Thursday, May 29, 2014

Day Hike To Nellie Lake

Dale Matson

Route From Suunto Ambit Downloaded To Movescount 

Nellie Lake is north of Huntington Lake and West of Kaiser Peak in the Kaiser Wilderness Area. The access trailhead is out of the Billy Creek Camping area on the northwest side of Huntington Lake. The hike is about 10 miles round trip with about 2,000’ of elevation gain outbound. After an initial steep climb, the trail become a more gradual climb until the last mile where it becomes steep until it crests and drops down to the lake. My total time out was about 5 hours.

Map At Trailhead
Cut Logs Indicate Trail Too
Blaze Mark
Snowpack Survey Location

I like this hike as a good ‘warm up’ for my hiking season. The trail is well marked and deeply worn in some places. There are assurance markers (blazes) on trees along the route. At this time of year, there is generally more snow on the Nellie Lake trail than the Kaiser Peak trail because it is less exposed. There are occasional snow patches above 8,000’ and a few logs across the trails that have fallen over the winter.

Stream Crossing

The pack trains have not started and the cattle that free range have not been brought up from the lower elevations yet. The mosquitos were few and the trail was not dusty. This time of year there are seasonal streams before Nellie Lake for filtering water to resupply. The trail crosses two of the streams and comes close to the other as it parallels the trail.

Interesting Rock Formation
Nellie Lake

I like to hike to a view or to water or both if possible. My dog Susie made several trips with me to Nellie Lake and enjoys a cooling swim there while I take a lunch break. My two 28 ounce water bottles were adequate for this 60-degree day but I carry water purification tablets with me.

There are campsites near the lake but a wilderness permit is required for overnight trips. I usually get my wilderness permits in Prather but I believe there is a place near the junction of highway 168 and Kaiser Pass Road. I have never fished the lake but have seen trout swimming near the shore.

Nellie Lake Panorama
My 20 Year Old Fanny Pack For Summer Day Hikes

There are other hikes that depart to the east from the Nellie Lake trail. There is a hike that goes to Mary’s Meadow and a cutoff trail further north that goes east to Kaiser Peak. Having taken this route to Kaiser Peak and back (16 miles round trip) I would not recommend it unless it was part of a loop hike.

1 comment:

  1. because this is such a big snow year,I suspect as of my comment date, much of the Nellie Lake trail remains under snow. Much of the trail is shaded which makes the snow melt even later than other trails.