Lake · Swimming
Need to Know
$6 for a 3 day pass per vehicle up Mirror Lake Highway. I think $12 for 6 days and $48 for a year pass, but check those with the Ranger Station.
Upper Setting Rd (also called Forest Road 034) has somewhat recently been graded, and a Civic can make it to the trailhead easily, just have to go a little slower on the washboard gravel road. The trailhead parking seems to have been enlarged when they re-graded it, and has quite a bit of space.
There were mountain bike tracks for the first part of the trail, so if you are into that, it seems passable, though I'd probably not go much farther past East Shingle Creek Lake on a bicycle. Speaking of the lake, it is a great stopping point for a rest and a picnic.You can easily do that section of the trail with small children, and make East Shingle Creek Lake your destination.
It is nestled beautifully on three sides by a fairly tall incline covered in pine trees. If you want a longer run, you can start at the Shingle Creek Trailhead. It is just off the Mirror Lake Highway, and meets with Upper Setting Trail just a short distance before East Shingle Creek Lake.
Continuing, you climb up to a ridge to enter Erickson Basin, with some good photo spots looking both directions off the mellow saddle. Down the other side you come to the joining of Erickson Basin Trail and Big Elk Lake Trail. There is a sign, but currently there is a very large pine tree that has fallen in front of the sign, across the joining of the trails. There are downed trees across the trail all along the trail, all quite fresh. I assume from the large wind storm that hit a few weeks ago, to my knowledge, that storm caused a lot of damage from eastern Idaho to the Salt Lake Valley.
There is a nicely shaped rock on the south side of South Erickson Lake that is perfect for jumping off into the water, and it has a nice step shape to get back out. There is a spring on the north east side of North Erickson Lake, whose water tastes good. I had cell phone service scrambling in a southern direction, across a rock slide on the west side of the mountain overlooking South Erickson Lake. There is a great view from over there, as well, though no official trail to get there.
Continuing on Big Elk Lake Trail, you have to follow the cairns marking the trail, as it crosses a lot of large, flat rock beds. The cairns continue the two descents into Big Elk Lake, past three smaller lakes on a smaller ledge of sorts overlooking Big Elk Lake. At the top of the ledge between Erickson Basin and Big Elk Basin, you can look down and see all three small lakes, as well as most of Big Elk Lake.
Flora & Fauna
Lots of Pine trees and smaller brush and grass. Some thorn bushes, but only a couple along the edge of the trail, but avoidable enough.
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