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we did this hike on New Years Eve and again this past Sunday. One of our favorites for sure. NYE there was allot of snow, obviously fresh and super cold. This past weekend, much of the snow was gone and the lake wasnt as frozen. Two very different hikes and very different views along the way with and without the snow. Cant wait to come back in the summer to camp! Easy in and out very little elevation. Just enough to get your heart rate up a bit and then your there. LOTS of dogs off their leashes would be my only negative comment. We brought 3 dogs both times and kept them leashed for caution both times.

Got on the trail around 10:30 am. It was very snowy. Once we got towards the top you can branch off to the Upper Ashland Lakes (.2 mi) or Lower Ashland Lakes (1 mi). We headed towards the Upper Lakes but with all the snow it was hard to see the trail. We weren't able to find the trail with all the snow so we turned back and didn't do the extra mile to the Lower Lakes. We ended up stopping at Beaver Lake on the way down and it was absolutely beautiful. Loved the hike, but be warned the road has multiple potholes going up and then deep snow, so make sure you have the right car for it.

snowshoeing
5 days ago

First off as everyone mentioned, the road is in pretty rough shape. I wound up parking at the turn to Ashland Lakes and walked up due to the snow this morning, added like 30 minutes each way. The trail is a good solid moderate but today with the snowshoes for the upper half it rated a hard. The lake is nice, but the better mountain views are on the way up.

hiking
14 days ago

The hike wasn’t too bad for someone who isn’t very athletic like myself. It was just very long so prepare for that! My boyfriend and I went out today for my birthday and we wore many layers but ended up getting drenched in rain water, river water (you have to cross many, some can get up to mid calf in depth) and ended up turning around before we actually reached Goat Lake because we were worried we wouldn’t make it back before sundown. We hiked Lower Elliot on the way to the lake and Upper Elliot on the way back.. which we recommend because taking Upper Elliot back allows you to descend most of the time. Our advice: wear rain boots in the rainy seasons, dress in layers, maybe bring food because of how long the hike is (took us 4+ hours and remember we didn’t even make it to the lake), and start out early so you can take your time!

camping
18 days ago

Hiked in on 12/26 to do a couple of days of snow camping. The area is stunning and quite snowy (note: be aware that the road leading
up to the trailhead is getting challenging for non 4x4s). The bridge over the creek is fine (having poles is a plus for this hike) and the lake frozen over. Baring Mountain looming high above the lake is a sight to see, complete with a crown of clouds.

I had to cut my camping short as my bivvy sack, pad, sleeping bag, wool blanket, and wool base and middle layers weren’t enough for the clear sky cold of the night. I went to bed at 7:30 or so and woke up at 9:20 realizing I was feeling areas of cold even through all of my layers. I elected to bail and hiked back through the forest in light snow following the partially filled tracks of previous hikers. I did get to see very fresh elk tracks - probably missed saying hello by a few minutes.

Walking back at night was a very intense and vibrant experience. I will say I did crazy ivans every few minutes to look for any night eyes. A little disappointed at not being able to stay the night but the overall experience was magical.

We went on 12/27, once you turn onto the service road theres a few pot holes, we hit quite a bit of snow on the way up the road around 10 a.m. and some cars got stuck, one had to get towed out. The hike was gorgeous, there's some slushy snow on lake, we brought micro spikes but didn't need them. Very minimal elevation gain, but as it gets more icy would be good to have spikes and poles. Plan for extra time as it takes longer in the snow, esp. if you have to park a ways down due to road conditions. There is a bathroom at the trailhead and lots of shy camprobbers :)

hiking
22 days ago

First off, Apple Maps directions assume there’s a closed gate. I didn’t even see a gate where indicated.

I was able to drive in 6-8” of snow in an AWD sedan without winter tires. Not the best. It was a bit sketchy turning back.

I had to park within 500 feet of the trailhead because of a fallen tree. Too big to move with my car.

It’s the first heavy snowfall so there are many LARGE falling branches...heads up.

I didn’t get much hiking in...maybe a mile. I’ll return with snow shoes and poles. I had it all to myself.

hiking
23 days ago

Beautiful! Easy, but fun. It was good for working on endurance. The trail is doable in the snow, but I wished I’d had poles and/or spikes for my boots because I was slipping and sliding a bit when the snow started to melt.

One of the beat hikes I had for the distance. Very beautiful and serene. Not very busy.

hiking
29 days ago

LOVE this trail. Easy, clean, and a great view at the top.

hiking
1 month ago

Baring Mountain looked really ominous on my December hike. The lake was half frozen over and would make big cracking noises as the sheet of ice shifted. Really cool!

hiking
1 month ago

Nice day heading up to Goat Lake. There is some snow on the trail but not deep or icy. Road is very potholed on the way to trail but manageable. Hike was very pretty, beautiful forest and Mountain View’s and pretty easy going.

1 month ago

12/8/18
Took the lower trail out and upper trail back. Definitely recommend taking both trails as on the lower you get views of the river and upper you get better views of the mountains. Upper trail is a bit longer so be prepared for that if you use it for the way back. Both are well maintained and it's a fairly easy hike.
The lake is absolutely stunning and views of the mountains and waterfalls won't disappoint!
Still now snow cover as of date above, although some icy spots during stream crossings. Mountain loop highway has no snow as well. Dirt portion is in a bit of rough shape so low cars might struggle with all the pot holes.

