“A stunning section of the Lakes Trail leading past a colossal granitic pinnacle overlooking a valley
— Charlotte Reed
River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers
This route is generally closed in winter months due to ice and snow along the trail and its sheer cliffs.
From the Watchtower/Hump trail junction, continue ascending on this northern branch, following along the Watchtower Trail through the shady forest as it crosses a few seasonal creeks. Look for bright green corn lilies and abundant wildflowers along these creek beds in the early to mid summer. The trail then steepens and switchbacks a couple of times before reaching the Watchtower, a massive granite rock formation with sheer cliffs that overlooks the Tokopah Valley below. This is a rewarding spot to stop for a snack and enjoy the view.
Continue up the trail as it becomes increasingly rocky where it has been blasted out of the granite cliffs. The trail then descends to the other end of the Watchtower/Hump Trail
junction. Continue along the Lakes Trail
to reach Heather, Emerald, Aster, and Pear lakes.
Flora & Fauna
Look for corn lilies, ranger's buttons and columbine along lush creek beds in the early to mid summer. Bears are sometimes seen along the more forested sections of the trail, while marmots can often be spotted along the rockier portions.