Length: 4.6 mile loop (if you choose to loop)
Elevation Gain: 1,519 ft
What’s cool about this hike is that it starts off at the base of Castle Mountain Ski resort. You park and walk past the rental shop and main lodge. They have a sandwich board with directions that show you the two directions you can choose to do the loop.
After reading reviews, I chose to take a left and do the loop clockwise. It starts off going straight up a gravel road, with a great view of the areas water reservoir.
Don’t get complacent, because this hike takes place at a resort, it is uphill the entire way. I was glad there were so many signs pointing me in the direction because I was worried about mistaking a ski run as part of the trail up.
Up I went, it was a good uphill, but not overly killer- a solid intermediate hike I would say. I was impressed when I came upon a family with very young children heading up.
Soon, the trail veers off the gravel road into a ski run and then some trees. The entire time I was worried that I had chosen the wrong trail and was lost.
Right before the lake, the woods opened up to gorgeous mountain views.
When I came up to the lake I was surprised at how small it was but also how gorgeous the colours were!
There were a lot of other hikers there and someone had a dog that barked loudly the entire time which kind of took away from the tranquility of it all. I hadn’t expected to find such a dazzling lake tucked away at the top of a ski hill though.
I took the other side of the loop down which was perfect because it was wide open mountain views the entire way down. I would have hated to have that view at my back going up.
I was actually pretty surprised at how tired I was on the way down. You don’t realize that it’s a pretty steep incline until you feel those quads start to shake a bit.
I definitely plan to come back and do this hike again with friends. I would like to take a polar dip and see what the waters feel like.