“A good singletrack to pretty Smith Lake connecting Gray Eagle Creek Trail to the Mt. Elwell Trail.”
— Joel Wilson
This trail will be described from the trailhead near Gray Eagle Lodge on the east end of the trail. From here, take the singletrack climbing out of the west side of the parking lot. It will head north up the west side of the valley. This trail has been rebuilt in recent years and is a nice climb.
At the top of the climb, the trail turns west and soon crosses Smith Creek. Stay left at the first intersection to continue to Smith Lake. Right will eventually take you steeply down along Smith Creek. Shortly after is the intersection for the trail up Mt. Elwell. Keep right, and it's a quick run to Smith Lake. This is a pretty lake with some nice places on the shoreline to relax and take it all in.
The trail makes its way around the north side of Smith Lake. After leaving the lake, it descends steeply toward Johnson Creek. Be careful on this section as it has some fairly large steps and rock drops. At the bottom, you'll come to a T-intersection, which is the end of this trail.
Going left up the trail will take you to Grass Lake (a different Grass Lake than the one on the Grass Lake Trail
at the east side of the Lakes Basin area), Rock Lake, and Jamison Lake. Going right will take you down to a road that goes to Johnsville. This is a historic mining site and has a nice campground nearby. There are no services in Johnsville, but there is a visitor center for the historic park. Services can be found by continuing down the road to Graeagle.