Lupine Meadows/Bradley Lake Trail

Day 4
July 14, 2017
Distance: 5.82 mi (9.3 km)
Elevation Gain: 1003 ft (306 m)
Highest Point: 7397 ft (2255 m)

Today, we hiked the Lupine Meadows trail toward Bradley Lake, the shorter of a few hikes off that trailhead. We began our hike pretty late in the day after it cooled down a bit – temperatures have been in the mid-80s this week.

We started at the trailhead near the parking lot and hiked up a gradual incline to the junction 1.2 miles in. A group of hikers informed us of bear activity near the junction – a lone baby bear foraging an hour before – so Madelyn and I were on guard.

Madelyn listening out for rustling up the mountain. Many signs remind you to be “bear aware” in the mountains.

From there, we took the Bradley Lake trail back downhill. It’s a bit intimidating to see how much downhill hiking you’re doing, knowing that you have to traverse it coming back up.

Junction signage. We took the shorter path to Bradley Lake so that we could make it back by dark.

On the way down, we saw three elk bucks in a debris field taking advantage of the subalpine grasses near tree line.

Two elk bucks in the Lupine Meadows valley.

We also came across some huge boulders, which are actually remnants of Pleistocene glaciation, probably during the Pinedale period from 50,000-12,000 years ago. Boulders like these were left behind by massive valley glaciers, and are thus called glacial erratics.

Paepin paying around on the glacial erratics.

We also saw a cool mushroom that looked somewhat like a golf ball and an ant pile with some seriously huge ants.

Golfball-like mushroom in Lupine Meadows. Photo by Paepin. July 14, 2017.

Ant hill near the base of a tree on the Lupine Meadows trail.

When we finally got down to the lake, the weather was looking nasty and it was getting pretty late. We wanted to make sure we got back to the car before it started raining or we lost sunlight. So, we spent less than ten minutes taking pictures and relaxing before turning back.

We finally made it to Bradley Lake around 7:40pm.

The way back was tough, mostly because the elevation change was pretty steep in the half mile before the lake. We trudged back up the path and heard a group of elk communicating with another group of elk across the valley. I’m not sure what elk talk about in the evening hours, but they’re not a quite bunch.


We made it back right at 9pm, which was perfect – the sun set at 9:01pm.

Our trail via MapMyRun. The app gave up on us on the way back, but the total trail distance was about 5.82 miles, corrected. The green dot is start and finish.









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