I decided to get in one last hurrah on the trails around Monte Cristo before it closes for the summer as of tomorrow. (Of course, they might delay the closure again, but it was as good an excuse as any to head out there today.)
I’ve traveled the old wagon road to Monte Cristo by foot many times. Too many. So today I rode my mountain bike into Monte Cristo, which would leave me with enough time/legs to check out both Glacier Basin and Silver Lake.
The ride itself was pretty uneventful. I was curious how the log crossing would go, and although it was a bit awkward to haul the bike over the rootwad, there was plenty of room for me and the bike.
I decided to head up to Glacier Basin first. The first part of the trail is a moderate uphill, and then the last 1/2 mile gets technical and steep. There’s a rope to help you up one of the steepest sections, but I never actually needed it. There was a bit of snow just before the basin and in the basin, but it was soft and not very deep and probably covered a total of 500 meters of trail. I was wearing trail runners and was fine the whole way (no need for traction devices or snowshoes).
After approximately 2 miles you round the corner and see Glacier Basin for the first time. Wow. Can’t believe it’s taken me so long to get up there. I took way too many pictures and finally had to force myself to leave so that I would still have time to get to Silver Lake. The descent from Glacier Basin went quickly and before I knew it I was back at Monte Cristo, and headed up the Silver Lake/Poodle Dog Pass trail.
The trail to Silver Lake is similar to Glacier Basin in that it starts out mellow and then gets steep at the very end, right before Poodle Dog Pass. There’s still some snow covering the trail at the Pass and at Silver Lake, but as with Glacier Basin I didn’t need any traction or snowshoes. For the most part the snow was soft and not very deep. I postholed a couple times, but only up to my knees.
Silver Lake is also very pretty, although I didn’t find it quite as stunning as Glacier Basin. I’m sure this was partly due to the lighting – overcast and flat light at Silver Lake vs. sunshine and wispy clouds at Glacier Basin.
From Silver Lake, it was a quick downhill by foot and bike, back to the car in less than 90 minutes!