine Tundra, Cliff Face, Stream, Streamside Willow, Mountain Meadow

Directions: Park at Cameron Pass. Hike south along the dirt road beside the canal (the Michigan Ditch) about two miles to where it meets the Michigan River; from there follow the trail up the valley about another two miles to the lakes.

Delorme: 18 D3, 28 D3-D4
Roads of Colorado: 39 D3

Dates of Access: Roads not maintained in winter
Hours: Any
Ownership: Colorado Parks and Wildlife
Admission: Free

Restrictions: None

Parking: Trailhead parking
Lodging: Primitive camping

Handicapped: No
Handicapped Access: None

Latitude: 40.48291
Longitude: -105.88471


Drinking FountainNo
Gravel TrailsYes
Paved TrailsNo
Visitor CenterNo
Gift ShopNo

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