Commonly Backpacked · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views · Wildlife
Need to Know
Leave No Trace policies posted.
Horse traffic makes for rougher terrain. Easy to twist an ankle.
Going clockwise makes runners less likely to get lost in the northwest portion, where crossing creeks may cause unwary runners to lose the trail. There are a few nice wooden signs, but I would also rely on a map/compass or use the Trail Run Project mobile app
. There are plenty of offshoots which appear to be trails throughout its length, but not to worry, many of these are blocked by piles of timber and logs purposefully placed: there used to be more offshoots along here (you can even see a few on Google Maps) but they're closed as of writing this, 2018 Dec. 08.
About 4 miles of the trail parallels Tower Ridge Rd., so if you feel like trying to hitchhike back to the official Trailhead Parking Lot (for fun, or if you don't like running that close to roads - Tower Ridge is lightly trafficked, gravel), go counterclockwise - that way most of your trip is deep in the woods. This allows some planning too: if you don't want to do the full loop, it's easy to get picked up by a friend along here, but mind there's not much cellular signal, so as always, plan ahead.
The eastern half of the trail is mostly wide with gentle inclines and offers consistent views of the lake and deep ravines. All of the primitive campsites of this trail are on this half as well. Typically these sites are large flat spots with established fire rings. A few even have sitting rocks and log benches. The campsites are designated by clear signage. A few of them farther in would let you wake up to a decent view and allow the trail to be accomplished via backpacking (so you don't have to do the loop all in one day, though that's of course doable). In my opinion, several campsites are strategically placed to encourage exploration of other trails, as the sites are very close to where trails join. You could run around this wilderness for many days straight!
Flora & Fauna
There is an impressive tree in the northern portion with a hole big enough for a child to hide in.
Shared By: Erika V
by Jay Santiago