Hidden Lake - Hard Creek Lake loop

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On the first snowy day of Fall, we hike to Hidden and Hard Creek lakes.

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We have been having a glorious "Indian summer," with warm, clear, sunny days one after another. So I blame Brian for bringing the first precipitation we've seen in some time (actually, the precip started the day before while we were on Slick Rock).

In addition, it's almost the middle of October, so the combination meant that as we pulled out onto Farm to Market, we could see a dusting on the surrounding peaks. SnowyTrail Julie was not happy (but she does come equipped with gloves, gaitors, and a color-coordinated hat).

Here Brian is explaining something really important. No one remembers exactly what that was.

Camp

The first part of the trail is a fairly flat traverse around the head of the valley. We could see Granite Peak off in the distance to the south.

It's a few miles of good trail (!) until you get to Hidden Lake, below. Everyone thought the snowy ridge, dark water, and lily pads were quite photogenic.

Camp
Trailhead

From Hidden, we backtracked until we found the trail up and over to Hazard. Through these meadowy areas, the trail is all but impossible to follow. You can either simply follow the drainage, or I was able to stitch it together with the GPS.

Trailhead

After you gain the top of the drainage, the new trail and old trail split. We chose the old trail, which drops down a narrow gully with a ton of switchbacks on loose talus.

Start

It's also north facing, so the snow was back.

The trail splits again at Hard Creek Lake. You can go up and over the ridge to Upper Hazard, or loop back toward the Hard Creek GS. First, we walked to the inlet for the view (below).

Start
Start

Then we walked to the outlet for the opposite view.

That's Bruin Mountain on the left. Our original plan included climbing it, but with the snow, decided to skip all that slippery talus.

Start

The moment I saw this rock, I knew I recognized it because we had been here before with Dad, Mariel, and Jasmine in 1996.

Lookout

 

We had lunch and enjoyed the changing light on the mountains. Then shot down the canyon and back to the truck for the drive home.

Lookout Mountain
Map Lookout Mountain

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