hiking

lake

forest

views

river

dog friendly

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nature trips

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fly fishing

camping

horseback riding

wildlife

wild flowers

trail running

Amazing place. But instead of out and back, consider doing a loop hike, traveling in though Shadow Lake and over Texas Pass sand out via Big Sandy Lake. While climbing Texas Pass is no picnic, we thought it was considerably easier than climbing Jackass Pass from Big Sandy.

An absolutely spectacular hike. The views are incredible.

hiking
19 days ago

backpacking
20 days ago

Did an overnight out and back hike to Cirque of the Towers in August. The views and the hike was amazing, but also very strenuous. The trail is pretty level to Big Sandy Lake, but then rapidly climbs in elevation from there. It should be known though that once you pass Big Sandy, the trail can be very difficult to follow at times as it gets rockier. Some kind souls have set up rock cairns to mark a route, we tried to follow these but still managed to get off track a few times.
On the way to the Cirque we kept to the right of Arrowhead Lake and encountered a snow field. We crossed without harm, but I won't be doing it again unless I have proper equipment. On the way out however, the snowfield had frozen over and was much more slick than the previous day so we talked to some people who had went the opposite way around Arrowhead lake which involved a whole lot of scrambling over large boulders. We decided this would be the safer way and descended down to there. There is not trail so you have to navigate your own way over the large boulders, this was very time consuming.

Although the trail was very hard and demanding, it really required you to think and was quite a challenge, which I love. As I'm sure you have already heard, the mosquitos are terrible, bring a lot of bug spray and wear it even if your clothes cover your skin, as they bite through them. Get started early enough to give yourself enough time to explore your camp, next time I will be making this a 3 day trip because I would have liked to have spent more time doing so.
Truly breathtaking views and an amazing experience that made all of the challenges worth it!

backpacking
26 days ago

camping
27 days ago

So many good views. The trail is easy to follow and not obscured. Moderate and gentle inclines/declines. You pass a good amount of water so if you can treat it, you don't need to pack it in. Plenty of places for camping.

1 month ago

Bugs were light, trail was continuously scenic, weather was great.

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

backpacking
1 month ago

Amazing 3 day backpack loop in late July with overnight stops at Shadow Lake and Big Sandy Lake. Can't say enough about it - highly recommend! Plenty of snow, water crossings, and misquitos but nothing compared to the fantastic trails, views, waterfalls, lakes, mountains, peaks, wild flowers and adventure. We took yaktrax for snow, but didnt need them - hiking poles were enough for us. Took the wrong path around Arrowhead Lake - don't recommend the boulder side unless you enjoy that experience with backpacks :-(. Breathe it in and enjoy!

Did a 3 day loop July 28-30 from the Big Sandy Trailhead to Shadow Lake over Texas Pass into the Cirque then out over Jackass Pass back to the car. Even late in July, snow made the passes pretty intense and the mosquitoes were bad. We agreed that doing the loop in reverse (Big Sandy up Jackass Pass) would have been much, much harder. I'd rather go up, than down, a very steep, snowy pass (Texas Pass). And, there was a pretty tough part going down Jackass pass to Big Sandy Lake that I was glad I was going down rather than up. The area is popular for a reason, but we found plenty of peace and quiet despite the many people we met on the trail. Overall, this was the most stunning and amazing hike and I loved it.

Oh, also there is a sign posted at the trail head that there are habituated black bears near many of the lakes where camping is popular (e.g., Marm's, Shadow, Cirque, etc.) It says that bears can cut down the ropes of bags hanging from trees, so bear cans are highly recommended. What were we to do? We were already 2 hours into the sticks so we were stuck with our bear bag. It all worked out, but we wish we had known in advance.

We hiked about 8 or 9 miles in and we camped beside Square Top Mountain. the views were incredible! the mosquitos were horrible, and resistant to every kind of bug spray! If I hike this again, I will pack a few citronella candles, they would be worth the added weight. The beginning of the trail is tricky to locate, we thought it followed the lake edge at the beginning, there is a trail there, but it quickly turns into mountaineering on a briar covered cliff face. When you get to the lakes edge, before the woods starts and a small creek is flowing downhill, look up to the right. The trail is a hundred or so yards uphill and where it enters the woods. On our way out, we stopped a couple groups from repeating our mistake.