"This is a lovely trail to walk, for although it starts high, it climbs just slightly more than 1000 feet to reach the Cottonwood Lakes, an easy walk through forest and open meadows. The first miles of the trail are nearly flat, passing alternately through stands of lodgepole pine and foxtail pine. The former prefers the flatter, more sheltered terrain, while the foxtails thrive on the more exposed, sandy, dry slopes.
The trail continues through the forest, crosses the South Fork of Cottonwood Creek, and reaches an unsigned junction for the Golden Trout Camp before a large meadow. Shortly after the junction for the Golden Trout Camp, you enter John Muir Wilderness. The trail trends left, passes through another meadow, and begins a steeper climb to the Cottonwood Lakes basin."