This one surprised me for how much I enjoyed it. The first 1.5 miles is mostly flat and a little boring, thought it's in pristine ponderosa forest. Once it crosses the closed forest road you get to the real action.
It's a beautifully constructed trail and passes through some really nice forest. It starts with ponderosa and gambel oak, but hits some really nice shaded sections of just oak, and higher up there are some nice firs. The summit is wooded so views are limited, but there are still some holes to get a glimpse of surrounding mountains and prairies.
While the trail is fantastic, if you wanted to do this as part of an off-trail explore up here, descending off nearly any side of this mountain looks like it would be relatively easy.
Note to trailrunners: This would be a solid route and combine it with the loop around the lake for a few extra miles.
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Despite the crowds in the woods, due to Memorial Day weekend, there was no one on the trail. Not a surprise. Saw a small herd of mule deer. Not many flowers, but those cute pink ones need an ID. I did get photos of the deer, you'll see, but not very good ones.
Dogtown Lake has more water in it than last year, I think.
SOTA activation decided to hike the summit from the east side. I used the atv trail up what appears to be a fire brake from some time ago. Neat spot made lots of contacts
"I hope we have once again reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited. There's a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: as government expands, liberty contracts."
This is a very pleasant and moderate hike. The views are not great due to trees, but you can see the Peaks, and Dogtown Lake, Bill Williams Mountain, etc.
It starts at the Dogtown Lake campground, which would probably be a pleasant place to camp. The lake is not large, but I might bring my kayak over sometime, since it's close by where I'm living.
If you look at my profile page you'll notice I have been doing a lot of 2 and 3 mile hikes, due to a foot problem. This was the first "longer" hike I've done since February in California, I think. My feet were hurting the last mile, but after I loosened my boots a lot they felt better.
This is a very nice trail. The forest is healthy, although dry. Typically Ponderosa pine and Gambel oak are found in the area.
I was on call for my job, and got a later start than I had intended, so I did only part of the trail. Also I took the time to talk to the very nice campground hosts, and petted their nice dog as well, a big old Golden Retriever with a docked tail they had rescued from the pound.
At least I got in 3 miles, which is my current minimum goal. (Still working on getting my feet toughened up, etc.)
As you enter Dogtown Lake, don't go left to the day use area - go right to the camping area. As you enter the camping area, you stay left into the parking lot. A very nice TH. A little confusing the the markings for the Nature Trail, but that is what you want to start out on. A pleasant trail. A nice camping area near the summit. A huge cairn at the summit and some decent views. I was camping and fishing with my daughter at White Horse Lake and added this hike while she slept in.
The trail provides excellent views of Bill Williams Mountain and the area surrounding Dogtown Lake. The ascent is relatively smooth, consisting of 3-4 long switchbacks. About 2 miles along the trail there is a split in the trail, if you take the path that continues to climb (it also heads to the west) you will reach the summit. At the summit there is a marker with the altitude (7805.
average hiking speed 1.9 mph
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.