North Halfmoon Lakes Trail 1485 Professional Review and Guide
"This rather obscure trail leads to a pair of alpine lakes below the west face of Mount Massive. This is the most remote corner of the Mount Massive Wilderness and receives less visitation than the eastern slope of the range. For climbers, a challenging scramble route leads from this basin up to a saddle just south of this peak, from which the Mount Massive Trail continues to the summit. The trek to the lakes can readily be accomplished in a single day.The hike begins on an old jeep road that follows Halfmoon Creek through spruce-filled bottoms and across pine-clad slopes. The gentle climb is punctuated by views up the Halfmoon Creek drainage and features boulder-choked cascades as the path approaches North Halfmoon Creek. The old track runs north along this latter valley, petering out shortly after passing the debris of an old mining camp."
--Erik Molvar, Hiking Colorado's Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness (Falcon Guides).
I hiked this trail on Saturday 8/12/17. Outstanding hike for the short distance, with varied terrain, minimal crowds and two very nice alpine lakes. Parked at the official Mt. Massive TH and hiked the 2+ miles to the North Halfmoon TH. Nice forest trail until close to the junction of North Halfmoon and Mt. Massive SW trails. From there, trail moves through forest and meadows. While the avalanche debris from winter '17 has been cleaned up (Thanks USFS & volunteers!), the trail is difficult to follow at times and there is a social trail towards Mt. Oklahoma that one can easily take unintentionally if not paying close attention.
There is also some confusion after breaking treeline and getting close to the lakes. The main travel travels Northeast of the lakes and the lakes are well-hidden. To reach the lower lake most efficiently, look for the small cairns at left of the trail near where the creek is very wide and shallow. Taking that social trail brings you directly West to the lower lake. There is no distinct trail to the upper lake, though I was able to bushwack up a steep slope to a sizable rock prominence above the upper lake. From here, the view of both lakes was stellar. I would recommend bringing a topo map (caltopo.com images on my phone worked great) if you are interested in seeing both lakes.
Great short trail get's you up to 12000 ft pretty quickly. A couple short rocky steep areas are challenging. The trail to get to the lower lake is almost impossible spot: When you come up into the high bowl which is criss-crossed with streams dense bushes and grassy areas look for a cairn that seems to lead to the left into solid stream-side brush, about .2 miles before you start climbing up the creekbed/waterfall. You can't actually see the lake until you hike most of the way up through the streambed. Camping by the lake is nice - but there isn't a lot in the way of firewood around there. There are some very nice campsites a little ways back down the trail into the forest.
Hiked to these lakes with some friends from Atlanta. Was a perfectly sunny 'colorado blue-sky' day. The views are specatular. I did the hike in my Chacos pretty easily. There were a lot of fish in the lakes, and a couple anglers fishing. One of the best dayhikes I remember.
This guidebook looks like it was published in '01. I hiked this in '03 and '05. This trail has been rebuilt since the book was published and since I hiked it the first time. It follows the same general route, but more switchbacks have been installed, making it a little less of a scramble.
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