Berts Lake and Chipmunk Loop


Difficulty 3 Intermediate
Length 2.1 miles round trip
6450 feet
+400, -400 feet
Navigation Marked trail, road and map
Time Several hours
Season Late December through early April
Snowmobiles Not permitted [Please report illegal use of snowmobiles in this area.]
USGS Topo 7.5' series, Loon Lake
Start Loon Lake Chalet at Loon Lake. From Highway 50 turn north onto Ice House Road. Drive 24 miles to the intersection where you must turn right to stay on Ice House Road. Turn right and continue for 5.3 miles until you reach the Loon Lake Chalet.


Though short, variety is the buzz word for this loop tour. It begins with the standard route to Berts Lake. It then descends a steep slope to where it intersects the road that leads to Chipmunk Bluff. It ends by following the road back to Loon Lake Chalet where the tour began. Along the route you are treated to grand views of Chipmunk Bluff, Tells Peak and the Crystal Range, and of course Loon Lake.

Image of Berts Lake and Chipmunk Bluff
Berts Lake and Chipmunk Bluff
Image of Tells Peak and the Crystal Range
Tells Peak and the Crystal Range
Image of Loon Lake
Loon Lake

But that's not all. Two short extensions are also possible. One is to the summit of Peak 6836 that commands an impressive 360-degree panorama. The second is the gentle tour out to Chipmunk Bluff. Put it all together for an outstanding day of backcountry skiing.

Mileage Log
Numbers in parentheses
correspond to mileage points on map

There are two trailheads adjacent to the Loon Lake Chalet. This tour begins at the SMUD rain gauge on the southwest side of the the Chalet and ends where the road leaves the Chalet to Chipmunk Bluff.

Miles: 0.0 - 0.2
Elevation change:+50 feet

From the trailhead (1) ski southeast a short distance toward the nearby power lines and before reaching them turn and ski southwest for a total of 0.2 mile until you reach the point where the marked trail crosses under the power lines (2). This point is at the base of a steep rise.

Image of SMUD rain gauge and power lines
Rain gauge, power lines and first blue diamond marker

Miles: 0.2 - 0.3
Elevation change: +50 feet

Ski slightly east of south for 0.1 mile until the marked trail reaches the edge of an open area (3).

Miles: 0.3 - 0.4
Elevation change: +50 feet

Ski southeast through open and near level terrain for 0.1 mile until you reach the location where a blue diamond marks where the trail enters the woods again (4). If you are lucky the El Dorado Nordic Ski Patrol has placed a couple of posts with blue diamond markers in the open area; look for them. If no markers are visible, ski southeast through the open area being careful not to gain very much elevation.

Miles: 0.4 - 1.1
Elevation change: +150 feet

Traverse around Peak 6836 for 0.7 mile until you reach Berts Lake (5). The marked trail in this section stays level until it is east of the peak and then climbs. Peak 6836 is 0.1 mile and 100 feet above to the northeast.

Miles: 1.1 - 1.3
Elevation change: -250 feet

Ski to the north end of Berts Lake and then pick the best route down to the southwest for a total of 0.2 mile until you reach the road to Chipmunk Bluff (6). Chipmunk Bluff is 0.5 mile southwest (left) on the road.

Miles: 1.3 - 2.1
Elevation change: +100, -150 feet

Ski north (right) on the road for 0.8 mile until you reach Loon Lake Chalet (7).

Elevation Profile
Elevation profile
Link to elevation profile
Link to waypoint data
Link to full page map
Link to see and submit reviews and corrections about tour