Mileage: 10 miles RT
Elevation Gain/Highest: 1600 ft/3182ft
Map: Green Trails Silverton No.110
Favorite Eats After Hike: LJs Bistro
2/20/2016 I parked in the parking lot by the Mountain Loop and hiked in with my snowshoes at 8:15am. Deer Creek road is actually drivable for another mile so the party that usually happens down below was further up where the snow begins (I’m learning to be prepared for large pickups, camp chairs and beer wherever the snowline is on a snowshoe).
Fortunately I had started out early enough that there were just a few folks ahead of me and they all turned around because they were not prepared with snowshoes when the snow gets good after the third major creek crossing.
I was breaking trail the last 2 miles but it wasn’t bad as you could still see faint impressions from the lake’s last visitors. I made it to the lake at 10:45, and the sun was beginning to peak out from the clouds. I meandered around the lake, sat and had lunch, climbed up on the rock outcropping for an hour or so with the lake to myself. You can hear the water cascading down from the cirque on the other side when you only have yourself and silence. And the plops of melting snow falling of the trees.
I headed back down at 11:45 and there were about 25 other people heading up (some with snowshoes, some without), including some good friends of mine who started their trip a bit later. I was back to my car by 1:45pm.
Directions: Drive east on the Mountain Loop HWY from Granite Falls 12 miles past the Verlot Ranger Station. Look for the Deer Creek sign on the lefthand sign (usually the Mountain Loop is gated here). Pull into the parking lot and head up FR 4052. There is a privy.