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This hike is easy to moderate there are some steeper switchbacks but it’s not that hard and it’s in the shade. It’s pretty dry up until the last 2-3 miles then it gets more green the higher you go up and it’s very pretty. The view of the lake is amazing. I didn’t swim in it because I fear of dead bodies and sharks in all water lol. If you have a dog bring them because they will love swimming in the water there was two waterfalls and areas of water going on the trail so if your dog is thirsty that is a plus. Rocky in some areas and the tree roots are coming up in some of the trail so watch your step. Did see beat skat that everyone was talking about but saw no bears at all

Great day hike! For sure harder than I thought it would be. The view is worth it for sure!

hiking
2 days ago

We loved the hike and would recommend it to others. But we have a few words of caution. Though very beautiful, the bluffs and scenery were somewhat difficult to see due to so much smoke in the air from fires. Afterwards, I asked about the smoke at the nearby ranger station and the ranger did not know the origin of the fires causing the smoke. On our descent we ran into two families with kids aged about 4 to 10. The kids were struggling, especially through the rocky sections. I would hesitate to take young kids on this trail unless they're used to hiking a lot.

Great hike. Beautiful views.

hiking
3 days ago

TLDR... Very worthwhile hike, if early. Bummer crowds. Keep your dog on it's leash for the love of all things decent. Nike running shoes will get you there, but for sure would recommend boots.

We got to the trailhead around 7:15 am and the lot was only about half-full. We were pretty fortunate to not encounter anyone for over a mile and a half - just the sweeping fog and light rain. The hike itself is a relatively gentle climb through some old growth and a couple slightly more tedious sections (think Pennsylvania on the AT) added in for a nice kick. The trail is well maintained. The alpine lake at the top is gorgeous and was well-worth the trip up. We strolled around the lake for awhile before the crowds arrived and decided to head back down around 9:45 am.

Unfortunately once we started heading back down we were smacked with a never-ending (as in, from the lake down until the parking lot) line of people heading up. The crazy foot traffic was harsh, but not nearly as lame as how people treat that place. We encountered about 10-15 deposits of trash that were not on the trail when we ascended a couple hours earlier and lwayyyyy too many groups of tech-bros and bro-ettes that were letting their dogs run off the leash - WE GET IT, you're dog is "chill" but with the amount of traffic (and kids), coupled with how narrow and rocky it can be at times, the entitlement isn't warranted or beneficial.

All-in-all, the hike is incredibly enjoyable and not very taxing and could be rated +4/5 on quality of trail, scenery, and workout alone. However, considering you're bound to come across a bunch of people here, it's worth knowing that... yup, a bunch of them suck.

hiking
3 days ago

The view at the top is totally worth it!

Go to BelSquare if you want to be around this many people. Beautiful lake. Lots of bugs. Very scenic trail.

on Snow Lake Trail

3 days ago

Hike is beautiful, but it is so packed and literally ZERO trail etiquette. Lots of loud people on the trail. Because of the amount of people we turned off snow lake and went up to another small lake. Couldn’t get down to the water but had beautiful views and ended up being a 5 mile in and out hike. Won’t do it again but it is very beautiful.

A definite favorite! Have your forest pass worked out beforehand - we wasted some time with this.

Solid trail. Not tough but good length. Bring that bug spray and get an early start because it gets busy but great longer hike for beginners.

on Lake 22 Trail

hiking
4 days ago

Hiked this last week with a girlfriend and kids (ages 9-15). Definitely bring water. Gets rocky but still doable in regular running/athletic shoes. I’m not in great shape (lol) but we all made it up and back okay.

Lake is gorgeous and worth the work to get up there. We did it on a weekday, started about 10:15am - got back to car about 3:15pm. Slow and steady and hung out at lake for a bit and ate our lunches. Several waterfalls along the way. Well maintained trail. Mostly in forest.

hiking
5 days ago

This was our 1st hike and we were ill prepared. I thought a pair of Nike Tennis would be fine, but boy was I wrong. The hike was beautiful though. Swimming in the lake was very rewarding. My feet hated me afterwards however!

hiking
7 days ago

Gorgeous/ Moderate hike/ worth it!!

on Snow Lake Trail

hiking
7 days ago

Harder than expected but the views were beautiful the entire way and the lake is perfect to swim in!

The view is gorgeous! The hike overall isn't bad, some incline spots where in hot weather (about 85 degrees when I went) seem overwhelming, but it's more the heat that gets to you so would definitely recommend getting there earlier to avoid midday heat. Pay attention to markers. The 1st lookout of the lake is beautiful, (huge rock overlooking the lake from up high), but I wouldn't stop there. Go right from there to lead you on the trail which will lead you down to the lake and from there it's up to you how close you want to get or if you want to get it. I didn't think the bugs were bad on this particular day either. Also, you don't need hiking boots (I used tennis shoes) but if you got them it would be nice because going down hill will be easier. It'soverall a pretty rocky trail, but lake is worth it. Didn't take that long either to get to the lake a little over 3 miles (just to).

hiking
8 days ago

absolutely beautiful hike and Lake. You can even see some trout swimming around in the lake. Still some snow up on the canyon wall set if you're careful you can get up to. As a reminder people with dogs please pick up your droppings.

hiking
8 days ago

Arrived at the trailhead by 10am and there was already plenty of people there (even though it was a Tuesday). The trail is pretty rocky but in great shape. It was close to 90 degrees so jumping in the lake was a great way to cool off! The bugs were not too bad at all either. This is a great hike, easily accessible and not too difficult.

