Features: Birding — Fall Colors — Lake — River/Creek — Views — Wildflowers — Wildlife
Dogs: No Dogs
Copious amounts of downfall, overgrown trails, and erosion make for a challenging run.
Finding the trailhead is difficult as it's not labeled from the road. Take the Inside North Fork Road to north of Dutch Creek. At the sharp bend in the road to the left, a faint trail can be found. Once on the trail for about 20 feet, you'll encounter a sign about entering bear country letting you know you're on the right trail. This trail is infrequently maintained, so much downfall and washed away trail are found and some route finding may be necessary.
The trail starts through burned forest where it cruises on a fairly level trail gradually gaining about 1,000 feet in 7 miles. After a bit of downfall and burned trees, the trail begins to alternate back and forth between burned and unburned forest. It crosses some smaller feeder creeks, then you reach a section where Dutch Creek has commandeered the trail making for a rutted out mess to find the trail and a way around it.
From here, the trail begins to gain elevation in earnest switching back and forth up through some cliffs until you reach the basin where the trail levels out. From here, the running is pleasant through a wonderful alpine section.
The lake is reached at the head of the basin. Here, it is nestled at the base of Longfellow Peak at the head and flanked by Dutch and Camas ridges. This is one of those places that truly feels wild as you know that only a small subset of people explore this area.
This content was created by Jake Bramante of Hike 734. Visit hike734.com
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In the burned sections, expect to see geraniums and fireweed in season while the forest will have beargrass and arnica. In the upper alpine section, expect more beargrass and large amounts of thimbleberry, alder and subalpine fir. A variety of fauna may be found here from deer to bear.