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Did a one-nighter here. Absolutely gorgeous. Hiked in about 4 miles and set camp and then did the rest of the ascent without packs — definitely more enjoyable than camping at mirror lake itself (bugs were awful).

Beautiful half day trail. The end is worth the effort.

Beautiful views: mountain-backed lakes, harsh ridge lines, and wildflowers. Well-marked trail.

We hiked clockwise, three days, two nights -camped at Bettie Lake and Devil’s Thumb Lake, felt alone at both. Jasper Lake looked like a popular camping spot, and there was a site by the stream right before the off-shoot to Bob and Bettie Lakes if you don’t want to leave the loop. We were skinny-dipping at Devil’s Thumb and realized there was a lone fisherman across the lake getting a great show, haha, but otherwise, camping was very peaceful.

I was thankful for layers because it was really hot during the day, but surprisingly cold as soon as the sun dipped. We made Nalgene hot water bottles to supplement our 20* sleeping bags.

We hiked mid-week (Aug 8-10) and saw more hikers and trail-runners than backpackers. Some people struggling, but then also an older couple of women crushing it, and a Dad with two young kids. I’m a beginner with a heavy pack and ended each day smiling.

Brought my 35lb pup - she wore off her front pads chasing marmot in the rocks... which wouldn’t have been a problem if I had kept her on leash. She loved it. Didn’t see many (any?) dogs out towards the peak, but lots at the trailhead. Leash definitely required for the first bit.

Elevation is no joke, but plenty of places to refill water, so keep drinking!!

Side note: we stopped in Ned on the way home and ate at the Thai restaurant - killer $10 lunch deal!

The entire elevation gain is the 3ish miles closest to the lake, where the incline hits you like a wall! We found ourselves scrambling quite a few times up and around rock walls. The lake is underwhelming, not sure if the final climb was really worth it. The weather was beautiful though, and friendly hikers and packers that we passed along the way.

Arrived at 5:15 am on Saturday and there were a lot of cars parked on the side of the road but still plenty of space. People can't seem to agree on which way to go- I decided to go counterclockwise and I'm very glad I did.

I have been up to Jasper Lake a couple of times but this is the first time I tried the loop. In my opinion the north side of the loop is more scenic. It's best to do it in the morning when the lighting is better and you still have energy. Also I like steep inclines more than steep declines as they're more exciting and less stressful on the knees. Saw a bull moose about halfway up to Jasper Lake. That was pretty terrifying as he was only 25 yards or so off of the trail hidden behind some trees. I snapped a quick picture and got out of there.

The trail is pretty easy. The distance is the hard part. I was feeling pretty haggard on the last 3-4 miles. Got back to the parking lot a little before 3PM. I probably could of finished at 2 if I hadn't of taken so many pictures.

Overall an awesome hike! My favorite one so far

This was a fantastic hike! We did this as a day hike and had lunch at the lake. Magnificent views. From the time you cross the stream and enter the Horn Fork basin until slightly before the turn off for the lake, the rate of climb is very manageable. The last bit before the turn off was steeper, but not all that long. I’m not sure that I would agree with the review below about most low clearance cars being able to make it to the trailhead, at least based on the condition of the road when we were there in July this year. We did make it using a garden variety small SUV, but I would have felt a lot better in something with more clearance and a stick, particularly coming down. That being said, there were a couple of low clearance passenger cars at the trailhead and one apparently disabled SUV being hauled off on a flatbed tow truck...

Well. First off it was an accident that my wife and I went to lone pine lake, but we are glad we did. Even tho we did end up going through snow and it was chilly closer to the lake, we had fun. We saw a moose. And some amazing sights.

My friends and I spent 3 days, 2 nights on the trail for our first time backpacking. This was definitely a hard hike with our packs, but we also packed a little too much. This is doable for a one day hike, our last day we covered 8.4 miles in about 5 hours with our backpacks. Great hike with numerous stops for great scenery

Gorgeous trail!! It was lawn hike but 100% worth it!

August 6th 2018: We are a fairly fit family (runners and cyclists) that hiked to Crater lake and back covering 15 miles in about 8 hrs. This included time for stopping to take in and photo the amazing sights along the way and stopping for lunch for about an hour at Crater lake. For a hike it really doesn’t get much better than this. This trail throws the most amazing smorgasbord of scenery at you with of course the reward of the spectacular views of Lone Eagle Peak at the top.

My husband and I along with our dog Breezy, hiked as far as Cascade Falls yesterday. We were in a time crunch otherwise it would’ve been great to keep going. The trail and views were beautiful! There was quite a few others on the trail but started to thin out once we went further. We had some thunder and light rain, but nothing too crazy. I hope to come back and complete the rest of the trail eventually!

