100 Hikes in the Inland Northwest
by Rich Landers & Spokane Mountaineers (The Mountaineers Books)
© Rich Landers & Spokane Mountaineers/The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.
This hike starts out fairly easy for the first 3.5 miles. You reach a waterfall and abandoned mine which is really fun to explore. Here you have an excellent photo opportunity!! From the waterfall the trail begins to gain rapid elevation for the remainder 1.5 miles up to the lake. After you reach the lake you can jump in, explore some mountain peaks, or just pick huckleberries. This hike is great for a day hike or can be a fun overnight campout hike.
I did a delightful overnight trip to Rock Lake.
There is a proposal currently to mine for gold beneath the protected wilderness area. It was good to see first hand the beautiful landscape inspiring such hearty debate of subterrainian mineral rights and wilderness areas.
The hike was not difficult, but inspired a sweaty brow during a section of hearty switchbacks late in the hike. Much of the trail is an old road, so it was gradual and wide enough to walk next to my friend. The bottom part of the trail is dense cedar forest. It was relatively cool in 90+ degree weather.
About two-thirds of the way through the five-mile stroll, we started to gain significant elevation. The trail provides excellent views of lovely alpine basins and a meandering stream. A variety of ripe and delicious berries, including huckleberries and marion berries, forced us to walk slowly.
As we came close to the top of the switch backs, we encountered hikers that saw an adolecent griz at Rock Lake. We made noise through the tall berries and did not see the bear, although we certainly encountered ample sign.
We found an occupied campsite as soon as we reached the lake after walking right where the trail split. We retraced our steps and walked around the southern (?) shore, and found another already impacted sight about half way around the lake in thick trees.
This is a great hike for folks looking for a relatively leisurely overnight trip or a decent day hike. Rock Lake also makes a great base camp to explore the surrounding peaks.
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