We went downhill towards the main Rock Creek and were able to find a manageable crossing without getting too wet. There are three nice campsites on the east side (entrance) of the lake and three additional sites on the south side. Walk around the lakeshore; you may experience clouds of furious mosquitoes here in mid-summer! Hiking this in the rain, with wet feet, trudging through the snow, was truly miserable, and I loved every awful minute of it. Switchback twice and hike on the level past a boulder field. Bring a hammock too for more options, there isn't much flat ground. The campsites on the peninsula are clear of snow as well. Hiking on you'll soon cross the outlet stream for Middle Rock Lake, which is actually the South Fork Roaring River. Water crossing was easy. There were grizzlies photographed just east of here on the other side of the hill. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Hood National Forest, OR (Backpacker), Serene Lake Loop - Backpacking/Camping (RootsRated), Serene Lake to Cache Meadow Loop Hike, Roaring River Wilderness, Mount Hood National Forest (Base Camp: Bronco), Rock Lakes Basin a welcome rarity in the Mt. No snow on the trail all the way to the lake except one slide right near the outlet stream. I've sent Altrails a suggestion to edit the info. Not a single track trail, Hiked this last fall. Drive FS 506 passing the Beartown site (you may encounter a spot or two of 4WD here) eventually arriving at Kite Lake and the road's end. Approximately 9 miles to Rock Lake where we camped for two nights. Great hike, only downside is lack of flat ground at the lake. Trail is as described by others. Beautiful hike for fall colors. Those without clearance may want to begin at the Shellrock Lake Trailhead, but this adds more miles to your efforts. Walking distance from the car park is the Hunchback Pass trailhead. From the top of the pass descend into the Rock Creek drainage, following Rock Creek trial (655) for approximately 5.7 miles until intersecting with Vallecito trail (529) at the bottom of the valley. There's a wilderness permit box here that you need to sign in at. In just a few tenths of a mile you will come to the trail to Lower Rock Lake. The waterfalls all around are amazing right now. This page was last modified on 5 July 2020, at 20:40. If you plan on trying this trail right now, you will not keep dry feet. Great views. I'd say in another week or two, it should be full autumn at Rock Lake. from there to the lake but that is where you will encounter the elevation gain. Hang your food. Huckleberries aplenty! Reach an old road bed and go right. The first water crossing was tough. We didn’t continue to the lake due to incoming heavy rain. Good incline the last 1.5 miles. Plenty of room for cars and trailers, no drop toilet at trailhead. 2020 AllTrails, LLC Alle Rechte vorbehalten. This video is unavailable. Red markers are posted to trees along Rock Lake Trail to keep you on course. One can barely glimpse Shellrock Lake through the trees here. Give yourself 45 min from the Hwy to the trailhead. Looking into the headwaters of Rock Creek, above Twin Lakes. Come to a bog and the third meadow with its small lake. Perfect day, 74 degrees and partly cloudy. We found lots of morel mushrooms! We found a way across some conveniently placed logs. 6.20.20 Enter a rhododendron understory as the trail begins to rise. For entertainment only. Hiked this trail over Labor Day 2018. Click here for up-to-date weather forecast. Planning a backpacking trip to the Durango area this summer? Watch Queue Queue The mosquitoes were vicious and could carry away a small dog so bring plenty of repellent! It's about 3 1/2 (easy) miles to the waterfall and Heildleberg mine, not sure how many miles (2?) 1. Ticks are everywhere. We saw mountain goats high in the mountain. The trail angles up the ridge. *NOTE* The trail from Hunchback Pass TH to Rock Lake is consistently above 11,500 feet. At that point you will reach a junction where a short 0.2 mile side trail on the left takes you to Middle Rock Lake. By the way, the hike is just under 10 miles in and out. Look for buckbean and white rhododendrons blooming here in summer. Rock River Trail heads farther north along the east side of Rock Lake to a trail camp on the Rock River below Rock Lake. Bears on the trail 1/2 up. The San Juan Mountains are roughly the size of the Swiss Alps, including the spectacular 499,771 acre Weminuche Wilderness- Colorado's largest designated wilderness area. The lake is almost completely thawed with just a few icebergs lingering. On the return we met a couple who had constructed a nice little log bridge with stone steps that made it much easier. Tofieldia, shooting stars, white bog orchids and bog paintbrush bloom in summer. Note: The CDT (813) branches off to the east at Twin Lakes. On this rainy day in May, the trail was very wet. We continued to the lake and this is where the trail gets steeper, but the views on the way up and the lake are well worth the additional 2.5 miles. Another longer way to access the area is described in the Cache Meadows via Cripple Creek Loop Hike. Head across a scree slope and loop around the nose of the ridge into a much drier silver fir, noble fir, mountain hemlock forest. Beautiful hike with light snow but totally hikeable. Continue north on the CDT (655) back over Hunchback Pass for 2.5 miles to the cars. The trail loses 400 feet of elevation in the first 0.8 mile in silver fir, noble fir, mountain hemlock and huckleberry woods. Fine views of Strom King peak from the CDT. The other stream crossings were easily managed.