9 miles of hiking • 2000' elevation gain • 1 night

This turned out to be much more snowy than I expected. We hiked to Cast Lake from the south Burnt Lake trailhead up road 2701. That road sucks. Once we got on the trail, snow started in earnest and we ended up sleeping on about six inches. It was beautiful to see the forest just before it gets buried for the winter.


Mileage Mike
November 15, 2012

What's so bad about NF-27? I've been thinking about going up towards the Devil's Meadow Campground as it does give great access to Cast Lake and other trails, but I'm not so sure after your comment. Is the road just rough or are there dropoffs, etc... To my wife and I there is no worse road than that to Grassy Knoll. Is it similar to that? Also, I see that there is a TH on NF-27 that leads to West ZigZag Lookout. Is the road good at least up until that TH? Thanks!


Kyle Meyer
November 16, 2012

The road no longer goes all the way to the campground. In fact, that campground doesn't exist. You go roughly 3 miles up the road and there's a small parking lot that you walk from. That trailhead is now the end of the road.

The road is awful. Logs across the road, deep mud pits, at least one spot where there's a greater-than-curb-high rock step up on the road, among a myriad of potholes, bumps, and boulders. Significantly worse than the Grassy Knoll road.

For comparison, we took a Dodge Ram. It took us 45 minutes and there were a few spots that seemed like it could have damaged the truck significantly. It was an extremely rough ride. Fun, but definitely need a high clearance truck to make it all the way up.

Mileage Mike
November 16, 2012

Thanks for the specifics! We used to have a Suburban, that could have made it, but now we have a Subaru Forester, which seems too low based on your description? If this is worse than Grassy Knoll I don't think we'll attempt it, as we hate that road. Perhaps we could park a mile or two shy of the TH and walk up the remaining road? We may just hike up the road and scout out the possibilities? Thanks.

Kyle Meyer
November 17, 2012

The road gets bad as soon as the road switches back on itself and turns from pavement. From there, I reckon you could ease the Forester up a mile or two if you went very slowly, and moved wood in the road. Not sure if you'd be comfortable making it all the way up though. There are 20+ unavoidable big potholes and rock steps.

November 20, 2012

What Kyle said.

That road is much worse than one to Grassy Knoll or even Silver Star. Many boulders are big and have scratch marks from cars bottoming up on them. I attempted it on Outback and had to park 2 miles below the trailhead; I still couldn't believe I didn't bottom up there.

Mileage Mike
November 21, 2012

Thanks Kyle and Roman! You've both been very convincing and I think the best solution is to go with someone that doesn't mind destroying their vehicle. However, it does sound like I could drive up about 1 mile and park. When my wife (who does all the driving) reads this she will refuse to even try. She hates both the road to Grassy Knoll and Silver Star.