I got up early to tackle this hike and was on the trail a little after 9AM. While temperatures in the Salt Lake Valley were hovering around the mid 60's, it was in the upper 50's here. I grabbed a sweatshirt -- just in case -- which I didn't wind up needing at all.
The trail starts off in a heavily pine tree laden area. After a quick quarter mile uphill climb the trail does flatten out and become very manageable. This is probably the first trail I've come across that is runner friendly -- consisting mostly of packed dirt with some rocks. It had rained the night before so some of the trail was slick, but I would not be adverse to running it.
The trail is lightly traveled. It is 3.5 miles to Lake Desolation and most of it was easy and very scenic. It took me about an hour and twenty minutes to reach the top. You do hug a babbling brook for a bit, but for the most part it is heavy woods with some scenic overlooks. The trail is broken up periodically with a meadow or two. The climbs are fairly mild and I was progressing along at 20 minutes per mile.
I am told you can see some wildlife on the trail, but the only thing I saw was a dog and what appeared to be baby catfish in the lake.
This was probably the easiest long distance hike I've done and one I'd love to do again. Also while you are here you can hit up Dog Lake, which is just a .6 mile side trek (write-up and photos coming soon).
The lake is indeed desolate. There wasn't much there except the occasional ranger plane flying overhead. The lake resides in the middle of a meadow surrounded by pine trees. The trail does continue further into the wilderness and connects with other trails, but I opted to call it a day and head to Dog Lake.
Enjoy the photos and movie.
start of the trail
I'll be turning right...
A nice meadow
me at Lake Desolation
Me at Lake Desolation
If you look closely you'll see a ton of baby fish