39.5 miles of hiking • 9750' elevation gain • 4 nights
Fun tour of the Elkhorns, traveling most of the crest trail, with some side trips up the local peaks. We started from Pine Creek road for an easy car shuttle from Anthony Lakes.
Walked the four miles from end of pavement up the road to Pine Creek Reservoir where we spent the night. We had the place to ourselves( + the resident goats).
There is no trail from the Pine Creek Basin to the crest trail, but the cross country travel was delightful. After gaining the crest we dropped our packs and climbed up to Rock Creek Butte( no trail but easy walk up). We then backtracked south on the crest trail to the gorgeous Twin Lakes to camp on night two.
There were a few other human groups at Twin Lakes, and hundreds of goats who have become habituated to people visiting in the summer. It was enjoyable to watch them graze the hillsides, but not so fun shooing them away from camp.
Our third day involved a 13 mile hike along the crest trail and we turned off to camp at Summit Lake a mile to the east. Wow, that place is just gorgeous! Much bigger than we expected, and set in a dramatic bowl surrounded by granite peaks. It truly rivals Colchuck in beauty. There were several other parties at the lake, but we found an excellent lakeside campsite.
Day four was the funnest because we were in the granite territory and we scrambled up Mt Ruth (easy fun) and Mt Angell (dicey!). Spent last night camped along the Crawfish Basin trail.
Notes: 1) The northern half of the crest trail still has a lot of snow covering the tread. It was soft enough to travel on top of, but I wouldn't recommend trail runners. 2) Mosquitoes not too bad, appeared in the evening around the lakes, but we all had some tick visitors on this trip.