Hiked on 3/17-3/18 with the goal of overnighting at Rock Lake. We made it about 2 miles in until the trail was literally submerged in a snowmelt pond. Snow covered the rest of the trail from 5800' and above, so we decided to camp on the far side of the snowmelt pond along the canyon's edge overlooking Ophir Creek. An absolutely gorgeous hike with spectacular views, even if the majority of the trail is still inaccessible due to the snow.
To start, we hiked this trail on accident. We meant to hike Ophir Creek Trail to Upper Price Lake. (Moderate) somehow in a excited haze hiking frenzy we ended up on the opposite approach, which is Ophir/Davis Creek Trail (Hard). We were in no condition to hit a hard trail, but we got it done.
The trail was solid (except the first 1/4 mile which is trail wide deep sand). To go along with our inadequate readiness for the trail we were unpleasantly surprised with immediately steep incline. Clear stable trails switched back and forth until we hit Ophir Creek itself. It was fairly easy to cross in early May with little threat of getting wet above your ankle should you fall.
The trail transitioned from, "huh this is steeper than we thought" to "What have we got ourselves into", about halfway out you hit a series of three +20%incline scrambling chutes without any viable detour. We were further tested beyond our readiness.
We packed enough water (3-4L) for what was supposed to be a warm up hike to a crystal clear mountain lake where we could filter and refill. At the turnoff for a .5mile downgrade to Rock Lake we were getting close to empty and we were sweating on the level of "we wasn’t ready".
We decided to descend.
It was late summer (Sept) and a trail review on another site was singing its praises. Rock "Lake" was reported with water in it a week before along with a well-developed camp site. Plans of descending and setting up camp were developing. Uh...no.
Spirits were not high…
We climbed back up to the trail, which, surprise, surprise was going….up…still.
The last portion of the trail was without any significant events other than our embarrassingly frequent stops to gulp low oxygen air and slog on and at the false summit you are greeted with a sandy softer incline into a sandy bowl bordered with interesting and somewhat cinematic rock outcroppings and some skyline views.
The final mile is actually moderately inclined (10-15%) fire trail that terminates at Upper Price Lake, which after a day of pain was a very welcome respite and made what was a pain-fest into a rewarding experience. The last 200 yards required some awkward scrambling through rough brush to avoid the 1-2ft deep 20ft wide creek head. (the creek bed was soft clean sand and you could take your shoes off and walk it, but we didn’t know that when we got there.
We spent the night comfortably under a giant pine attempting to catch fish and started late the next morning.
The way back down was knocked out in 2.5 hours and was a cool morning decent of ease and speed. Tie your shoes well to avoid blisters on the balls of your feet.
I would definitely recommend approach shoes if you got ‘em. I wore Asolo Fugitive GTXs and I should have worn my Arc’teryx Acrux2 FL’s.
Great trail. Was nice to hike along a clear path and camp on a bed of pine needles. Multiple sites for camping along the trail. No permit required other than a fire permit. Hiked to Rock Lake but didn't find anywhere to set up camp, but it was worth a look.
Jeff D. on Ophir / Davis Creek Trail
Hiked to Rock Lake...pleasantly surprised at the water as I read one review that it was dry. Raced the weather down. Ophir Creek crossing a little wet!
dennis k. on Ophir / Davis Creek Trail
These reviews all stated going to rock lake which is all huge boulders. If you continue north west you will get to Price lake at the bottom of the slide on slide mountain. This is a beautiful lake with a rocks in hog wire dam on the outlet. The dam was placed there after the last land slide occurred.
Hiked into Rock Lake from the Davis Creek Park trailhead. The first 3/4 mile climbs up Davis Creek to a little pass over to Ophir Creek. After another 3/4 of a mile and just before the boulder field at the Ophir Creek Crossing, the trail forks. The fork to the left is the Ophir Creek Trail. (I think the right hand fork goes to an old trail to Rock Lake.) After crossing Ophir Creek, the trail heads back downstream, but then goes around a ridge and starts heading upstream again. There is an Ophir Creek trail sign where a private road meets the trail. The trail follows some rock trenches at three different spots; watch your step. The Rock Creek Trail junction is 3.3 miles in (1.7 from the crossing.) It's about a half mile in to the little basin where the lake is situated.
A bit of an update...Rick Hackman, Bill Vance and I followed the above mentioned right hand fork at the crossing. It is the old trail to Rock Lake; steep and a bit hard to follow in places, but it gets you there (3/25/14.)