13.2 miles
2,500 feet
Out & Back



nature trips







off trail

3 months ago

I hiked to Stag Lake and scrambled up Lakeview Mountain on a mid-August day. There were still enough mosquitoes around to make it risky to forego repellent. Sunscreen also comes in handy as sections of the hike (and the time near the top) will offer little protection to bare skin. Other than the last section (cross-country and scramble up to the summit), the trail is well maintained and easy to follow.

This particular route can be adapted to your skills, stamina and time available to discover the area: an out-and-back to Fawn lake (see "Fawn Lake Loop Trail"), and out-and-back to Stag lake ("Stag Lake Trail"), or maybe a loop to Fawn and returning via Pretty lake.

The the route starts at the Fawn Lake Trailhead, at a very large parking area (shared with boat trailers) near Simax Bay.
The first section, between the trailhead and Fawn lake, starts with a mostly flat mile across dry and dirty pinelands. A short distance from the 1 mile mark, the trail up to pretty lake branches off on the left. This is also where the trail starts ascending more noticeably (for another mile or so) while going through the shade of firs and hemlocks. At the 2 miles mark, the trail levels off for a while as it crosses another dry patch (more pines and exposure to the rays of the sun); past this point, it starts its climb to reach Fawn Lake at 3.5 miles. Fawn lake is obviously a good place for a break and picture opportunities. There are a good number of spots with good/easy access to the shore; this is also where you are likely to find campers. As you start the next leg of the journey (to Stag lake) there are more spots if you drop down a bit from the lake to the lakeshore.

The second section of the hike, from Fawn Lake to Stag Lake (less than 1.5 miles) ascends some more, following a bluff on the north side of Fawn lake (with some views). A mile after leaving Fawn Lake, you reach the turnoff to Stag lake (dropping down on the right) while the trail you have been following continues on to Saddle Lake and beyond.The last .5 miles are a shallow roller-coaster eventually raising to the shores of Stag Lake; you can briefly visit the lake before pushing on to the cross-country and scramble section that will require more efforts that you have expened so far. To get to the next section you will leave Stag Lake and retrace your steps to just below the southwest corner of the lake in a flat, dry (in summer) and open drainage.

The last section is entirely off trail and will require (1) some cross-country navigation skills (2) a first scramble up a steep slope to the ridge connecting Laveview Mth to the summit to the south (3) a final scramble from the ridge to the summit of Lakeview Mountain. A compass helps on the cross-country to the foot of the connecting ridge (250 bearing) but you can probably negotiate this section by looking at Lakeview's summit (keep it on your right) or the summit at the south end of the ridge (keep it on your left). This is a drainage area and you don't want to stray too far left or right of the gully at its bottom. On the way up, I ended up around the south half of the ridgeline and the slope was rocky and forested; on the way down I descended from the north half of the ridgeling and terraing was much more open, making it easier to map a route -- the can was the a loose and sandy talus which might be of the two-steps-up/one-step-down variety when going up.

Once on the ridge, Lakeview Mtn is in plain sight and the route is fairly obvious. There is some scree/loose rocks but, compared to the scramble up to the ridgeline, it seemed noticeable easier to negotiate. That last climb is also relatively short... and your destination (plus great views) is now within reach!
Note: I did not enjoy much of the views because of the (now too familiar) summer fires's haze.