DISTANCE
29.3 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
4,304 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dog friendly

backpacking

camping

fishing

hiking

forest

lake

river

views

wildlife

backpacking
1 month ago

Fantastic 3-day trip in the Winds! Rather than taking the little jaunt north to Cook Lakes as seen in the AllTrails map, I highly recommend summitting Mount Lester. We camped at Little Seneca Lake on night 1 after hiking from the popular Elkhart TH. Day two we hiked just past Pole Creek Lakes on this loop, and we climbed Mount Lester (12,324 ft) as we came across Lester Pass on the Highline Trail. A fun moderate climb to the top, ascending from the Southwest. A few scrambles, but nothing crazy. Then we hiked back out from Pole Creek Lakes on day three. Beware a couple stream crossing that required wading (never more than knee deep), and the area is quite buggy, so bring spray. Encountered one black bear at camp while sleeping, but no issues other than rolling our bear canister around a bit before moving on. The second half of this loop was pretty lightly trafficked, while Elkhart is quite busy. All in all, a fantastic three day backpacking trip.