Pathfinder | 142 pts
This loop is surprisingly easy, even in winter. The Lambert Ridge trail flattens out for a good portion after an only moderate ascent at the beginning. The hike, however, would have been miserable without snow shoes. One of the people in our group of four wore crampons instead of snowshoes and was sinking into snow waist-deep almost every other step, which made for an exhausting climb. The trail is pretty nice, though the blazes seem to disappear for a while, but follow the small cairns and you'll stay on it... There is a really nice lookout point at the first rock cliffs, but I was pretty disappointed that the summit isn't above treeline. The fire tower, however, makes up for it. We had to knock a lot off ice off the steps to make the ascent, but it was worth the view at the top, and the glass windows provided for some nice protection from the weather and a good place to eat our lunch. We took the Ranger trail back down, and honestly, I didn't enjoy it. It was way too flat for about the last 2 miles, and it didn't really feel like a decent. I more enjoy running down the mountain in my snowshoes, and this was not the place to do it. If I were to do it again, I would have taken the Lambert Trail back down... I imagine that the Ranger trail is nicer in the spring, and with a dog, who would enjoy very much stopping along the brook for some water.