Reaching 13,218-feet, Jones Mountain is a fun hiking option off of Cottonwood Pass that offers steady elevation gains and ample views of incredible alpine scenery, including the notably turquoise Ptarmigan Lake.
The first portion of this trail climbs through the forest until reaching an open and lush meadow. A gentle climb for experienced hikers, peaks start to appear with an increase in elevation along an easy-to-follow trail.
The trail continues to ascend toward Jones Mountain, eventually reaching Ptarmigan Lake at 12,147 feet. From the lake, relatively straightforward navigation of a saddle and slope allow access to the Jones Mountain summit up a class two route.
Views of surrounding 14,000-foot peaks, including Mount Yale, Mount Princeton, and Mount Antero, can be enjoyed from the 13,218-foot summit of Jones Mountain.
In total, the hike to Ptarmigan Lake is around 6.5 miles round trip with about 1,600 feet of elevation gain. The hike to the summit of Jones Mountain above can add roughly a mile and close to 1,000 vertical feet.
The trailhead is suitable for passenger cars. Hikers should stay on the designated trail at all times and carry out the core principles of Leave No Trace. The trail is best used from March until October. Leashed dogs are welcome.
It's also important to note that the trailhead is located off Cottonwood Pass, which typically closes from November to May.