The drive up the forest roads was interesting. You are going to turn west off of the Mountain Loop Highway onto USFS Rd. 2080. This is very near MP 45 and the Sauk River bridge. Continue up USFS Rd. 2080 for a little over a mile and then turn right onto USFS Rd. 2081 - stay on 2081. You will come to a junction with USFS Rd. 2083 and you will need to turn right to stay on 2081. Follow this through weeds growing up and brushing under your car. I thought we were on the wrong road for a while. This road gets steep and I lost traction a couple of times driving up an incline in the gravel. My husband played classical music the whole way up to help him relax if that helps to paint the picture. :-)
You will stay on 2081 for approximately 3.5 miles before you get to a junction with USFS Rd. 2086, bear left on this and continue for another mile until you reach the roads end and the trailhead. I was surprised to see 6 or 7 other vehicles at the trailhead when we parked at around noon as the road did not appear to have been traveled much recently. The trail begins where the road dead ends.
I know there are more difficult trails, but this one was far from easy! It gave everyone a good workout. It's about 5 miles roundtrip with 1500 ft. of elevation gain. Lots of beautiful scenery along the trail.
Many switchbacks to walk up as well some places that seemed to just go straight up. Watch out for slippery spots especially on the way down. We encountered some wet and muddy areas especially as we got into the meadow area where the snow was still melting.
|The first patch of snow we encountered|
|Making a sliding trail in the snow with his feet|
|The melting snow with plants pushing up through it made it look like spring!|
Pictures of the lake:
|Hiking back up to the meadow from the lake|
|Another meadow picture as we walked out to the viewpoint|
We went out to the viewpoint after we went to the lake. Keep children and dogs close here as there is a very steep drop off. The path out to the viewpoint is lined with wild blueberries (not ripe yet though).
|The kids decided to try to cross one of the little muddy ponds in the meadow. Luckily|
no one got wet!
|Heading back down the trail - Gavin decided to run because it was downhill....|
|and the end result of running down a trail and catching a slick spot. You slide|
off the trail and gouge yourself on a sharp branch.
|Still smiling (after the initial tears)....thankfully!|
Flowers, fungus and frogs (and toad):