As the temperatures soared to 90 in the valley last week, I decided I wasn't ready to let winter go just yet, so I decided to go for a hike to Woods Canyon Lake. Since the Rim Road is still closed, I figured it would be a peaceful day. And it was. Having checked a few sources, I knew to expect some clear ground of melted snow, and still other areas of very deep drifts, so I went prepared with snowshoes attached to my pack. I hiked the Rim Lakes Vista Trail from the Hwy 260 parking area (that's in another triplog) to the Woods Canyon Lake Vista, where it became apparent that there would be more snow than not, so I changed shoes and put on my snowshoes with the lake as my planned destination.
After less than 1/4 mile hiking away from the Rim (where there wasn't much snow), the snow got deeper and coverage became nearly complete. In the few areas early on where there wasn't snow on the trail, I was able to follow drifts and keep my snowshoes from clinking the pavement! It was strange because the snow was basically all or nothing ... bare ground, or 2-4 feet deep with nothing in between. That's ok though, and by the time I reached the General Crook Trail, there were no more bare patches anywhere.
I continued down the last stretch to the shore, and stopped for a few photos and a sandwich. I wanted to cross the lake, but since it had been so warm the previous week and I was hiking alone, I didn't think it was a wise decision to venture out on the ice of a lake during spring thaw. The hike down to the lake measured only 1.3 on my GPS, and took me exactly 30 minutes. After my lunch and break, I headed back toward the Rim the same way I came. I took a few more photos on the way back, and somehow got a 1.5 mile reading, but it still only took me 30 minutes.
It was a great day in the snow and I'd definitely do this again sometime in winter or early spring. Keep in mind that if you make this trip on skis or snowshoes, the trail is actually difficult to follow. I guess because its paved they don't feel the need to have trail markers on the trees. You can't really get lost because its right next to a wide road that is easy to follow, but you'll definitely have a tough time staying on the exact trail route if there's snow!