by Bill Schneider & Russ Schneider (Falcon Guides)
© Bill Schneider & Russ Schneider/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.
Do it as a loop backpack - as a day hike it's long and rugged and doesn't leave time for scenic wonders once you've reached the Sapphire Lake plateau. Light traffic once you climb above Upper Holland Lake. Splendid views of Carmine and Little Carmine Peaks and countless others, an idyllic lake where the only other angler was a merganser, plenty of deer. Great day hikes from Sapphire. On the way out, the view across to the Missions across the valley are worth the jarring set of switchback descents (32 according to an outfitter, it seemed like at least 100). Well, almost. See my review of the Upper Holland Lake Loop.
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