Keep a sharp eye for mountains goats known to patrol the cliffs above this lovely alpine lake. Buena Vista is my idea of an ideal Colorado mountain town. Surrounded by towering peaks, adjacent to the San Isabel National Forest and close to several high passes including Cottonwood, Monarch and Independence, it is an outdoor person’s dream. The hike to Hartenstein Lake begins off of the Cottonwood Pass road, paved all the way from Buena Vista, to the summit of Cottonwood Pass. Gunnison County has yet to pave its half of this historic route down into Taylor Park. The lake is named after George K. Hartenstein, a Buena Vista lawyer at the turn of the century. Keep an eye out for mountain goats patrolling the cirque behind and west of the lake. These are likely ancestors of the Jones Mountain band, one of the first introduced into Colorado’s mountains. Transplanted from Washington’s Olympic Mountains to near Cottonwood Pass in the 1940s, they have since spread locally north and south along the Continental Divide.
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Directions to: Hartenstein Lakeprint directions
Trail Statistics & Information
|Nearby City||Buena Vista|
|Elevation Gain||1,911 ft|
|Duration||96 minutes up, 72 minutes down|
|Season||Mid-June to early October|
|Trailhead Elevation||9,900 ft|
|Top Elevation||11,451 ft|
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