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8 hours ago

Did this hike and overnighter backpacking trip July 14-15, 2018. We had previously done this hike May 2013 and the ground still had some snowy patches that made it difficult to find the last steep part of the trail past the lower basin (if we had GPS, we would have found it just fine). Did it again July 2014 and made it to Ice Lake, but didn't do the full loop due to a storm with hail. This time we did the full loop to visit all three of the big lakes and it was MUCH more crowded than it used to be only a few years ago.

We started our hike at 7am and there were already several cars at the trailhead. We arrived at the lower basin shortly before 9am and that was with only one quick 5-min water/snack break. Set up camp in the lower basin before we continued on with our day packs. Weather forecast for the weekend was predicting a decent chance of rain all weekend and we've been up in these mountains several times with storms that produce small hail, so we didn't want to camp or set up our tent in such exposed weather by the lakes (but other braver people did).

As far as setting up camp in the lower basin, I would highly recommend venturing out far left (south) of the main trail. It's difficult to follow the rules and set up camp 100 feet from lakes and streams because it seems like there are streams all around in the lower basin (and where there aren't streams and the ground is flat, it seems like there is thick vegetation), but if we hadn't been as hasty to find a spot and hiked further away from the main trail, I think we would have been able to follow the rules properly, so we regret that. I also regret setting up camp so close to the trail as I didn't realize (as a girl) was that if you don't set up camp away from others, it's extremely difficult to find a private spot to pee. There were campers above us, below us, and beside us, in addition to people hiking through the basin that had a great view of the campers like us that didn't venture out further. Du-oh!

The hikes to the other two lakes, Fuller and Island don't compare at all to Ice Lake. In fact, there are several tiny lakes near all of the main lakes, but none of the smaller ones are clear or blue at all. It was cool to see the other main lakes just once, but if we went back, I would definitely spend more time at Ice Lake. Indeed, the other two main lakes are much more quiet though, if you are looking for solitude. We hiked up to Fuller Lake after Ice Lake and Fuller was not blue at all, but it had a really awesome waterfall shortly before it, along with several beautiful marshy streams on the easy trail up. After Fuller Lake, we backtracked to Ice Lake and hiked up to Island Lake (which was a steeper trek than Fuller) and Island Lake is only somewhat blue (mainly green-ish). There is a very obvious and steep trail up to the peaks above Island Lake, which would give a pretty awesome view of Island Lake if you were up for the extra trek; but again, we were worried about storms coming in and missed out on this cool option.

If you do the full loop trail and choose to keep going past Island Lake instead of going back the way you came from Ice Lake, this will be a good short cut if you're headed back down to the trail head, but if you're headed back to the lower basin for camping, you'll end up adding a tiny bit of extra mileage to get back to the main trail (but the part it spits you out at on the main trail is the part where it starts to get flat leading up to the lower basin, so you at least don't have to worry so much about trekking uphill again). We took the trail past Island Lake to get back to the lower basin and appreciated that it was much quieter and there were some cool views of the peaks in the distance. Some reviews said this trail was much steeper, so I had envisioned having to scramble down the trail, but that wasn't the case at all. It didn't feel any steeper than other uphill parts of the trail.

Awesome trail. Turns into a rock scramble about halfway up the mountain and gains about 2400ft in ~1.6 mi. Great views going up/down the mountain after about the halfway point, but the summit was foggy. The fog clears away just a few hundred feet from the summit to reveal some spectacular views.

A beautiful hike but it got extremely hot towards the end around 1pm. It was 101 when I got back to the pickup. The long primitive portion as they call it, takes you through beautiful canyons and along the top of sandstone ridges. The longer trail gets you away from the major crowds and offers great views back on the several arches along this trail.

Excellent hike! I was initially intimidated but pleasantly surprised with the level of ease I was able to do this. Straight up, straight down. The weather was lovely (low 80s) and all of the other hikers were very friendly. The overlook is completely worth the hike.

