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2 days ago

Just finished this trail as an overnight backpacking trip. Would rather recommend doing this in the spring or fall. Summer’s too hot and the trail’s mostly exposed. Bring lots of sunblock. Creeks we’re running and got to filter some water. Stayed at Vicente Flats for the night. This is definitely a butt-kicker with a pack. Could be done as a day hike but start early.

This was a great trail with amazing views. We took our dogs who did great. Went clockwise which seemed like the right choice at the end. The decent to adventure mountain was a steep decline. Adventure mountain was closed for the season but there is a small parking lot just before the gate. We parked at Johnson Pass rd. And added about another 2 mi. to the trip. I wasn’t a fan of the several freeway crossings or the fact that I camped right next to a coyote den in big Meadow. But other than that it was great!

Wonderful trail. Day hiked to lower paradise valley and back with my sister. First half is pretty mild but after mist falls it’s pretty much uphill in the sun with switch backs. You get an amazing view of tumbling water the whole way, beautiful deep green pools surrounded by a relentlessly torrential river. Stopped at the Bailey bridge on the way back to roads end for a awesome swim in a deep green pool and some crazy English kids were jumping from the bridge and the rock! Note that the smoke from the Ferguson fire was noticeable (did the hike Friday 8/3) so things were a little hazy

Wonderful trail for all experience levels. Some friends and I went on a two night backpacking trip this past weekend and enjoyed the scenery regardless of the smoke from the fires nearby. Hope to go again soon when fire season is over.

Challenging but manageable- just the right amount of steeps

Had a great attempt up Split Mountain 7/14/18, ended up turning around at 12,700 feet on the ridge line after the steep scree fields due to thunderstorms, but will be back! We wrote a trip report with current road conditions (with photos) to get to trailhead and gpx file of the trail. https://www.shedreamsofalpine.com/blog/split-mountain-hike

Great hike! Started from the Road's End Trailhead and initially only wanted to go to Mist Falls, but my friends and I were feeling ambitious and made our way to Lower Paradise Valley. Like others have mentioned, there's certain sections of the hike where there is no shade and the sun just beats you down. Also, there's mosquitos early on the hike when you start hiking along the river. Besides that, the hike was amazing! Pretty minor elevation gain to Mist Falls, but the hike to Lower Paradise is more steep and rocky. Mist Falls Trail was amazing to see and you can go off trail and get closer to the falls. Lower Paradise Valley has a different feel that Mist Falls and a lot more calm. The valley is a great place to filter water especially if you plan to head back to the Road's End Trailhead.

Nice views while hiking, however trail was not so great. Ending was terrible as it was just telephone lines and machines. Very foggy and humid throughout hike. I wouldn’t make this place a priority hike

1 month ago

The Sky trail is beautiful but very overgrown with poison oak in many places so be cautious and wear long pants. If you want to hike down to the beach from Sky Camp but avoid poison oak, I'd recommend using the Fire Lane Trail. It's a little less scenic but less overgrown so you can avoid the poison oak.

1 month ago

*no water at vicente*

We hiked in planning to either camp at Vicente or get water there and continue to cone peak. The hike to Vicente was gorgeous - ocean views most of the way and wildflowers all along the trail. There was a small stream right by Espinosa camp almost 4 miles in.

We reached Vicente on 6/9/18 and the stream/creek was bone dry. There was no water at any nearby streams. There were also big bee hives and lots of bees at the camp. We decided after looking for water for an hour or so to camp at Espinosa and refuel at the stream. It was beautiful there with ocean views and very quiet. There were a lot of gnats at dusk and dawn. The hike down the next morning was quick and shaded - we started out around 8am. It’s a beautiful hike.

Oh also beware of poison oak! I was spared but my boyfriend is covered. Careful about putting your pack in the brush.

Went clockwise: correct choice! It ends with some crazy downhill. Great meadows and variety of views across the trial, there's no one view that stands above the rest

Backpacked the loop clockwise two weeks ago. As soon as we hit the pass before Piute Lake, mosquitos became unbearable. Camped the first night at Gem Lake and regretted that decision. We woke up early and had a great second day fishing Rainbows in Buck Meadow Creek and Cherry Creek West Fork. Camped at Grouse Lake second night and bugs were still bad but much better than Gem. We caught three Brown at dusk and one Rainbow at sunrise. Can’t wait to check out this area again without the skeeters.

This trail is pretty busy and there are are power lines everywhere. Looking for something more naturey.

1 month ago

Beautiful trail, lots of open areas and not much shade.
One lane road getting to and from so drive slowly for cars and boats coming opposite direction. Good size parking lot that still fills up. I parked on side of road about 0.3 mile out. First quarter mile or so of trail was a lot of seeded rocks on the trail, unavoidable. You have to pay attention to where you step.
A couple of spots had forks in the trail with no clear indication of where to go to stay on the trail. I couldn’t get GPS for Alltrails app so I just followed fellow hikers’ decisions.

Started at Big Meadows and ended at parking at Lower Echo Lake. Camped at Showers Lake. Plenty of water along the trail. Beautiful views. Still a bit of snow on north facing ridges but that just provided nice, cold, fresh streams. Lots of mosquitos so be prepared.

good all around trail but the view can get foggy

Great hike. Still plenty of snow all the way up the route starting about 11.5-12K but melting fast. No need for any technical gear as it can almost all be bypassed... 1-2 months ago likely not the case. Tons of scree/talus and was 80-100 degrees depending on altitude.

