Early this morning we headed out towards the end of Lake Cristabol and beyond and scouted out some other campgrounds. Williams Creek Campground is still open and has water. We didn’t consider this campground before because the write up we had stated there was a 20’ limit on RV. This is not case. The site are nice and there are some pull thruoughs and there is some water (via spigots with no hose attachments). Mills Creek, a little further up has shorter sites and really wouldn’t be suitable for RVs. The would be less expensive with the Golden Access pass but not as close to the water.
We continued on up the road to our trail head. Our destination is Cataract Lakes. Our literature was vague but the trail was 4.1 miles one way and “moderate”. An eight miles hike is very doable for us. We weren’t sure about the elevation gain, but we weren’t to worried as most of our hikes included substantial elevation gains. We met some folks coming down and they raved about the waterfalls and color but said they didn’t go all the way to the lakes so they couldn’t tell us what the trail was like.
The folks were right. Lots of beautiful water falls
We found out pretty quickly what the trail was like. The first mile was good trail with some up. The rest of the trail was very steep and very rocky. The first three miles provide spectacular scenery with nice water falls along the Cottonwood creek. The views back down the Valley and up the Valley were stunning.
Views downs the valley
The lake is over the ridge
This was the easy part of the trail
Once we passed mile three, the going got really rough until the last half mile before we reached the lake. The trail meanders through rock and tundra and is above the tree line. The lake was anticlimactic after having seen Blue Lake Ice Lake on previous hikes, but the back drop was pretty. Also, our GPS read 4.6 miles to the lake..not 4.1. Makes a big difference when doing a round trip. Our total mileage was 9.2 and the elevation at the lake was approximately 12,100.