I just looked this up because my teenage son is looking for a hike with friends and asked, "What is that family hike we have done like 100 times?" Forgot how to spell Lafayette. :)

Don't let "nerve wrecking" and "knife edge" scare you. This is nothing like a true knife edge. This is just hiking.

But it is mighty fine hiking. My favorite White Mountain hike. But go up Falling Waters as it is pretty steep for hiking down, especially if wet, and it is often wet. Go down Old Bridle Path.

Have fun!

16 hours ago

I hiked up 2 miles to Tom Creek where I was greeted by a picturesque waterfall. The trail was beautiful and shaded with a gentle climb.

1 day ago

If you do one trail while you're in the San Juans, this should be it. 2WD accessible trailheads are hard to come by here! Wish we had known about the loop, but our guide book was old so it didn't include that option. Island Lake is breathtaking. The altitude and gain make this a difficult hike but there is only one small scramble section up to Island. Trail easy to navigate.

We had perfect weather for this hike, a slight detour at 2 points as Tuckerman's Ravine trail was under construction, the first portion of this hike is woody and rocky with a steady but not steep incline. We stopped and snacked/refilled water at Hermit lake shelter, from there it was a relatively steep incline once you are through the ravine, great views all along this trail and the last .8 mile requires scrambling at some places. Saw a lot of other friendly hikers along the way. The summit is super busy, so no quiet mountain summit moments, but a very fun trail and not too trying on a summer day- 3.5 hours up and 3 hours down.

We hiked up to trail crest on 7/15 (13,400 feet), and didn't get to summit. There was no snow on the trails and conditions were completely clear that day. No bear sightings, but there were a couple marmots after the 97 switchbacks.

Beginning of the trail is closed so we took the detour up the ski trail. It was probably the worst part-straight uphill on dirt with no traction in multiple spots. Once we got to the ravine, it was beautiful! It was steep but more actual hiking. Pretty warm and humid today until we got above the tree line. There was a nice breeze for the rest of our climb to the summit. I definitely recommend hiking shoes. Lots of rocks and even kind of a scramble-like hiking on the way to the top. Because of the waterfalls/small stream coming off the rocks, your shoes will inevitably get wet. I saw people in sneakers though I wouldn’t want to do it. Hike ended up being about 6 hours and we also stopped at the top for quite a bit. I think the weather really determines the capability of this hike. We had a perfect day and saw a ton of people who were probably in average shape that were doing just fine. If the weather wasn’t on our side, I can definitely see how it would get treacherous, with all the rocks on this route and on the way up to the summit. Just make sure you check the Mt. Washington weather site.

We summit on 7/9 starting at 2am and we were able to summit by 7am, beautiful view and beautiful sunrise and great group to do this hike with. This is my 2nd time I summited Mt Whitney. The first time I did it in 2004 and it’s as beautiful as I remember. 14 years later, I’m glad I can still do this hike.

Between the waterfalls and the ridge it was an easy to rate this 5 star...awesome. Be prepared for winter conditions during the spring months. Check out my write up along with some other things to look out for.

Heavily traveled, iconic photo spot. Parking can be difficult. If you want an easier option, hike up the trail and down the fire road. I have done this on sunset hikes.

Amazing hike! We went in mid July and wildflowers were in peak bloom. This hike has it all....wildflowers, Mountain View’s, and amazing alpine lakes. This hike is a must. I would recommend going early or going on a weekday to avoid crowds. Several great spots to camp of you wanted to turn it into an overnight trip. I would say this hike is moderate and not hard. Easy switchbacks the whole way up.

3 days ago

Starts out pretty steep but wide enough and not too hard to walk up. Once you get to the creek it’s a nice spot to stop and wet down your arms and neck to cool off in the summer. From that point on it is very mellow. Gets a little narrow in some spots with vegetation encroaching on the trail but for the most part the trees and foliage provide a nice amount of shade. I only made it about 5 miles in before turning around to catch the shuttle back. Several great canyon clearings and heading the roar of the cascades as you approach the louder sections is a great motivator.

