We ran this trail right after finishing McAllister Gulch. The end of McAllister Gulch was surprisingly challenging so we had high hopes for Ptarmigan Pass.
There were lots of people camping at the trailhead and lots of ATVs and other vehicles around. It was also very, very dusty and warm out. Mike C. ran Shrine Pass and McAllister Gulch with us but he had evening plans so he headed back to Denver as the rest of us headed up the pass.
The climb to the top was very easy and very scenic. The hills were covered in green grasses and wild flowers. When we got to the top there were a few other vehicles, and we stopped to get out and stretch our legs for an afternoon snack.
One of the ATVers almost lost his ATV down the hill after parking it, but he managed to catch up with it before it went over.
We all enjoyed the gentle breeze and perfect temperature. The views were gorgeous, and we could see parts of McAllister Gulch across the valley. We had actually been able to see this pass from McAllister Gulch earlier.
After a bit we climbed back into our dusty vehicles for the trip down. As we descended the trail was surrounded by more trees and still more wild flowers.
We came around a corner and another group was in front of us, stopped in the trail. They saw us and got back in their vehicles to leave. The last guy to get in an Xterra finished his cigarette, tossed it down, and nonchalantly ground it a couple times with his foot as we watched. He was standing in knee-high grasses and wild flowers at the time.
We all got out and spent a few minutes looking for his cigarette and hoping to prevent any possible forest fires. We finally found it, still warm and in the grass. Unfortunately in our rush to find the cigarette we didn't jot down any license plate numbers.
The rest of the trail was scenic and we were treated to a few water crossings on our way out. It also got even dustier. Corrie was going around a turn in her truck and caught her side step on a rock, nearly ripping it off.
When we got to the end it was shady and cooling down. We turned left to finish the rest of Shrine Pass as Jim turned right to go back home. By the end of Shrine Pass it was raining and had really cooled down a lot.
It was a great loop around the trails!