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Tough hike but very rewarding. Visited the three lakes and Lake Salmon on the way back. I’m glad I wore ankle high hiking boots over the rough, rocky and rutted trail.

I got the chance to hike this trail on August 17, 2018. I started from the parking lot at the top in the park. the first 3 tenths of a mile are easy, but when you get to where the trail starts, it goes up and continues up and switches back and forth. it does level from time to time and eventually gets rocky because you are in the crags. If you aren't a skilled hiker, give yourself time and breaks often. take lots of water and if you want take the trail to Indian springs to fill up your water bottle. also if you start the hike from the upper parking lot, the climb is only 2.8 miles one way. My suggestion, go as far as you can, but get to at least where the trees start to think, so you can get a closer look at the crags. Well worth it.

I love this trail! I've hit it in skis, snowshoes, and hiking boots. Good times all around.

hiking
3 days ago

Wonderful hike that hugs Echo Lake and then ascends to Lake Aloha, which is big and offers many islands to swim to. At the end of summer, I was still able to see snow on the surrounding mountains, and the reflection of the trees and clouds on the crystal clear water was beautiful. Much of the hike is on rocks, so wear sturdy shoes.

hiking
4 days ago

Took the water taxi, so 12 km of hiking on rocky paths from the Upper Echo Lake to the Lake Aloha.
Beautiful Lake Aloha but water level very slow, so didn’t get into the water.
Lake the Woods is awesome and better for swimming for today.

Difficult when hiking up from Lake the Woods back to the Pacific Crest Trail towards Echo Lake, high altitude causing low oxygen, this part will take a longer and certain persons may feel bad (as I did).

Be aware: 50 cents for the public phone for the return boat call.

This is my second time hiking this trail. This place is quickly becoming overcrowded and abused. Lots of toilet paper and human waste at Penner lake. Disappointing to see so many careless hikers and campers there.

I will not be coming back here. Trash, left over garbage in the shore of the lake, it’s sad.

Amazing views!

I’ve never packed in from Grouse Ridge but I know the road to Grouse Ridge is much nicer than the road to Carr Lake where I normally start. The only downside to starting at Grouse Ridge is you end with a climb. Beyond where to start this area is amazing. You do have a lot of people at all the lake so if solitude is what you’re looking for I would go somewhere else.

If you don’t mind a lot of people at the Lake. Than this is a great place to camp. The switchbacks right before Penner Lake are rocky but I’ve seen some pretty young children at Penner and I’ve take my boys here as early as 7 years old. The water is clear and when you add that with the trees and rock you will keep wanting to come back.

The ascent up Sand Ridge Trail can be difficult, but beautiful views from the top. Beautiful and not heavily trafficked.

Easy and gorgeous trail

Brilliant and spectacular!!!!

It's also important the company you keep on the trail to share the scenery with. Moderate hike, exciting views, with many multiple opportunities to expand your exploration.

on Echo Lakes Trail

hiking
7 days ago

This is an amazing hike. I went out and back from echo lake trailhead to tamarack lake in 4 hours. It’s a hell of a hike without much shade. There aren’t any steep climbs but don’t expect a nice dirt trail as it’s mostly rocks. Nice views along echo lake.

Great 4 day hike. Late start camp at Island Lake, 5 Lakes via Sand Ridge, Glacier Lake, Round Lake, out. 5 adults, 2 kids. Meteors.

Truly gorgeous with lots of people but enough cool spots to get some alone time if like me you were looking for that. I spent a night at Tamarack Lake midway between the trailhead at Echo Lake and Aloha because I couldn’t get a permit to camp at Aloha on my first night. It was kind of nice that it forced me to go slower and appreciate another lake in the area. But you could easily spend a few days near Aloha. Next time I’ll do Aloha on night 1 and go on to one of the other lakes further up the PCT from there for night 2. I’m no thru hiker and that’s good because I don’t feel compelled to blow through 30 miles of beauty in one day.

Great hike! Just be watchful of bears. We spotted one about 15/20 feet from us while doing the hike not even half way in.

off road driving
7 days ago

Went up Saturday morning in my 2018 Tacoma off road.
Stock no mods, all weather tires, literally got it two days ago.
Trail was well maintained. We were behind an explorer that couldn’t make it up half way. .
Lots of hikers on the trail.
Definitely a fun trip.
Upper lake was beautiful.

off road driving
7 days ago

Gorgeous lakes. My brother and I drove up to Upper Sardine. People say it’s a gnarly road up, and while Subarus won’t make it up, my mild Toyota made it up without a single scratch. I highly, highly, recommend camping at Upper Sardine... We had it to ourselves and could see the PACKED campsite at Lower Sardine from where we set up camp.

We hiked to Sierra Buttes Lookout from Upper Sardine. What an incredible hike! Highly recommend it!

Nice, quick hike that offers amazing views of both the entire lake and Wizard Island.

hiking
8 days ago

This trail is beautiful and thankfully, outside of being hazy for photos, the smoke was barely noticeable. Definitely plan for a long day hike... what slows you down is the constant rocky terrain. Most of the trail consists of walking on rocks. Bring proper shoes. A lot of exposed area so bring the sunblock. The wildflowers are everywhere and the lakes are stunning! Lake Aloha was a great lunch spot, but pretty windy and made it too chilly for a swim. Got in at Lake of the Woods it was perfect!

hiking
8 days ago

Beautiful hike. Lower and upper lake taxi tour is a fun extra. Hiked the PCT to Tamarak lack last year. There was still a lot of snow so we trekked back earlier than expected. Will do this one again for sure!

hiking
9 days ago

I loved this hike! Took my boyfriend for his birthday and it was lovely, BUT it was horrible the way back because we did not bring enough water. Please bring more than you think you need!!

Great trail with beautiful lake at the end. Due to time constraints we had to take water taxi both ways. The “drop phone” was not operational and we didn’t have the coins to call the taxi back after arriving back at the dock. Luckily we had one phone with enough bars to call from end of dock. Take 50cents if u want the ride back. Gets hot in exposed parts; bring plenty sunscreen! Great views of Sierra crest at lake aloha.

Kicked my butt trail. Nice elevation change. Wish the smoke wasn’t there right now. A lot of the normal views were not visible but the hike was a lot of fun and I’m so glad that people have kept the trail so clean.

Nice trail. Beautiful views.

backpacking
14 days ago

Great trail not too difficult. Awesome place for a chill backpacking weekend

Nice mix of rocky path and forested trail, sun and shade.

Great trail! Smokey from the fires but still pretty! We will be back to backpack in and stay a night. Easy trail too!

went last year. got whooped and had the time of my life. anazing area. can't wait to go back.

Super nice and diversified trail! We did it as a half day hike (a little bit under two hours to the highest lake). In my opinion more a MODERATE then a hard hike (there for sure is a rocky section tho). The first 0.5 mile of the trail is a little tricky to follow, I was glad I brought my phone for GPS. Bring your dog and plan on taking a dip in the lake(s)!

I agree that it is a hard hike, especially coming back down. If you have a knee issue, use poles to soften the impact on the rocks, tree roots and just altogether steep and rugged trail terrain. The lakes are worth all the hard work to reach them. Middle Loch Leven is about 6 miles RT, but don’t get fooled by the shorter mileage. It’s still tough go. I have thought to make it a shuttle by putting a car at the Salmon Lake TH & hiking out by way of Salmon Lake & in at the Loch Leven TH. This would make hiking out less strenuous on folks with knee problems like I have.

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