I could imagine it being a pain to come back down the steep part if it is crowded with people coming up from the shuttle. As long as you track your progress and keep time it seemed nice to go out later in the day and catch one of the shuttles going back around 6pm (last one was at 7pm) but don’t cut it too close unless you’re prepared to hike a couple hours back to the visitor center without taking the boat.

Challenging and quite epic along the Franconia Ridge.

3 days ago

Took my wife and two boys (7+9) up the cascade canyon trail to the big waterfall- seemed like about 4 miles in one way. Took the Jenny lake ferry - $45 for 2 adults/2 kids, round trip. 10 min boat trip, every 15 min or so. Holds 40 people. You can skip the ferry, but 2.5 mi hike. Last ferry leaves 7pm. The hiking took about 5 hrs round trip, lots of breaks and lunch. Weather sunny, low 80’s. Mosquitoes in the shaded areas, but not bad. The first mile is tough uphill climb, but levels off after that. Used about 6 quarts of water/drink w 4 of us. The creek the trail follows is absolutely gorgeous! You can put your feet in it roughly halfway up the trail. Boys were very tired at the end. Jenny lake is beautiful against the mountains. There is a small boat ramp to the left of the main ramp, about 1/4 mike hike away where you can park also.

3 days ago

I’ve only hiked a portion of this trail but this forest needs to be seen to be believed. So much natural beauty. I hope to go back someday to see more.

Great Workout. Not an easy hike by any means, but the payoff with the views all along the ridgeline are amazing, and make it all worth it.

From the start of trail always climbing upwards till the top . Good exercise for a good night sleep !

fun trail, easy enough for kids too.

We got out by 7am to beat the crowd. Great hike but kinda did it in reverse taking the fire trail up and came back all the way on the AT. The view is worth the hike which I rate as moderate, not hard. Amazing view!

Drove 2 1/2 hours to hike this trail a few days ago at 8 months pregnant. It was challenging but so worth it. We had some rain on the way up, but it passed and the view of Ice Lake and the majestic blue water did not disappoint. My husband and I had lunch at the lake and did not want to leave! If you can make it to the top, the hike back down is significantly faster and easier. It’s a must do!

4 days ago

One of the most amazing places I have been!
Hiked this trail on 7/8. Directions took us up West Dallas Creek and we could not access because it was private property. Make sure to use Dallas Creek road and it is easy to get to from there! The first mile/mile and a half is steep, but the rest of the hike is moderate. Get there earlier because it can get hot hiking up to the lake and also serious thunderstorms roll in around 3pm. Saw some people with one bottle of water... its a moderate/hard hike so make sure you bring plenty of water.
The views are SO worth the hike. The third lake is difficult to get to b/c it is a climb, but it is more secluded and absolutely gorgeous. Sat there and watched people summiting Sneffels and climbing the pass. One of the most amazing places I have been!!

tuckerman up , lions head down. it seemed like tuckerman was steeper but I'd rather do that for both ways next time as it was a better trail overall.. 3 hours and 20 mins to get up. 2 hours 20 mins to get down. had some chilli from the cafe and snapped a few pics. saw some guy who needed first aid . the fatality board inside was interesting.

My favorite hike of all time! This trail is mentally and physically challenging in that you have to really think about where to place your feet in certain parts. Once the trail became more primitive it was harder to follow the trail. Look for cairns to help stay on the trail!

This hike was truly “as good as it gets”! As other reviewers said, the earlier the better. We got to the park before 7 but the trailhead was about a half hour drive in so we started about 7:30. Ideally, I’d recommend starting even earlier to beat the heat and avoid the crowds. Partition Arch was our favorite and we had it all to ourselves for like 20 minutes. We walked out via the primitive loop, cool views but not as much fun/excitement as the other half. Overall, we spent about 4 hours but by the end everyone was too hot/tired to hike to Pine Tree or Tunnel Arch.

A quintessential northeast hike. Amazing views. One of my favorite hikes I’ve ever done.

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