Trip Report: Cold Creek-PCT loop

I needed a relatively moderate 5-6 mile trail for a recovery run, and this fit the bill perfectly. This loop starts at the lower Mt Catherine trailhead. I missed the TH the first time I drove by, but easily found it once I realized it was unmarked and therefore I needed to pay attention. There are two cairns marking the trailhead, as shown in my pic below.

Morning alpenglow on Tinkham Peak, as seen from FS 9070
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Cairns mark the trailhead

This section of the Mt Catherine trail (#1348) immediately starts descending down to Twin Lakes, and is snow-free the entire way. At the trail junction near Twin Lakes, I headed west-ish on Cold Creek trail (#1303). The Cold Creek trail meanders through the woods a bit before starting to climb. Cold Creek trail was also snow-free, but there are a couple blow-downs that make the trail hard to follow in one place. If you pay attention you should be fine (I sense a theme here).

Snow conditions on Silver Peak as of May 9 2015.

The PCT had some snow, but most of it was easily navigable in trail runners. There was one slope that was just a bit sketchy, primarily because I was there early in the morning and the slope was still icy. I put on microspikes, used my poles, and went slowly, and I was fine (even with my rambunctious dog leashed to my waist, pulling at me the whole time).

Microspikes were handy here – it was early in the morning and the traverse was icy.
Still plenty of snow to be found along the PCT
Tinkham Peak from the PCT

By the time I got to Windy Pass the PCT was snow-free and it was downright hot. From there I ran 1/2 mile on the road back to my car, completing the loop.

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Loop – I lost satellites for a bit, so I’m thinking it’s closer to 6 miles (Green Trails map agrees).

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