Did this hike today, no snow, very flat, just really long. There were a couple of little creeks to pass over, nothing crazy. We didn't finish the hike, it would have been dark by the time we got back and we waited to be leaving before it got dark. I would definitely plan on leaving earlier next time. Only saw a few people didn't seem to be a very popular hike but it was very well kept, looked like it was recently serviced! Other than a few potholes on the way up the road to the trailhead and our poor time management it was a pretty nice hike.

hiking
1 month ago

Great trail to some nice lakes. Easy to get to, nothing strenuous, lots of board walks that could be very slippery in wet weather/light snow. We hit a dusting of snow at Beaver Lake. Past Beaver Lake is where the majority of the board walks are, so we put on our "yak-trax" and had no issue. Very lightly trafficked - we saw only 1 other couple the entire time, while at Lake Twenty-Two, that parking lot was overflowing with cars - I can't imagine how crowded that trail was.

Regarding the road: yes, monster DEEP pot-holes, they'll swallow your car, certain destruction, stay-away!!! ;^) Seriously, it appears some people expect these roads to be like a city street all the way to the trailhead. It's a FOREST ROAD for crying out loud! This is a typical FOREST ROAD with pot holes and water - the majority have that. If you have issues with potholes and water, then please stay home. Anyone with the slightest amount of common sense could easily get a Honda Civic to the trailhead with no issues.

Easy walk in the woods. A good place to cool off in summer heat, lots of conifer shade. Some amazing cairns along one trail.

1 month ago

love this hike..it was work after independence lake but well worth it. didnt quite make it to north lake but so near it. 2 night trip. first night spent a few hundred feet from north lake quiet cold but beautiful night with clear sky in early september. perfect to night sky of the milky way shooting stars satellites only thing it was cold. second night caught fish at independence lake for a good dinner and hung out by the campfire telling stories and playing camp games. we had plenty of first time backpackers on the trip and it was a pretty hard trek with full packs but the scenery was way worth it. next time we will make it to north lake, heard the fishing is epic. independence lake has group camp sites but north lake is very limited

hiking
1 month ago

Easy trail. Took our older pup-she did great. Met about 4 other couples on the trail on Thanksgiving. Weather was great. Would love to come back out when theres a little more snow on the mountain.

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike, 25 degrees with clear blue sky, saw one other person the entire walk.
So this trail really has nothing to do with Coal Lake except you are Coal Lake Rd and drive past Coal Lake. Coal Lake is like 200 ft from the parking area. Drive past this trail to the end of the road, this is the trailhead for Independence Lake and North Lake. The mile walk up to Independence is a real nice warmup. When you get to the far end of this pretty little lake just follow trail, up. When you get to the top you will sort of follow the hill around to the right then start down towards North Lake. This part of the trail is the one shovel wide type and is steep and slick.

hiking
2 months ago

Good walk through the woods. Very easy hike with such a good view of the lake.

hiking
2 months ago

Great long hike with rewarding views at the end. There are beautiful waterfalls along the way.

Super nice day, clear blue sky and 30 degrees. 4 inches of fresh snow, lakes are frozen over. Great little hike, if you go slow and easy takes about 5 hours including a little site seeing along the way. The tree people talk will only be a problem if you are driving something really tall like a truck with a camper on it.

Oct 2018 - Woodsy and well-marked trails. It was very pretty in the fall with lots of color. I wanted to get a couple hours of walking in before it rained. Even though it started drizzling, I didn’t mind so much with all the tree cover. Encountered some young families and mountain bikers. Great little getaway.

hiking
2 months ago

Absolutely stunning. We did this hike in a day that was supposed to be rainy but for the most part there were no rain. The trail was very beautiful, it was among these trees, mosses, fallen leaves and ferns. It was one of the most beautiful trails I've seen in Washington.
The hike is super moderate and the gain is very gradual. We did the loop, taking the Upper Elliot trail hiking up and Lower Elliot trail hiking down. My AllTrails app says 11.4 miles total. We walked around the lake too.
At this time of year, there were many waterfalls on the way up and also around the lake itself. All were really gorgeous. I should also mention, we took highway 530 and the tree colors were really beautiful.

on Monte Cristo Trail

2 months ago

Great stroll even in the pouring rain. We turned into the trail at the first large caution sign that crossed a wooden bridge into the woods. We should have stayed straight right toward the rivers edge instead of going up. The next woops was we missed the pile of rocks to indicate where to turn to actually go to Monte Cristo from that side of the trail. We went about a mile past the turn before we realized and had to backtrack. We were gaining elevation and the route to Montecristo is lowland around 700 feet. So if you take that route look for a pile of rocks about mile and a half in on your left hand side and take a left at that pile of rocks. You will eventually get down to the river again to find that long log that most people talk about that you need to cross over and from there you just keep Truckin ahead on the gravel road about 2 more miles and you'll find Monte Cristo.

An easy trail since it’s low elevation gain and goes along a road most of the way. There is a log crossing, so I wouldn’t advise small children or anyone with balance issues or fears. However, there are other options if you decide to turn around at the log. The ghost town is very cool with pretty forest and river views along the way!The trail is worth it as long as you know what you’re getting into! I give it a three because it’s not really a hike, but more of a forest road walk.

Some of the trail is redirected do to wash outs and to cross the river you go over a fallen tree. all around a very beautiful hike.

Great walk with historical destination and beautiful fall colors. As noted on prior post, there was a crew of volunteers at the historic town, working to preserve this great gateway to our past... THANKS.

Only negative would be that the river crossing point was poorly marked.

camping
2 months ago

Great hike with 14 boy scouts for a fun overnighter. This was a great way for the younger scouts to work on their outdoor skills. The camping area was very nice and provided plenty of room. Although not stated here (unless I missed it) the US forest service still recommends packing in water. Although there was a cleanup in 2016, the Ranger station in Verlot stated that there is the possibility of arsenic in the water still so it is good to pack in your water.

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