Picklejar Lakes


Trip Details
Attained Summit?: 
Trip Date: 
Sunday, August 3, 2014
Elevation Gain (m): 
Round Trip Time: 
Total Distance (km): 
Difficulty Notes: 

No difficulties but there are some very steep sections of trail that some hikers won't be used to.

Trip Report

On Sunday, August 3 2014, I took my family on a day hike that I'd wanted to do for a long time already - Picklejar Lakes. There are a couple of scrambles in the area but I was fairly certain that I wouldn't be doing those - I'd save them for another day. Lineham Ridge and "Picklejar Peak" (a GR nearby).

We arrived at the Lantern Creek parking lot (note: you don't start at the Picklejar day use area for this route) at around 09:30 and could immediately see that something wasn't right. There were four vehicles in the parking lot and every single one of them had its driver's side window smashed in!! Not cool. After walking around the vehicles we could tell that all of them were there over night. We debated whether to hike or not but reasoned that the theives were long gone and not likely to come back during the day. A few other vehicles were driving in already and this is a very busy hike. As a precaution we took all our valuables along and I left my window part way down with a note on the driver's side telling the theives to "feel free to look for valuables but please don't smash my window"!

We crossed hwy 40 and started up the obvious road / path leading into the trees on the north side of Lantern Creek. From here it was a very obvious trail right to the lakes. This is a popular hike and now I know why! The wild flowers were amazing both in number and variety, and the views were also very acceptable for a hike. There were a few steep parts and some damage from the 2013 floods, but nothing major. Accessing the lakes from Lantern Creek means losing about 75 meters over the shoulder of Lineham Ridge to the fourth lake (first one you reach) but I would recommend this route rather than the Picklejar trail / connector. 

We hiked all the way to the first lake and I hiked to a ridge above treeline to see what the views were like from there. My total height gain was about 100-150 meters more than just hiking the lakes would be. It took us less than 5 hours and we took our time and ate lunch etc. A very highly recommended hike - bring your fishing rod, there are cutthroat trout in lakes four and two.

[Starting the hike on an obvious double track]

[The trail is obvious]

[Fireweed (or River Beauty?) is everywhere!]

[Our first views towards Lineham Ridge. The lakes are on the opposite side of it.]

[Carpets of wildflowers near bent trees (from snow load)]

[Lots of gorgeous, open areas with views and more flowers]

[A tree tunnel!]

[The view behind us isn't bad either!]

[Elephant Head]

[Indian Paintbrush, Common Harebell, River Beauty, Ragwort and other flowers]

[My favorite variety of Indian Paintbrush - the pink ones]

[Carpets of Yellow Hedysarum and River Beauty]

[The steepest section of trail has some flooding damage but it doesn't really affect the hiking very much]

[Cresting the end of Lineham Ridge, just before descending to lake four]

[Gilbraltar in the far distance]

[Stepping over a rocky rib coming off Lineham Ridge on our way down to Lake Four]

[Pano of the area just west and north of the lakes, Highwood Peak in the foreground. ++]

[Hiking down to the first lake (Lake Four)]

[Lake Four ++]

[Hiking past Lake Four to Lake Three]

[Lake Three ++]

[Hiking beyond Lake Three to Lake Two]

[Getting rockier and closer to tree line - lots of Pika here]


[Lake Two ++]

[A good trail around Lake Two]

[Hiking to Lake One]

[Lake One (R) and Lake Two (L) ++]

[Hiking above the lakes to the back bowl]

[The highpoint for the day, looking back over Lakes One and Two with Highwood Peak on the right]

[Lake Two was my favorite - it's the deepest and clearest one.]

[The grunt back up over the end of Lineham Ridge]

[The rocky rib at the end of the ridge]

[Back down the steepest part]

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