Go early enough you will beat all the crowds

hiking
8 days ago

Arrived at 7 AM on Sunday morning and had plenty of parking space. However, in the 5 minutes it took us to get ready, 10 other cars arrived. This won't be difficult for anyone in decent shape. Trail sneakers with good grip are fine, but you'd be wise to wear boots. Not for the grip but to protect your ankles. Lots of roots and rocks. I've posted a bunch of photos of the actual trails so you'll get an idea of what to expect.

My impression? I loved it. Worth every drop of sweat. We arrived to the lake just before 9 AM and there were already at least 50 people up there. Didn't feel crowded yet as the trail around the lake is just over a mile. If you want to swim, and you really should if the weather permits, go to the other side of the lake where access is better. Lots of large rocks and boulders where you can enjoy the view, and if you go higher up, you'll really get some peaceful time as most people don't bother climbing rocks. We spent good 3 hours up there before we headed back down.

It was crazy busy on the way down. Met good 200 people heading to the lake, with lots of people who seemed rather unprepared for the hike, wearing inappropriate shoes and carrying an 8 oz. bottle of water in their back pocket. When we arrived to the parking lot, there were cars waiting for a spot, and other cars parked by the side of the road. And yes, saw absolutely no bugs.

hiking
8 days ago

Got there at 8am and there was lots of parking. By the time we left at 1:15, the lot was full (and it was a Monday)!

Trail was in good condition. According to my friend I hike pretty fast so it took us about 1 hr 15 min to reach the top. Not a lot of bugs which was nice. Bring your bathing suit- it’s the perfect lake to hang out for a few hours and swim at. If you have the time, walk the path that goes all around the lake!

Loved the view!

hiking
9 days ago

Beautiful mountain lake--and larger than you think. Well worth the hike!

hiking
10 days ago

Loved this hike . Parking was difficult.

backpacking
10 days ago

Very rewarding hike with a beautiful lake. Would recommend getting an early start on this one to beat the bugs and crowds later in the day. Camping is not allowed at Blanca Lake however there is plenty of camping spots at Virgin Lake.

hiking
10 days ago

4 Stars. About 3.5 hours round trip. Little rocky at a few switchbacks, but overall good tree cover most of the route.

hiking
10 days ago

So so beautiful! But definitely the hardest hike I’ve ever done. It seemed like we would never get there but we finally did! I would definitely say take PLENTY of water. I drank 4 bottles by myself.
Check the weather before you go. We went yesterday and the weather was perfect. I think like 70-72 the whole day. I can’t imagine doing that hike in hotter weather. It would be miserable. We forgot bug spray and the bugs didn’t bother us too bad. I don’t think i have bites at all. They were only a nuisance when we stopped to take a breather. We got there and started on the trail around 11:30-12. We got back at 7:50. So it was a very long day but totally worth it. Make sure you wear hiking boots, if you don’t have any make sure you wear tennis shoes with GOOD SOLES.

The worst part was the 2 mile walk back because
It felt like it would never end.

hiking
10 days ago

Awesome trail!! My family and I started at sunset, which is probably the best time to do it before the rush comes in. The scenery is absolutely breathtaking and well worth it when you make it to the lookout. Incline is pretty gradual so not too bad. Will definitely be back!

on Snow Lake Trail

hiking
10 days ago

First of all I have to give a big thank you to the forest service crews maintaining the trail. They were out in force and doing an awesome job! Thank you!!

Parking wasn’t an issue for us but please oh please people learn to park without lines! We noticed so many wasted spaces when we arrived at 9am. You could park so many more cars in there if you just park properly.

The trail is one of the best trails I have hiked in terms of maintenance. No it isn’t smooth as glass and without flaws. It is the way it should be, rocky, challenging, etc. This isn’t a trail for your flip-flops.

In terms of foot traffic, this is where my rating went to 4. The trail was crowded with kids and their music, cutting the switchbacks (a pseudo “trail” is being worn in from the pass at Snow Lake down to the lake cutting through the switch backs), partying at Snow Lake. Their trail etiquette was severally lacking, For this reason I see why the Forest Service spends a lot of time working there. It would have been nice seeing someone with authority checking tags on packs and adding some sense of order to the chaos they brought with them.

While the lake and the view around it really is breathtaking, finding a peaceful place to enjoy it was extremely difficult. The base of the trail at the lake was crowded with cannonballs, drones, music and excessive drinking. If you do find a spot be prepared for it to be invaded by other people seeking refuge from the kids. For this reason, I recommend that you keep going to Gem Lake or beyond as this seems to be beyond the range of the parties. 3-4pm seems to be the hour that the parties leave and head back. Be prepared to be trampled if you are already on your way down ahead of them.

As a side note we were amazed at the number of people still coming up as we were heading down.

Lastly, we heard that there were a lot of bugs to contend with. Our challenge was biting flies before we put repellent on. I cannot say enough good about “Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Natural Insect Repellent Pump”. I don’t like 100% DEET so try to stay away from it. I heard good things about Repel and it lives up to it. We sprayed ourselves down with Repel and no more biting flies and no numb tongue that usually comes with DEET!! We did bring the Ultrathon 20 lotion with DEET just in case we came across stubborn bugs but never needed it.

All in all we will do this trail again and prepare to go to Gem or beyond, probably not on a holiday or weekend.

amazing view

hiking
11 days ago

Amazing hike. Very crowded, rocky and tons of bugs but worth it.

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