I love Taggart Lake! It is not my favorite hike, but it is definitely my favorite lake (as of August 2017 – still have lots of exploring to do yet). I got very lucky with the weather and the water was calm, perfect for getting a photo of the mirror reflection of the mountains in the lake.
I hiked out to Taggart Lake and back using the same trail. It was 3 miles round trip. From Taggart Lake there is the option of continuing on to Bradley Lake (adds about 3 miles round trip to the hike) or turning the hike into a loop by returning to the trail-head via Beaver Creek Trail (2.4 additional miles).
The first part of the trail is wide and flat and then enters a forested area. There is a fence like structure that separates the trail from a dirt road that a construction vehicle passed by on while I was hiking.
Further on, the trees open up and there is a corral with donkeys and horses. From looking at the park map, I believe it is the back end of the Climbers Ranch run by the American Alpine Club. Visit their website to learn more about the ranch.
After passing by the corral, you cross the Taggart Creek and enter back into the forest, where my fellow hikers and I got a surprise.
About 100 feet off the trail, by my non expertise eye, a young Black Bear was brunching on berries. I call him young because he looked to be closer to my size (5’1″) than my grandfather’s size (6’3″), which leads me to think he is still growing. I believe he is a Black Bear because it didn’t look like he had the hump on his back like Grizzly Bears do and because black bears are not always black.
Surprisingly, it didn’t scare me seeing the bear, but it definitely made me more alert to my surroundings and I tried to hike within earshot of a group of people. Taggart Lake Trail is a popular hike so it wasn’t too hard to do.
Taggart Lake is absolutely gorgeous. There are some nice rocks to sit on and enjoy the view.
Looking back, I wish I had had the time and energy to return to the trail-head on the Beaver Creek Trail or to hike to Bradley Lake, but I enjoyed the hike and seeing Taggart Lake and the bear.