Explore the most popular dogs on leash trails near Index with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
1 day ago

Beautiful views but we had to walk a mile or so to access the beginning of the trail since it was closed for repairs

Great hike! very challenging as its switchbacks almost the whole way up. We reapplied bug spray 6 times, they are vicious. we had our dogs on leash the whole way up and on the way back down we let them off due to the rocky scramble. We ran into a park ranger on the way down and she told us that it was not required to have the dogs on leash, which was comforting and I wish I would have known sooner. I tracked the hike on my phone, it was a total of 12 miles round trip from car to the lake and back. Be prepared!

1. Tracked this hike and it's a total of 17 miles from car to lake and back to car. You hike 2.5 miles from your car to the actual trailhead.
2. Left at @10:30am, Lake @1:30pm, hung out for an hour, then got back to our car @6:30pm
3. Absolutely the most hardest hike I've ever done, but stunning and rewarding.
4. Bring a suit! You've got to jump in the lake, it's definitely worth it.
5. (tip) Some parts of snow, but dig toe down as you cross, at least that's what I did
6. (tip) The descent is hard on your feet!
7. Bug spray is a must. They're super aggressive out there.

beautiful trail with wonderful views. the switch backs were gradual which was nice but still steep and long even when coming back from the lake. Bring a minimum of 2L of water!! Made this mistake and ended up eating snow on the way back. the section in snow was completley manageable in runners.

Love this hike but FYI, it’s closed till August 31st.

hiking
8 days ago

One of the best lake views and difficult trail but worth it!

kinda hard but so worth it!

hiking
9 days ago

Beautiful, well-maintained trail. I think it’s on the moderate side of easy since you have to do a fair bit of climbing, but just enough to get some sweat going. The view at the top is lovely!

hiking
11 days ago

Easy [for me] hike. 2 miles from the car to the trailhead, then another 4.35 to the lake. Tons of switchbacks to get to the top. Up top, you’ll lose the trail b/c of the snow coverage if you’re unfamiliar of where to go - I recommend downloading a map for offline use. Look for NPS pink/red tape for direction marking. Skip stopping at Virgin Lake, walk around the edge and find the trail down to Blanca. Expect semi-steep descent, no scrambling. Bring plenty of water - can refill at the lake if need be. The falls off to the side provide fresh water that will suffice. Great photo shots from the first set of rocks you’ll see from up top. Trail to the bottom is over to the left.

Side note - you’ll need a park pass for your car. No worries if you don’t have one - if you happen to get ticketed (like we did) it’s only a $5 fine (the cost of the pass)

hiking
11 days ago

Well first off, you don’t start off from the trail head. You have to park outside of the entry gate that takes you up to the trail head - road is washed out, yet is accessible for hiking up to trail head/parking lot. It adds about another 2 miles to the already 6.3 mile hike(round trip). We saw some vehicles halfway up- were locked inside; since gate was closed. Don’t know how long they were there for. The hike was tough like others mentioned. We went up 7/2/18, still lots of snow, trekking poles helped. Only made it to Virgin Lake, which was a short distance from Blanca Lake....was getting late; both where still frozen. Trail has ribbon makers to help guide, once you get to the snow parts- at least I believe that’s what they were there for. Helps to have a good GPS app on phone. Foot prints in snow helped too, from others. Come mid/late August, I believe snow should melt - it was a colder winter....don’t know how long it will stick around. Over all, the hike was hard, lots of switchbacks and roots on trail heading up. If you like a challenge, go for it!

Beautiful we lost the trail lots of snow

hiking
21 days ago

This was a lovely hike through a winding 800 foot ascent. There was logging in the forest at the turn of the century so you see the remnants of the large stumps throughout and even some wire-ropes. We met the founder of the trail on our way up who raised support for the trail since 2008, to get the trail ready over those years. So it has been functional for two years, he said.
At the top, the service road is a few steps from the end of the hike (power lines right there).
Beautiful view of the falls across the way and looking out at the whole horizon of hills. Beautiful!
Several of the photos posted here are from Heybrook Lookout (not this 'ridge' hike) - this does not have a lookout tower with stairs.

22 days ago

very nice and easy!

on Heybrook Ridge

23 days ago

Easy hike, well maintained trail. Power lines on the top next to view point.

beautiful views once you reach the top. Not the most well marked trail as you get near the top. You have to look for little pink tags hanging on branches to find the way at places. great view though

hiking
1 month ago

The view is amazing!

Super duper hard hike!!! Haha... Make sure you spray some bug spray or bring fly zapper. I almost got eaten alive from the flies. Great view at the end!

Breathtaking view

Well maintained and easy to get too. I will say I personally would rate this moderate (keeping in mind I’m 125 pounds and was carrying my toddler in a pack which added about 40 ponds extra). With that and the way up being 90% incline I got an intense workout. Beautiful views!

Well maintained trail. Low crowds.

1 month ago

you'll probably need snowshoes after 3500 ft. saw some people that didnt have it but it would help a lot. i made it to peak elevation and tried to go down towards the lake but the descent was way too steep and there was still too much snow so i had to turn back with .3 miles left. the lake probably wont be accessible until mid to late july and yes for now u have to park 2 miles away from the th making this 10-11 miles in total. id say this is more difficult than mailbox

hiking
1 month ago

A great hike with a well-established trail. Please note that the trailhead is NOT on Hwy 2, as previously noted by Shannon Barban. It is on the Index-Galena Rd, right next to the only bridge that leads in to the town of Index. If you use the GPS coordinates to navigate, you will easily find the trailhead.

While you are on the trail, you will come upon a service road. Keep going straight! This will ensure you stay on the trail and get to the top.

The view is worth the effort!!

This is a good short hike. Good for families on a simple outing wanting to get some nice pictures.

hiking
2 months ago

Didn’t know how hard this was or how far when I looked it up it ended up being like 10-11 miles because we had to walk to the trail head which was 4 miles I think but it ended up being so worth it at the end.

It was nice didn’t make it all the way to the top because of the snow did reach about 2500 feet, still fun doe, I recommend to go in like June, my buddy and I had to walk 4 miles to the trailhead, with camping gear and firewood!

Short but steep hike to the top of the wall. Great views at the top. Several diamond markers and pink ribbons on the upper section of the trail to guide you in the right direction. As mentioned by others, from the parking lot cross over the railroad tracks and head right. Then at the big red sign head left towards the base of the rock wall.

hiking
2 months ago

Be Advised: Right now if you want to get to the lake you have to park at least a few miles out from the trailhead and you defiantly need snow shoes. I would give it another month or two before another attempt.

hiking
2 months ago

Fun hike and great for kids! Brought my older dogs and they did fine. Gradual incline and the view at the end was amazing! Good payoff for an easy hike!

hiking
2 months ago

Punishing trail but very rewarding

hiking
2 months ago

Fairly easy hike with a great payoff. Bring some lunch and soak up views of Index and Barring.

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