Trail can get muddy around Middle Quartz Lake.
This trail starts at the shores of the beautiful Bowman Lake. From there, you travel east, cross Bowman Creek over a bridge and wrap around the foot of the lake with more intermittent views. This route describes a counter clockwise mode of travel, so you'll head first south before wrapping around to the north. Once on the lake's southernmost point, you begin to steadily climb up the northern slope of Cerulean Ridge. There aren't many views to speak of, but the forest is pleasant and the grade is steady.
After about two miles of traversing, the trail begins to switchback up and over the ridge. At the top of the ridge, you reach the junction of an old burn where you enter a younger stand of lodgepole pines. From there, you can get a slight glimpse of Middle Quartz Lake and Lower Quartz Lake. The trail descends through the trees giving you a bird's eye view of Middle Quartz Lake before entering an older stand of trees.
This older stand is a cooler forest and takes you to the shores of Quartz Lake and Quartz Lake Campground. This lake is beautiful and backdropped by Vulture Peak. Continuing on the trail, you pass a patrol cabin, then begin to work your way west towards Middle Quartz Lake. The trail goes up and down before crossing Quartz Creek at the head of Middle Quartz Lake. The trail traverses the lake with a few nice views of the lake.
Once past the lake, the trail travels through the forest and parallels Lower Quartz Lake with glimpses of the water through the trees, but no access until the foot of the lake where the Lower Quartz Campground sits. The trail for Quartz Creek joins the loop at the campground. From here, the trail crosses the creek and begins climbing in earnest over Quartz Ridge. This section of trail is incredibly steep almost the entire way up, where it crests, then steeply descends back to the trail you started on, then returns to the foot of Bowman Lake.
This trail can be done in either direction.
This content was created by Jake Bramante of Hike 734. Visit hike734.com
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Forest birds and flowers are plentiful. The highlight for birds are the loons that frequently nest in the lakes.