3 - 4
FATMAP difficulty grade
This is a very popular and fun 7-mile loop through some deep pine and aspen forests.
The elevation gain is almost 2,000 feet, which is all gained at the beginning of the hike.
It then levels out for many miles before descending back down to the road.
The loop can be taken in either direction.
The counterclockwise route is a longer and more mellow way to gain elevation leading to a steeper descent.
The clockwise direction is a steeper and shorter climb if you wish to get it out of the way and enjoy a more moderate descent.
From the trailhead, follow the singletrack trail up the steep gully.
Cross the bridge and head into the deep forest.
A few hundred feet further you'll encounter a trail intersection.
The trail can be hiked in either direction and will return to this location.
Taking the trail to the right (Dog Lake) is a much milder climb and might be the recommended way.
This trail follows along the creek with some bridge crossings.
The angle of the trail is moderate with some steep sections.
It gains the ridge and then you'll find another intersection.
Take the left (east) branch which contours around the mountain with some stunning views of Kessler Peak and the Big Cottonwood ridge.
This is a relatively flat section.
After a few miles, the trail intersects with the Raymond/Gobblers fork.
Take the left trail and you'll end up on the switchbacks down through the aspen trees, eventually ending back at the intersection where the trail branched off.