Trail(s): Diamond Lake Trail
Location: Fourth of July Road
Elevation: 10,172-10,940 feet
Distance: 5.3 miles roundtrip
We sure enjoyed a beautiful hike today. We were originally planning to hike 8.8 miles to Jasper Lake, but we heard much of the lake had been drained for the season, so when we saw Fourth of July Road was still open for the winter, we drove up the dirt road to Diamond Lake Trailhead. The hike to Diamond Lake was much shorter, 5.3 miles, but with the looming ominous clouds overhead, a shorter hike seemed like a good choice.
The path starts at 10,172 feet, thus ice and snow lighted coated the surrounding area. We carefully trekked across the intermittent icy as a light snow fell upon us. We soon realized there was not enough tacky snow to cover the slick ice to help with traction, so we strapped on our micro-spikes for easier hiking. We still took it slowly as not all of us had traction devices, though we were far more prepared than fellow hikers who showed up in shorts and Tevas!
The trail was simply spectacular. We spent most of our time in the evergreen forest though occasionally it opened up providing a lovely view of snow dusted mountains. To my surprise, we passed several waterfalls, which of course is one of my favorite features on hikes. The combined tumbling water, ice-cycles, and snow proved picturesque. We stopped multiple times to admire the snow-covered creeks and cascades.
We continued through the forest enjoying the surprisingly nice weather despite cloudy skies. We found the trees served as great protection from the gusting wind that chilled us to the bone once we reached the remarkable scenic lake. We added layers swiftly, including putting Paul’s extra jacket on Utani. We snacked quickly as ducked into a patch of trees near the icy lake before we hustled back to the trail for warmth.
The hike back down the trail took almost as long as the climb up as sure footing was sometimes elusive. Overall, however, the hike was pretty easy as the elevation gain to the lake at 10, 940 feet was minimal. I really liked this trek. It was just beautiful! The trail is supposed to be spectacular in the summer too, so I may have to repeat it, eventhough I’d rather explore new ones. ETB