by Bill Schneider & Russ Schneider (Falcon Guides)
© Bill Schneider & Russ Schneider/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.
We did a backpacking trip in for a couple days. There are plenty of nice camp sites by Hollow Top Lake and a couple near Deep Lake. Take bug spray. There is a lot of fish in these lakes. We did not take the loop back and chose to go back down the same trail. Though the pine beetles are definitely taking hold of the area, it is still a very beautiful are with lots of wild flowers, scenic views and gorgeous lakes.
On your way up to the lake there is an unmarked fork in the tail just after you go up a couple switchbacks after crossing the creek. If you look there are arrows carved into a couple of the trees telling you to go left. At this unmarked fork you want to take a left and follow the arrows. If you get to this fork and think you are at the next trail junction (301 and 365--this junction is marked with a sign) and go right you will wind up at a camp site on top of a meadow. You can either walk back to the fork and take the other fork or walk about half way down the meadow and you will run into the correct trail.
Note that the guide’s directions are accurate but his map is not always accurate. The map shows the trail on the wrong side of the creek in some areas and shows Mt. Jefferson and Hollow Top Peak in the wrong locations. Both mistakes are verifiable by any other map including the topo map on this site. His written guide is pretty accurate though. He describes you crossing the creek (though it does not show it on the map) and he describes the Peaks in the right location (his map has them switched around).
Though ATVs and motorcycles are allowed on portions of this trail I saw none on this trip and did not see much sign of ATV/motorcycle use.
Great trail, is pretty moderate and the lake is a very worthwhile destination.
Getting to the lake via the directions from the guide was cake - and there were not as many ATV's as you would think- in fact, on a Saturday we saw none.
However, taking the loop back to get on the southern flank of the drainage (Via trail 320) is not as easy as you'd think to spot. Trail 320 is NOT marked so, be sure to reference your topo map when it departs trail 333. Trust me, it is not obvious.
Also, bring your bug spray - horse flies and mosquitos were terrible this year!
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