I did my research and decided I could try this one on my own.
I was NOT disappointed in this hike. The scenery changed dramatically. At one point, I was in a rock garden, another in a deep pine forest and then again I was crossing flowered meadows. The trail was well maintained and there was absolutely no doubt in which way to go.
The trail sign said the trail was 4 miles to the lake. That was a lie. It was 1 mile to the trail head and then 4 miles from there to the lake. My Garmin read 5.10 when I arrived.
Since I was solo I could go at my own pace. I took plenty of pictures but I didn't dally around much and reached the lake in about 2 hours. I spent a good 30 - 40 minutes enjoying the views and exploring the area before taking another 2 hours down.
Surprisingly I got half way decent cell phone reception up there. Enough to send or receive the occasional text message to let people know I was okay.
The trail was pretty sparse as far as other hikers go (I probably saw about 30 people all morning) and I had the lake to myself. Trust me when I say, other hikers are truly missing one of the best hikes around. It is long enough and yet the hills were that's bad as the climb from about 7000 feet to 9500 was very gradual. I am told you can see wildlife up there and while I wasn't hoping to run into a moose, I was looking forward to seeing a deer. Alas, I only saw a trout in the lake.
Overall, I'd love to do this hike again. There is also substantial sections that are safe enough to run on, so if I wanted a brutal 10-miler I could do this trail.
Enjoy the photos
Typical stretch of trail
Salt Lake Valley / Sandy Below
Heading into wooded section
Still some nice flowers
Mini water fall
Flowers / Meadow
Only about 1 mile to go. Switch back rock garden climb
If you look closely there are people down below
Almost to the lake. Beautiful blue
White Pine Lake
White Pine Lake
Me at White Pine Lake
Super muddy. Trail landing ahead
If you look closely there is a trout
Time to go....