A definite elevation gain right at the beginning and in the middle of this hike. It was a beautiful hike, and perfect in early September. There is a point at which you are on a sand dune but also in forest...so lovely. Saw a blue heron at the lake. Met no other hikers despite several hours on the trail. The several bridges on the trail were in excellent repair.
An excellent trail with diverse environments: forest, dunes, ocean and, especially, the swimmable Threemile lake with sandy bottom. It is not often that one can make a splash on the way, ponds/lakes/creeks sometimes have rocky bottom that one can injure feet in. Highly recommended.
This trail would receive more stars but... 1) take the right trail towards camp ground to the N bridge. It is lovely to shoot photos from, but dont expect this time of year to go any further than the campground. The trail around the lake on that half is overgrown. I tried going down it a ways but could see quite a distance and the trail was all swamp land covered in muddy water. I guess if you dont mind hiking thru the mud and becoming dinner for mosquitos, go for it. I had to back track and go left at the sign. It was worth being bitten by the little blood suckers as the south bridge has benches and I was left alone by the mosquitos there. I could have sat a while but it was getting a little too windy. I did go to the end of the bridge but did not see how far around I could have gotten to the marsh bog trail. I will do this trail again. However the tracking on my phone worked but would not upload to the site. I like my "mapmyhike" app much better. If you take this "hiking" trail, wear repellant, and put some on the 4 legged friends if you are walking them too. No birds seen, no fish seen, one dragonfly.
we were so bit up by mosquitos we had to turn back after making it across the bridge and I would never have made it across sand dunes to the ocean as I have an ankle I broke in 2006 it does not do well over dunes at all. rolls too much. I advise to heavily think about repellant before taking this trail.
We did the entire loop which includes another trail that loops around. Total distance 7.5 miles. We used the directions from google thru this app and it lead us to a random spot. The actual trail is a half mile further up from where the directions lead. The map at the trailhead indicated there was a 1 mile walk to meet to the connecting point for be other trail. Note DO NOT GO TO THE BEACH TRAIL! There is no indicator where you can connect to the other trail. Follow the dunes trail.
All in all it was very beautiful! Just know what your getting into before you go.
My wife and I went on this hike today (the last day of 2015) and the weather was cold but absolutely stunning. It's just a little less than three miles to the edge of the lake and the highest point is about half way when you do the out-and-back hike. We hiked on a beautiful day following a lot of coastal rain and I was very pleased that the condition of the trail was good. We only had one place that was a little mucky.
If you like hiking in the forest, this is your hike. The ocean was visible in a couple of places but the true feature of this hike is the forest. We live nearby and we didn't even know about this trail until today and we are definitely going to do this trail again.
My wife and I are hobby hikers and the elevation climb was a good workout for us. This trail is NOT designed for those in wheelchairs, scooters, or other rolling assistance devices. This trail is not paved.