The lower part of this trail opens fairly early in the hiking season.
Note: On my first attempt in 2011 to hike this trail I only made it half way as I didn't check my water filter before starting out on the trail. On my second try at the Rose Creek Trail to Otokomi Lake I finally made it to the lake itself, a crystal clear lake filled with large trout. As of 8-6-11 this trail is clear of all snow.
Please note that the trail signs refer to Rose Creek Trail but Glacier Parks Day Hikes refer to Otokomi Lake Trail as do the Trail Crew Reports. They are one and the same trail which can be a bit confusing.
Unlike many of the west side trails the Otokomi Trail provides peeks at the surrounding mountains while hiking above Rose Creek.
The climb on the first part of the Rose Creek Trail is very gradual and maintains a steady rise. The second part of the Rose Creek Trail is much steeper, plus the altitude gained is very misleading as the trail after the mid point goes up and down, sometimes going up more steeply then the Mount Brown Trail. My replacement gps arrived just before starting this hike so I will be adding information as to the actual altitude gained instead of the parks information regarding start and end point only.
The Otokomi Trail winds its way up a valley formed by the Otokomi Mountain to the east at 7,935 feet and Goat Mountain at 8,826 feet to the west. The northern edge of this valley is created by a long unnamed ridge. By the time that you have hiked a mile and a half the Otokomi Lake Trail you start to enter the valley formed by Goat Mountain and Otokomi Mountain. Shortly after that Rose Creek once again starts to make an appearance again. Views of the slopes going up towards Goat Mountain also start to appear.
Glacier Park recently had a press release about rebuilding the bridge over The Going To The Sun Road to improve trout access to Rose Creek.
From the NPS News Release - "In the mid-1960's, the Rose Creek Dam was constructed upstream of the Rising Sun developed area in the St. Mary Valley to provide water to local developments. The dam prevents native fish, including migratory bull trout, from accessing upstream spawning and rearing habitat.
The Rose Creek Bridge (also known historically as the Roes Creek Bridge) on the Going-to-the-Sun Road (Sun Road) presents a second barrier to fish passage. The bridge has a solid concrete slab foundation, which has altered the way sediments move through the stream channel and resulted in scouring or the removal of sediments on the downstream side. The slab and the absence of a jump pool immediately below the bridge inhibit fish passage during periods of low flow. " Contact Glacier National Park if you have any comments regarding this 'public scoping'.