(Almost) Paradise Lake

The rainy season has started, which means that the mountains are getting packed with snow and hiking opportunities are growing thinner by the day. I chose a Marble Mountains hike that is accessible through mid-November in hopes that it wasn’t too late in the season for a mountain lake hike. Starting my day off as early as possible, I found that the whole area of Northern California was such a foggy mess that I couldn’t tell how much snow I could expect until I got closer to the trailhead.


The view of Kings Castle from the trailhead — didn’t bode well for the amount of snow I was about to encounter


Foggy beauty at the trailhead

Since there was so much snow off in the distance but not much in the foreground, I reassured myself that I wouldn’t deal with a lot of it, at least not until later in the hike. The first mile or so was pretty snowless, but sure enough, it soon got to be a constant presence. I was wearing some new ultralight hiking boots, so it concerned me that I would be slipping around on frozen feet. Luckily, the boots did their job better than I anticipated.


Happy to have free hands thanks to my awesome camera holster


In my new Xero DayLite Hikers — surprisingly good at snowy and icy conditions. And no, I was not paid for this advertisement 🙂


The “trail” (in the middle of the picture) was easy to track for the most part

As usual, I was following my progress on my phone and inching closer and closer towards Paradise Lake as the snowpiles grew. There were spots where it got up to knee high, but Grace and I kept trudging along. Before long, Kings Castle came into view again, this time much closer.


Kings Castle — just about .15 miles from the lake


Though I tend to have quite a bit of patience when it comes to climbing through deep snow, about .15 miles from the lake, it got precarious enough for me and the dog that I had to turn back. I knew that I was just around the corner from the lake, so it caused major hiking blue balls to not finish that last bit; mountain lakes are often most breathtaking in the wintertime and I know that I missed out on a big payoff. I’ll have to revisit this area in the spring when there is a little less snow.


Grace loves snow, but she’d had enough



On the drive back down

If you’re interested, here’s the map and stats for this hike:

Screen Shot 2017-11-11 at 7.43.13 PM

It hurts how close I was and how everything else was downhill to the lake. 3.93 miles roundtrip and 1310 elevation gain in 1 hr 47 mins.


One thought on “(Almost) Paradise Lake

  1. I’m impressed you were able to get up that narrow gravel road to the Paradise Lake trailhead. I guess the snow line started pretty abruptly above the end of the road. I got to see that lake for the first time this summer – nice – but it would have been even better with snow. I’m sure you’ll give it another try!


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