Crystal Lake – 16.7mi / 26.9km
Two pristine lakes in a fantastic granite landscape sit beneath the towering Fairchild Mountain. The trail switchbacks up through tall ponderosa pines as you climb from Horseshoe Park all the way up to Lawn Lake following the Roaring River (see Lawn Lake in 10-15 Miles for description).
The trail follows alongside Lawn Lake to the head of the lake. Keep an eye out for foraging moose in the taller vegetation at the lake’s inlet. You’ll begin to climb more steeply and enter the alpine meadows opening up even grander views.
Water trickles down from above in lovely streams with a dizzying array of flowers blooming alongside. The trail eventually levels out as it moves between monstrous boulders and a small pond before you come up to Little Crystal Lake. A small stream separates the two lakes as you pick your way through the boulders to the edge of the similar, but much larger Crystal Lake.
From the edge of the pristine, blue waters, Fairchild Mountain arises as a towering backdrop. Choose from the many boulders to find a place to relax before heading back.
Trailhead: From Fall River Road, turn onto the Old Fall River Road. Begin at the Lawn Lake Trailhead which is just down the road on the right.
Elevation Gain: 3,300ft / 990m – Elevation Loss: 3,300ft / 990m