“A steep climb to Snowslide Summit and then a gentle downhill to the Lake Fork Trailhead.”
— Keith Lannom
Features: Fall Colors — Lake — Views
It's a steep climb to Snowslide Lake and the summit, but it worth the effort, and the rest of the trail is all downhill to Lake Fork.
Start at the Snowslide Trailhead (Forest Service Trail #104) on Lick Creek Road, there is a small parking area at the trailhead. Step across the creek, and the climbing starts about a 1/10 of mile after trailhead. It gets steep quickly, but don't turn around, the views are worth the effort. Watch your footing in the steep sections; there are some loose gravel/rock spots in the first mile.
At 1.5 miles, Snowslide Lake will come into view. There are a couple of dispersed campsites beside the lake. The trail starts to pull away from the lake after the campsites. The half mile to the summit is steep. Again, watch your footing as you get near the summit. There are some great views from the summit (8,141') and you can scramble to Sawtooth Peak (8,875') or Snowslide Peak (8,522') from here.
The trail off the backside of the summit is not obvious, but with your back to the trail you just came up, go off the backside to the right, look for a tree with a trail sign for Maki Lake. At the sign, you can go right to Maki Lake (Trail #135) or left to continue on the loop to Lake Fork (the Maki Lake Trail eventually connects up with the East Fork Lake Fork Trail. The rest of this description is for the East Fork Lake Fork Trail #104.
After half a mile, the grade eases off and it becomes a nice gentle, well-established downhill trail. You'll pass through a large avalanche debris field. McCall Smokejumpers cut out the debris in 2014 to re-establish the trail. The trail passes through several meadows and stands of timber and eventually runs alongside the East Fork of Lake Fork creek. You'll cross the creek a few times, but you can keep your feet dry by rock hopping.
As you closer you get to the Lake Fork Trailhead, you may see mountain bikers or hunters (if it is fall). The huckleberry picking on this trail has been great the past couple of years; most of the pickers stay within a mile of the Lake Fork Trailhead. At approximately 10.1 miles, you'll come to a trail junction (it's well signed). Continue straight to the Lake Fork Trailhead, 1.7 miles ahead (Trail #339). A left turn puts you on the trail to Anderson Lake (#103).
Flora & Fauna