Hiked this trail plenty of times in the summer, and just did my first winter ascent. It was beautiful, the trail is quite well packed. Lots of people snowshoeing but almost as many without. I used micro spikes and one trekking pole. The pole was essential in my opinion. A few stretches of the trail are soft and you easily sink thigh deep. Worth the effort for the wonderful views.
Trail was well packed today, used microspikes going up and snowshoes on the way down, but people were bare booting it. Parking at the trail head wasn't too bad in the morning, but was crowded when I got down. Beautiful area, will have to go back in the summer.
Hiked this trail on January 1st! The trail is well groomed. The first 2/3 is a steady incline.. the last 1/3 is a series of steep(er) switch backs and a few steep climbs. The scenery was beautiful! Took us 2 hours to the top, about 45 minutes down. . but we boogied on the way down..! All in all, a fun but at the end a challenging hike. DO IT!
I love this hike in the summer but the winter is incredible. Lots of wildlife and beautiful views all the way up the canyon. I thought the snowshoes may be a tad overkill until I reached the second half of the hike where it begins to steepen and snow drifts became knee deep in some places. The weather was crazy with rain and snow mix but the summit was just clear enough to get some shots of sundial peak.
Took this beautiful hike on a Sunday morning. It's a steady incline the entire route so be prepared. Do take the time to continue past Lake Blanche to Lake's Lilian and Florence. I spent a good 45 minutes at both with no other hikers in sight. It was simply gorgeous.
The one thing to note is that this trail never lets up- its all uphill to the lake, and all downhill back to the trailhead. This is a challenging trail for those who do not regularly hike, and a good workout for those who do. Some snow and slush on the trail, but mostly wet dirt. 4 stars because the scenery while hiking up the trail isn't that wonderful until you get to the lake. I suspect as we get more snow through the next week this trail will become packed snow. The weather has been great and the crowds were not too significant. Parking on the S-curve during the weekend is now doable without too much parking space hunting. I lost a Subaru car key on my hike the other day and was overjoyed to see that someone had found it and left me a note. Thank you!!
Hiked this trail on Nov 4 starting around 9:30. It was our first time and was planning for the 6.9 miles as described but our gps said 9.32 round trip to the highway. An excellent and demanding workout that took us about 2.5 hours up and 1.5 hours down and happy we started early. The weather was warm for November but most the leaves had fallen. There were a few other hikers but not crowded. When you are on the trail looking toward the top of the mountain just keep in mind you are going to be hiking nearly to the base of sundial. I found it longer than expected. We hike often and are in our 60's and consider ourselves fit - this was demanding as you are climbing the entire way lifting your legs up onto rocky steps often with a few scrambles to traverse. Great workout and so well worth it. Can't wait to get up there again.
Did this hike today and wasn't sure what to expect given the conflicting info regarding length, well let me say that those that say the trail up is much longer than stated is probably because you took a wrong turn somewhere. My hike up was 5.8 miles, down was only 2.9 and there were obstacles I didn't encounter on the way down that I did going up....where I took the wrong turn I'm not sure, but I seriously wanted to give up! Totally worth it though, the lake was beautiful!
I did this hike 10/30/2016 with the hope to do Sundial Peak behind it. Did not actually make it to Sundial because it started to rain and the wind was outrageous. Great hike, steady incline the entire way with a few steep spots here and there. Too bad they don't allow dogs, my pooches would love it.
I did this hike 10/29/16. It is a good climb which means your knees will feel the downhill. Totally worth it though! Lake Blanche is beautiful. There were no more fall colors but the scenery was breath taking. The trail was pretty well trafficked but I did go on a Saturday.