July 23-26: We stayed in the cascade zone all three nights. Then day packed to the lake. In the cascade creek zone you can disperse camp which is really cool. There are only 8 permits given but 11 designated camp sites for crater lake zone so you should reserve early. It was a long hike, but it was never boring. We enjoyed wildlife like Moose and deer every night at camp. The last night we did have a mountain lion sighting but he did not seem interested in us whatsoever. The waterfalls are amazing the entire way. It’s definitely a hike we will return to in the future. Next time we will have a permit for cascade creek the first night, crater lake permit for two nights, then another permit at cascade creek to hike out. The trail is so amazing you can break it up into days and still have so much to look forward to. Definitely go and definitely camp!

Stunning. Nice moderate hike; I ended up exploring around the lake, and it was worth the hike past initial views!

Did this in a day! It’s definitely not hard with the elevation gain so spread out. At the end of the hike our GPS told us 17miles instead of 14. Unfortunately it rained the whole time and the low clouds hid Lone Eagle Peak from us so we’ll be back next summer! Amazing hike even without the reward up top!

A great hike with lots of changing scenery, lots of animals along the way.

We loved this hike for the waterfall stops along the way and the Moose sighting in the meadow not far from the trailhead!
The hike did take us all day but we still talk about it as a fave! Take mosquito repellant and you will be happier though.

This was absolutely beautiful! We were supposed to go to Gourd Lake, however, my friends and I were enjoying ourselves, didn’t pay attention to the sign that said Buchanan Trail (whoops) and ended up at Crater Lake which was absolutely gorgeous! Such a fun hike either way though

Amazing spot if you’re willing to put the work in! I just went day hiking with a buddy, but next time we’ll probably backpack in. Starts out relatively flat and easy and then gets quite a bit tougher as you go deeper. The hardest part by far is the distance. It took us about 5 hours to get up (with breaks as needed) and 3 to get back down. Make sure to buy a parking pass at the as soon as you turn onto road 6, the trail head is about 10 miles from there and the ranger isn’t always on sight.

This trail is wonderful! It follows the creek most of the way, so water is almost always available. You pass through beautiful meadows with followers, multiple water falls and the trail ends at Mirror Lake. We spent the night (don’t forget your back country permit!) and would do the same if we were to hike this again. We saw two moose, multiple deer and a mountain goat. I would definitely recommend this as a begging backpack excursion.

hiking
16 days ago

While Thunder Lake itself is a serene beautiful spot, getting there isn't that much fun. Tons of loose rocks underfoot and not a flower in sight makes this a boring trail. Didn't really enjoy much after Ouzel Falls to be frank.

This is an excellent trail as long as you are capable of 15-16 miles in a day or an overnight. The lakes, waterfalls, and mountains are spectacular. We did not have a designated camping spot in the Crater Lake zone so we got one for the cascade area around it. We thankfully found a small meadow about 150 feet to the right of the trail right before the Crater Lake zone. You can’t see it from the trail, and it wouldn’t be good if a lot of rain is expected, but it was an excellent spot that was just a mile from the lakes. There were also lots of raspberries the first couple of miles which was a nice treat.

So this trail is difficult. I ended with four blisters and an achy body. With that said, it was probably the most hidden paradise that I have ever been to. The views were great, the wildlife was present (We even had to stop because a moose was on the trail), and the hike was challenging. I like to be challenged. We ended up hiking about 16 miles in all, and it is just sooooo long. Make sure to go on a day that is clear with a ton of sun, because it get chilly at the top. Also it almost stormed while we were there which would have been terrible if it did, so watch the forecast. The water is refreshing and freezing, but its worth the experience. Just remember, this is an all day hike and not an easy one. Still 10/10 would recommend.

Pro tip: When you enter the Monarch Lake area on County Road 6 off Highway 34, stop and get a $5 pass at the entrance. Unless there’s a ranger present you won’t be able to buy a pass at the trailhead in another ten miles, and if you don’t have a pass it’s a $75 ticket!!

This is an outstanding hike. It’s difficulty rating really comes largely from its long length - its elevation gain is spread out over miles. It’s got everything - it goes past lakes, meadows with flowers, thick forests, waterfalls and mountain vistas, and ends in one of the most spectacular mountain peaks in the state - Lone Eagle Peak - towering over a smooth and peaceful lake. Start early and you can do this as a day hike. It’s gorgeous.

Great 1 night backpacking. Not too many good camp spots further down but there are some good flat areas before and after the falls.

Stunning wildflowers and water features! It takes a while to get to the really fun part, but it’s so worth it.

hiking
19 days ago

We did this hike spur of the moment. everywhere else rates this hike 12.5 to 13 miles round trip. it's a pretty easy grade the whole way. once you get there you are glad you did. its stunningly beautiful. I wish now I would of scheduled camping and stayed a day or two. definitely reccomend, just make sure you are prepared for a good 4-6 hours round trip. That's if you are moving at a good rate without breaks.

Incredible hike! The lakes at the top are worth the work to get there.

Definitely a tough hike, but great views along the way. Would recommend as a day hike for anyone wanting to test their limits!!

I love running this trail. I prefer to do it clockwise. I did it Sat July 21st and started at 6AM. Once I passed the split I didn’t see another person until after the pass - it was a beautiful and peaceful 7 miles until I hit all the people coming up the other way.

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