We got a pretty late start on this trail because we took some extra time to run the Tepee Creek trail. That meant we finished in the dark, but it was still a great trip. The way down was much faster than the way up.
The trailhead was easy to find, with lots of signs. We started up, and it was very rocky. We found out that it was going to stay bumpy and slow the whole way.
We passed through the first gate into Deer Park and it was gorgeous. There were cows (and cow byproducts) all around us. The trail also started to get muddy, and some spots had big puddles. The mud was very slick, like wet clay.
The best surprise was when we got to cross the big stream. The trail dipped down a hill, and then we drove right through the creek to the other side. Then the other side was pretty steep up a hill. It was really cool.
Emerald Lake was absolutely gorgeous. There were some people camped there, and they had a really nice setup with a big canopy. We waved and everyone there looked understandably happy.
W Mountain was on our left, and it was there for awhile as we passed by it. Still Waters were really pretty beneath it, too.
We came to a place where people were making their own trail to get around a dead tree blocking the actual trail. Mike had a chainsaw with him, and he decided to take the time to clear the trail. It was a big log, and we fought with the mosquitoes as he worked on it. Soon he was through it and the trail was cleared.
We were treated to a few rocky sections along the way, though some sections weren't as much of a treat. There was a slick hill where we noted that someone had some issues. It looked like someone before us had nearly slid off the trail. We also found a spot that was pretty tippy, with slick mud making things more interesting.
There were people camping at Crescent Lake, and it looked like the trail ended there. We walked to what we thought was Mackinaw Lake and figured out that the trail actually dips down into some water and not along the berm alongside Crescent Lake. We decided it looked like fun, so we went.
It turned out that Crescent Lake was huge, and we had only seen another section of it. We kept driving, and the rocks were pretty nice. Soon we were at Mackinaw Lake which was much smaller but very scenic. Some people were camping there, too. We didn't stay long before we turned around to head back.
It took us quite a few hours to get to the end of the trail, but not even a couple hours to get back. It was much faster on the way back.
When we got back to Burns, we were a little confused about how to get to Eagle. We ended up finding the right way, and we got to Eagle just in time to only have Wendy's available for a late dinner. We ate in the hotel lobby while we all checked in, and then we headed for sleep.
This was a long trail but it was beautiful. It was definitely worth the trip.