Hike Difficulty: challenging
Hike Length: 14.36 mi loop
Elevation Gain: 2431 ft
Highest Point: 6171 ft
Time: 5 hrs 15 min
My Rating (out of 5): 5.0 – I returned to Shackleford Creek Trailhead to attempt to do the whole 14-mile loop. Last time, I only went to Campbell Lake and turned back. This time, I had a window of opportunity before rain clouds would come, so I left early enough to complete the loop before any bad weather hit.
Campbell Lake looked a bit different than the last time I was here because it had snowed and melted, filling it up to the brim.
Cliff Lake was about 400 feet elevation gain and .9 miles from Campbell. It was very beautiful when we arrived around 11 AM, with the sun shining on the snowy cliffs behind the lake. I could’ve done a shortened loop and taken the northern route back to my car, but I decided to head on to Summit Lake.
This one was a bitch to get to. It’s pretty late in the year, so the snow accumulated on the trail and made it hard to navigate. Of course, I didn’t bring my snowshoes because I didn’t want to lug them around to find I didn’t need them. I did see some bear tracks, which gave me a greater sense of urgency.
I did pretty well following the trail until I came to the north side of Summit Lake. I read my map wrong and turned right before the lake’s outlet instead of after it. As a result, it put me on this jagged rock formation covered in snow, running around trying to spot the trail. I eventually figured it out, crossed the outlet, and found the trail signs. Then I made my way down the 5.6 miles back to my car, stopping by Log Lake on the way.