1 month ago

Great trail. We completed this hike mid June and it was fantastic. The canyon walls tower over the trail and don’t even look real. Bugs were minimal but we used deet. We ran into two deer and didn’t encounter any bears... though given the terrain, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was common.

Fantastic hike! The first incline to the tree at the top of the hill (you'll know what I'm talking about) is rough but it will get you geared for the rest of it. Kind of a steady incline to the peak with a few flat runs scattered. Beautiful views. I agree with the poison oak overgrowth at this time of year in the lower/starting areas so definately wear something that covers your arms and legs unless you're lucky enough to not have a poison oak allergy? A highly recommended hike, enjoy!

1 month ago

Traveled from the south direction and had lunch at grouse lake. (Great idea) Then camped at Gem lake, mosquitoes were absolutely terrible. Spent the day hiking out and was tormented by them anytime I was near water, other than camp lake. I will go again just at a latter date. But the scenery is beautiful.

Just completed the loop - backpacking. No snow but mosquitoes are ferocious at Gem lake. Deep Woods Off not effective - we hunkered in our tent for 3 hours til sun went down and skeeters left. I do not recommend camping at Gem or higher elev. for maybe another few weeks? Until they die off. Camp Lake and Grouse Lake (along north and south legs) are 1000' lower elevation and no bugs - good camping right now. Cherry Creek (cross on both the north side and south side of loop) is running about knee high and very cold but not too hard to cross.

2 months ago

Nice hike, especially if you add on a stop at Sculptured Beach as some other reviewers have recommended. A few suggestions if you go on this hike: the trail is overgrown in many places with a lot of poison oak in the area, so I would highly recommend wearing pants; the Fire Lane Trail is quite exposed, so it is worth doing that portion of the hike in a cooler part of the day if it is warm/sunny (as it was when we hiked it).

2 months ago

heavily trafficked, not sure why it is labeled as "light" definately bring deet.

beautiful hike. went from crabtree th to deer lake and sayed the night. all in all a great trip.

Just got back yesterday. Trailhead is easy to get to. Beautiful loop. The lakes are small, but maybe that's to be expected. The first good place to camp is at Piute Lake, but Gem is even prettier. The creeks were not too hard to cross. The deepest reached halfway up my thigh (I'm 5'4"), but the water is freezing. Found a fantastic campsite at the southern crossing of Cherry Creek. Just walk straight up the granite on the West side of the creek until you can't go up any further. Great view and secluded. Downside of this trail was the amount of people out there. Saw at least 20 people over 2 days.

Went on Saturday with my dog. Parking lot was crowded. It was around 11:30am. Still, we had a great time. Got a little confused as the main entrance had a sign for no dogs but then the trail entrance had a sign for dogs allowed on leash. The beginning of the trail is narrow with lots of vegetation on each side. Didn’t see poison oak on that portion but there was definitely some in the first 1.5 - 2 miles. The first 1.5 miles is all steep uphill but there is a stop where most of the people sat down to rest and take in the beautiful scenery of the ocean. The next 2-3 miles is not bad at all, some uphill but not too inclined. Some hikers wearing shorts were turned away by the poison oak. It was a sunny day, not a lot of shadow until you reach the paved trail then you can find some shelter under the trees. The weather was nice, at 69 degrees. At the top of Mt Montara I only saw one tree to find shelter from the sun. Wear your sunscreen! And then prepare those knees for going down. I was kind of in a rush so I cut through the mountain downhill. Had to use my hiking poles to support my knees. But you can try to find some alternative trail that gives you a much decent descent. Great place with awesome views! If you don’t enjoy the crowd or the sunshine on your face I recommend you go early.

My goal was to go from Crabtree TH to Gem Lake the first day and then to explore the lakes beyond Gem Lake. Unfortunately, the water at Cherry Creek (about .75 miles from Gem Lake) was to my chest and higher in most spots and I wasnt able to find a good place to cross without having to float my backpack and swim. I chose not to and returned to Piute Lake for the night. Piute was a good spot and no one else was around. Good initial plan, just happened to catch the runoff at the wrong time.

Great trail! I would highly recommend sunscreen as there is little to no shade. Also, currently as of today, 6/1/2018 there is a lot of poison oak on the trail beginning at the trailhead to about 1/4 mile up the trail. It took me 2.5 hrs up and down, would do it again!

We backpacked from Crabtree to Gem Lake on Memorial weekend as an out-and-back hike using the upper end of the loop. We spent a day hiking from Gem Lake around Deer Lake, absolutely gorgeous area, still covered by 2-3 feet drifts of snow with some clear patches in sunnier areas, so expect slower travel (and beautiful pictures!)

The snow was melting at the end of the weekend. Cherry Creek filled up fast and rose a couple feet on our way back so we camped nearby and crossed in the morning. It came up to our hips even still! Absolutely use caution when crossing anytime soon. Paiute Creek is also rising from snowmelt, but it wasn't as swollen and came up to mid-thigh on us.

I'd recommend this hike to anybody who'd like to get away to a beautiful place! Will definitely be going back later this year - hopefully we'll make it all the way to Emigrant Lake next time!

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