Saturday, June 7, 2014

Norse Peak Wilderness - Echo Lake

Total Walking miles this week (6/2 - 6/6): 61.5
Total Training miles today (6/7): 25.7

With my hiking buddies both busy today, I was on my own. What to do...what to do?
I loved my hike last week to Lost Lake so much that I decided to head on over to Echo Lake.
Echo Lake is in the Norse Peak Wilderness

I arrived at the trail head at 6:15 and headed out on the trail.
It was a sunny day, so the forest was spectacular!
See my post for Lost Lake to see the driving directions and sights to see prior to the fork in the trail to Echo Lake, which is about 1/2 mile past Greenwater Lakes. The trail drops down and crosses Lost Creek.
I am crossing the bridge over Lost Creek, on my way to Echo Lake
Echo Lake feeds the Greenwater River, and the trail follows the river as it cascades through forest and cliffs along the way. The trail is easy to walk and offers occasional views of waterfalls and fast rapids.
Greenwater River

About a mile from the lake, the trail climbs in earnest! I had to pause several times to catch my breath and replenish my water. There were only a few small patches of snow on the trail. In another week or so, it will all be gone. About 1/8 mile before the lake was this fantastic reflecting pool.
Reflecting pool on the way to Echo Lake

Echo Lake is amazing.
It is surrounded by forests on all sides, and is fed by the Greenwater River at its south end.
Echo Lake
Since the lake sees a lot of use, there is even a toilet for use by the campers!
Toilet at Echo Lake
The trail follows the shoreline to the south end, where it joins with the trail to Corral Pass. The south end also has a horse camp. It also has another jewel. There is a campsite along the river that is awesome.
South end of Echo Lake.
Greenwater River as it flows into Echo Lake.
I followed the trail around the lake to where it branches to the Arch Rock trail. There are a couple of potential camp sites there as well.

On my way back, I discovered how popular this area is on a sunny weekend. I must have said "hello" to over two dozen folks headed up to the lake to camp. In addition, at the Green River Lakes, there was a group of thirty adults taking a break for lunch. I also passed a group of thirty grade school children out on a field trip. I took a picture of the parking lot when it returned.
The parking lot was full upon my return. There is another parking lot, and it too was full!
Here are a few more pictures of this amazing hike:

First glimpse of Echo Lake from the trail

Campsite at south end of Echo Lake along Greenwater river

The Echo Lake trail follows the Greenwater River. It is a very steep drop to the river in some places.

This mushroom is called a "conk". Some people take them and paint on the white surface.

Many flowers are blooming this time of year.
The Greenwater river is spectacular as it cascades through the canyon:

If you are looking for a great hike, THIS is highly recommended.

It took me 3 1/2 hours to get to the lake from the trail head. And, round trip, having stopped for lunch and hiked around the south end of the lake, it took me 7 1/2 hours.

Note: Be aware, if you camp overnight, you need to get Forest Service permission, because this lake is in the Norse Peak Wilderness.

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