DISTANCE
15.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
984 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

camping

fishing

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

lake

river

views

wildlife

trail running
9 days ago

The Alltrails map has some incorrections. First of all, if you stick to the trails that hug the lake, that includes the PCT part, you’ll be doing about 13 miles. Be prepared to go through some campsites, bicycles, and horses on the southern side of the lake. Since I’m a trail runner, I got a lot of strange looks.
Now here’s where it gets tricky. If you are using the red outlined map Alltrails provides, the “old trail 539” has been accommodated for off-road bicycles and isn’t marked as the “old trail” when you’re at the junction. Plus, it added 5 miles to my run, which brought the total to more like 18 instead of the 15 miles that Alltrails has it at. Fortunately, I didn’t see any bicyclists on the old trail, but that may be different on the weekends. It looked like a place for competitive off-road bicycling. It might be smart to check if there’s an event before you take the hike.
A nicer hike would be to start at the Little Crater Lake trailhead, take the “bike” old trail and circle back to the trailhead using the PCT side of the lake. This way you avoid all the campers and day users. Again, make sure there’s no bicycling event.