View Full Version : Heart Lake to Mt. Colden

06-07-2004, 12:14 PM

I was wondering if anybody can tell me what the tent site options are past Marcy Dam toward Avalanche Pass. On my map I see a couple lean-to and tent icons at or near the intersection of trail 73 and 68 to Avalanche Pass. I was thinking of setting up camp at one of these sites then on the next day hiking past Avalance Lake to Lake Colden, then climbing Mt. Colden.

From the summit I would loop around via Lake Arnold, or just back track to Lake Colden and explore that area a bit more, then back to camp. It seems like my best bet for peace and quiet would be to avoid camping at Marcy Dam, Lake Colden, or Flowed Lands.

I'm going in on a Thursday (June 17) and coming out on a Saturday (June 19). So it will be a short trip.

Does anybody have any suggestions, especially about tent camping advice along the way.

Thanks, Josh

MD Cuse
06-07-2004, 12:20 PM
There are three lean-to's between the Marcy Dam area and the trail that heads left up to Lake Arnold (I don't know the trail #'s).

The first lean-to is tough to find as it is quite a ways off the trail.

The second lean-to is just off the trail to the right.

The last lean-to (Avalanche Camp) is right on the trail and cannot be missed.

All are nice sites and I believe the last two have cables to hang food (at least as of last year they did)

MD Cuse

06-07-2004, 12:23 PM
you should have enough space in the woods near the lean-tos and especially going mid-week.

this route looks pretty good and is great, maybe think about doing the route in reverse from what you say.... this way you'll go around Lake colden, pass the Rangers outpost and come to ava. pass later in the day and will have more time to enjoy that area...

also the hike down to colden from ava. side will give you CRAZY views of the MacIntyer range, I think others will agree.

have a good trip....

06-07-2004, 12:49 PM
ADackR makes a good point about the unusual views along the trail from Lake Colden to Mt. Colden's summit. The idea about ascending via Lake Arnold is worth considering.

In any case, you hardly can go wrong with the loop you've planned. A great excursion. A loop that traces the Opalescent from Lake Arnold Pass down to Lake Colden and Flowed Lands takes in some interesting scenery, too.


06-07-2004, 01:13 PM
The trail from Lake Colden to the summit is STEEP, but fun. Just be sure to look back at the views. If you have a little extra time/energy, you could make a loop by descending to Lake Arnold, taking the Crossover trail to the Van Hovenberg trail at Indian Falls, then back to Marcy Dam.

Note that the Lake Arnold lean-to has been removed.

06-07-2004, 01:32 PM
Thanks, keep the suggestions coming. So there are lean-tos between Marcy Dam and Avalanche Camp. Is it ok to pitch a tent near these if there's a flat area. Also, would it be so bad to just pitch a tent at Marcy Dam during the week, well Thursday and Friday night? Can you find a private site at the Dam. Any other tent site suggestions would be great. Glad to hear this is a nice route. Doing Colden loop clockwise sounds like it may be better. Thanks, Josh

06-07-2004, 01:47 PM
There is also a great site tucked in between avalanche lake and lake Colden. Its off to the right, and the site is marked with little yellow (^) signs. This site is not on the map. Make sure you are bringing a bear container if you are planning on camping out in this area. Last time I summered in Colden, the bears got our cache.


06-07-2004, 09:08 PM
The first lean-to past Marcy Dam in Cagel (very nice and secluded)

The second is the Marcy Brook Lean-to (nice, watch out for the hungry mice)

The third is Avalanche (to darn close to the trail)

Have fun.

Mike D.
06-09-2004, 09:47 PM
Just got back from the dacks on Mon. Was there for 5 days and on our first full day we went from marcy dam, through avalanche pass, around lake colden , up colden to the summit and down to lake arnold, tireing w/ full packs. But have to say an awesome trail, steep but very scenic and definantly turn around if you go up from lake colden. the lean to's looked decent between marcy and colden , have a blast, I did !